Back to Life in Midlife: Beating Addiction

Addictions are powerful — but so are over-40 women. Here, four stories of how maturity speeded recovery.

By Ginny Graves
Janis Robinson (Photo: Alessandra Petlin)
There’s no greater high than that."Best Treatment Programs for Midlife WomenAfter recognizing several years ago that women over 40 didn’t want to spend all their time in groups listening to young girls talk about their problems with their parents, the Renfrew Center, an inpatient facility in Philadelphia, started treatment groups designed for older women with eating disorders. "The groups focus on situations specific to midlife women, such as job stress and aging parents, as well as physical changes that happen in middle age," says Susan Ice, of the Renfrew Center. "Women get the chance to talk about these issues. That’s key, because treatment is all about figuring out what purpose the disorder serves in your life and what issues are driving it."The program directors at the Hanley Center, an alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility in West Palm Beach, have taken a similar age-based approach. "We offer a hormonal assessment, which helps women see how those shifts may be affecting their moods, their relationships, and their addictions. And we have groups that are geared toward the things midlife women are dealing with — the empty nest, divorce, guilt and shame, and body image problems," the Hanley Center’s Carol Colleran says. "We’ve had good feedback, especially from women who’ve been through treatment before. They told us that they never really had the chance to look at these issues, and that it really helped." For more information go to:renfrewcenter.com hanleycenter.org Originally published in MORE magazine, July/August 2008.

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