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J Subst Abuse Treat. 1997 Mar-Apr;14(2):183-90.

A qualitative study of barriers to formal treatment among women who self-managed change in addictive behaviours.

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  • 1National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Australia.


Alcohol and drug abuse and dependence are common disorders in our society, and the vast majority of those who recover do so without formal treatment. Although this phenomenon appears to be more common among women than men there has been no gender-sensitive research. This qualitative study explored the barriers to formal treatment seeking among women who self-managed change in their alcohol and other drug dependence. The principal barriers identified included social stigma and labelling; lack of awareness of the range of treatment options, concerns about childcare, the perceived economic and time costs of residential treatment, concerns about the confrontational models used by some treatment services, and stereotypical views of clients of treatment services. A number of recommendations were made regarding program reach and content.

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