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New Hope for Women Addicts in Hyderabad and Beyond

Hope Trust has recently established an exclusive women's treatment facility. We interviewed Rahul Luther, the director of this establishment, in order to learn more about the situation and the way that Hope Trust intends to address the needs of women in Hyderabad and throughout the country.

Hope Trust, one of India's foremost deaddiction centres is opening an exclusive women's facility on June 1. Why have you decided to open a separate facility?

Actually we have previously provided treatment services for women and many of them are leading clean and sober lives. For some reason, we had to close down the facility, but continued to get enquiries. Since India has none, or little, options for women seeking recovery from addiction, and we would not like to continue to deny them the privilege of treatment, we decided to re-start with refined protocols, and with the benefit of our accumulated experience and knowledge in the field.

I understand there are a variety of treatment methods used at Hope Trust. What aspects of your new treatment program will be unique for women?

Our basic core philosophy of providing a safe, comfortable environment remains the same. The core of our treatment is based on the 12 Steps, with a highly structured schedule and clearly defined protocols, complemented by Yoga, meditation, competent medical and psychiatric back up – all this remain the same. However, women have unique emotional and social issues, which require gender-specific therapy inputs, which we shall provide with an all-female staff. We have sourced highly trained lady counsellors who are undergoing intensive orientation in the 12 Steps approach and our protocols.

How important is segregation between the sexes during treatment?

Very. Persons in early recovery are emotionally vulnerable. Moreover, group dynamics and therapy is more effective with same-gender participation.

Do you think women face more obstacles when seeking treatment than men? Why or why not?

Yes and no. If you view it from the perspective of our social context, then yes. But once the person is willing to accept the reality of addiction and the process of recovery, then the going is good.

Similarly, Do you believe that most women suffer greater consequences from drug and alcohol abuse than men? If so, why?

A woman addict is a mother, sister, daughter, girlfriend and wife. The expectations from these roles are high. Moreover, the family may tend to keep the problem under wraps more in the case of women than men.

Women are sometimes viewed differently than men. Do women addicts receive a stigma from society that men don't? Is there a double standard?

I guess so. It is quite acceptable for men to drink and get ‘drunk' in public, but not so for women.

How does Hope Trust take care of the unique emotional difficulties of women addicts?

As I mentioned earlier, the therapy for women is facilitated by women counsellors. It is easier for women to relate to each other, to understand the gender issues and to help each other. The therapy team is also headed by our Director who is a lady with significant experience and training.

How important is group therapy to women's addiction treatment?

We believe group therapy is a very powerful and effective tool for recovery. Since our program is based on the principles of the fellowship of 12 step groups, group therapy gains in significance. It forms a critical element in the therapy process at Hope.

Why do you think more women are becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol?

Accessibility and acceptability. There is enhanced social acceptance of women drinking in public, and drinks are more easily available. Then of course enhanced resources, as young women are earning more and are not dependent on others for money. These are some of the reasons. The good news is that now they are coming out in the open and seeking treatment.

The Minnesota model is used at Hope Trust. How will this model of treatment affect treatment at the new facility?

The ‘Minnesota model' shall be in use with gender-specific therapy in a separate, all-women, facility.