Detox centre claims a spike in women seeking help for addiction issues

  • 08/10/2018

An Auckland detox centre says it has seen a rise in the amount of "stay-at-home housewives" from high socioeconomic backgrounds seeking help for alcohol addiction.

In recent months, Kumeu-based Zen Detox has treated an increased number of women, including "high-profile professionals" struggling with alcohol abuse issues.

Programme manager Lance Crosby said, in recent months, women have presented with significant drinking problems more than men.

He said alcoholism and addiction issues do not discriminate by background or socio-economic status. 

"While we, of course, see a large proportion of men seeking help for drug and alcohol-related issues too, on the ground we are certainly seeing an increase in particularly middle-aged women presenting for treatment  and many of them outwardly seem like successful and happy people.

"There is of course the co-morbidity factor  with most people seeking health also having mental health issues, and many of the people we are seeing have been suicidal prior to treatment or at some stage in their lives."

The clinic's founder, Carlie Reynolds, is calling for more understanding around alcoholism and addiction, fearing people are discouraged to undergo treatment while there is a stigma attached to their illness.

Reynolds battled her own alcohol, addiction and mental health issues and believes a judgemental attitude toward addiction is still prevalent, despite an increase of conversations around mental health.

"We struggled to open a bank account for Zen initially because the banks didn't want to be associated with an addiction detox centre, Google won't allow us to use the ad words 'drug addiction treatment' and certain funding organisations specifically exempt drug addiction and alcohol treatment as causes.

"It's concerning when so many New Zealanders are suffering from this, and the relation between drug and alcohol use and abuse and mental health issues and suicide," she said.

Placing a strong emphasis on acknowledging that recovering alcoholics aren't second-rate citizens, Reynolds said it's vital to remember that, with the right support, anyone can make positive changes for the better.