Drug Rehab for Women in Iran

Links to other resources: Detox, Partial Hospitalization, Nurse-led Approaches in Treatment

Today I wanted to look at a new study that seeks to understand the pros and cons of seeking treatment for drug addiction in a place like Iran from the perspective of women in Isfahan, Iran. This qualitative study was done at two “rehab camps” in Iran, and the interviews from the study were transcribed into English at the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. As I write this, Americans will note that the capital of Kabul in Afghanistan has this week been retaken by the Taliban. As the modern Taliban is largely financed by money from the sale of Opium poppy in the region, the fact that drug addiction is a growing problem in a place like Iran is not unconnected from these realities on the ground in Afghanistan. As so many differences exist between the laws and cultural norms of Iran and the United States, I believe it is important to investigate the challenges faced by people who are seeking treatment for drug addiction in different parts of the world. Heroin addiction is being quickly replaced by fentanyl addiction in wide swaths of the United States, but because Afghanistan is a world leader in the exportation of heroin, places like Iran are seeing rising levels of heroin addiction, including among women. This blog is always brought to you by the great clinicians and therapists at the best drug rehab in Florida, Florida Springs Wellness and Recovery Center, so please call them today for more information on seeking treatment for drug and alcohol addiction in Florida.

According to the authors, who live in Iran, recent work done by medical experts in Iran leads to the conclusion that drug addiction is “dramatically increasing” among the people of Iran, and women in particular. Information on drug treatment for women in Iran is insufficient in both the world and regional medical literature, however. From July through October of 2017, a qualitative study was done on the subject of women seeking drug treatment in Isfahan, Iran, and we will discuss the results of that study. The thirty participants who were interviewed for that study are all women from Isfahan, Iran who sought treatment for drug addiction during that time period in 2017. The results of the interviews with these women are stunning and saddening, but the fact that they were able to seek treatment for drug addiction at all could be considered somewhat heartening. As a Westerner, I can only hope that further avenues for treatment and therapy will become more freely available to populations that sorely need drug and alcohol rehab and treatment, including the population of Iran and the wider Muslim World. Relationship with God and religious themes did come up in the interviews with the people seeking treatment in Iran, but more readily apparent themes included trauma faced by these women in their past and family support not being available to them at the time they were seeking treatment.

Ups and Downs of Treatment in Iran

The authors of the study note that,

“Substance-related disorders are among the disorders which have much personal, familial and social harm associated with increased tension in the family and abusive behaviors.”

While we know this statement is true all over the world, people entering rehabs in Florida, including the people entering drug and alcohol rehabs in Panama City, Florida, would not seem to face these issues as acutely as the women of Iran, on average. We hear from patients all the time who have trauma and abuse in their past and present, but likely not in the overwhelmingly high percentages that we see in the women of Iran. The first theme that became apparent in interviewing women in Iran seeking drug rehab was the theme of “the need for emancipation.” Five sub-themes were developed from the interviews based on that overall theme. Those five themes are, “the deviated path, being abused, compulsive drug use, acquaintance with god, and the support of family.” The lack of support of family seems to come up with many of the participants. According to participant number 24 of 30,
“I decided to put it (drug use) away. Admittedly, I was accustomed to this kind of life, and when I decided to change it, I was really alone. My husband used drugs too. He didn’t pay any attention to me. So, I had to solve it myself and decided to come to the rehab camp.”

Not only were families sometimes non-supportive of the women who were seeking treatment, but another sub-theme that was found in the interviews was the idea that some of these women had family members who preferred that they keep using drugs. Participant number 24 seems to possibly be in that group based on her statements, but she was not alone. The theme of “the deviated path” which was mentioned by many of the women seems to be very similar to what we might call depression. That theme included women who were “feeling worthless, not realizing the realities of life, the lack of attraction to life and dissatisfaction with it, the worthlessness of the drugs, the feeling of being harmful for others (the family), the numerous rehabs and its consequences, physical complications of the drugs and the risk of being rejected by the family.” People seeking drug and alcohol rehab in Florida often face very similar thought processes.

Despite the overall reality that Iran does not currently have the needed infrastructure to treat the many women of the country who are experiencing substance use disorder, the authors of the study stated,

“It was concluded that addiction rehab strategies can lead to a brighter life for women drug users only when they are coupled with open-hearted assistance of the families and women specific rehab centers are established to help them meet their specific needs.”

Despite all the differences in culture and law, this statement by the authors of this Iranian study seems to remain true for people seeking drug and alcohol rehab in both the US and abroad. Current medical and research-based addiction treatment strategies can work for patients, and patients are in a better scenario when family and friends are supportive of treatment. An important part of friends and families being supportive of family members who seek treatment for drug and alcohol addiction is the overall access to information for everyone involved. We are all better at supporting friends and family in treatment when we better understand the disease of addiction. If you or a loved one needs help with addiction, please call our number today for more information on drug and alcohol treatment in Florida.

By T.A. Cannon (Contact me at TACannonWriting@gmail.com)


“Ups and downs of drug rehab among women: a qualitative study” by Zahra Boroumandfar, Masoud Kianpour, and Maryam Afshari.