Women's discourses about secretive alcohol dependence and experiences of accessing treatment

Pretorius, Liezille Jean (2010-12)

Thesis (PhD (Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: There is a paucity of research documenting women’s undisclosed drinking. This study explored the discursive accounts of women’s alcohol dependence, treatment history and barriers in accessing alcohol dependence treatment. The goals of this dissertation were to explore women’s alcohol dependence history; explore women’s treatment history (or lack thereof); identify barriers and nature of barriers that limit women’s access to alcohol dependence treatment; identify the reasons for women not accessing treatment, and to interpret women’s experiences of treatment per se. A Human Scientific Approach was adopted to examine and interpret how women’s drinking is socially constructed. A social constructionist approach was utilised to access and construct meaning from the discourses emanating from the women’s narratives of their experience with alcohol and their attempts at rehabilitation. Ten women were interviewed using the life story (narrative) interview method. The findings illustrate two major discourses namely, secret drinking and inaccessibility of appropriate treatment facilities for women alcohol dependents. This means that participants feel forced to conceal their drinking and to drink secretively because of the stigma associated with women drinking heavily. The stigma they experience translates into barriers (mostly internal barriers) to seeking institutionalised treatment. This makes it easier for them to seek alternative treatment such as an anonymous fellowship, like Alcoholics Anonymous. Other discourses signify the importance of problem identification and treatment readiness. This means that if the alcohol dependent woman realises what the real problem is causing her to use alcohol as an escape or as a coping strategy, she will be more willing to address the underlying problem. Recommendations are made focusing on micro and macro-level intervention strategies such as access to treatment, public health campaigns and policies to improve the quality of life of women recovering from alcohol dependence.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar is min inligting beskikbaar oor die dokumentering van vroue wat in-die-geheim alkohol gebruik. Hierdie studie het die diskursiewe weergawe van vroue se alkoholgebruik, behandelingsgeskiedenis en hindernisse tot die behandeling van alkohol-misbruik verken. Die doelstellings van hierdie verhandeling is om die volgende te verken: Vroue se afhanklikheidsgeskiedenis; vroue se rehabiliteringsgeskiedenis (of die gebrek daaraan); die identifisering van hindernisse en die aard van die probleme wat vroue se toegang tot die behandeling van alkohol-misbruik beperk; die identifisering van redes waarom vroue rehabilitering weier; en die interpretasie van vroue se belewings van behandeling per se. ‘n Humanisties-wetenskaplike benadering is gebruik om die sosiale konstruksie van vroue se drinkgewoontes te ondersoek en te interpreteer. Die verstaan van en die skep van betekenis van die diskoerse van die vroue, en die temas wat na vore gekom het vanuit hul vertellings/narratiewe van hul alkohol-ervarings en hul pogings tot rehabilitering, is binne die raamwerk van die sosiaal-konstruksionistiese uitgangspunt aangepak. Onderhoude is met tien vroue gevoer en die narratiewe metode is gebruik. Die bevindings toon twee hoofdiskoerse naamlik, drinkery in-die-geheim en die ontoeganklikheid van gepaste behandelingsfasiliteite vir vroue met afhanklikheidsprobleme. Dit beteken dat vroue ondervind dat hulle gedwing word om in-die-geheim te drink, as gevolg van die stigmatisering van vroue en oormatige alkohol-gebruik. Hierdie stigmatisering kan herlei word tot hindernisse (meestal interne hindernisse) te make met ge-institutionaliseerde behandeling. Om die rede is dit makliker vir vroue om alternatiewe behandeling soos anonieme gemeenskappe, byvoorbeeld Alkoholiste Anoniem te oorweeg. Ander diskoerse beklemtoon die identifisering van probleme en die instemming tot rehabilitering. Dit beteken dat wanneer die alkoholis die werklike probleem vir alkohol-gebruik verstaan as ‘n ontsnapping of as ‘n hanteringsstrategie, sy meer gewillig sal wees om die onderliggende probleem aan te spreek. Aanbevelings is gemaak met die fokus op mikro- en makrointervensiestrategieë, soos die toegang tot rehabilitering, openbare gesondheidsveldtogte en beleide ten einde die leef-kwaliteit van vroue in die herstelproses van alkoholafhanklikheid te verbeter.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5188
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