Some fresh insight is being revealed when it comes to the steps that should be taken when addressing alcohol use disorder in Black women.

During a presentation at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting, Dr. Ayana Jordan shared key strategies to use when treating Black women with alcohol use disorder. Dr. Jordan is an associate professor at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine.

“People come to show up as their whole person,” said Dr. Jordan. “You have to affirm the humanity of folks, and that’s really important when we are thinking about people who are systematically oppressed and marginalized.”

A Focus on Positivity

Jordan said that she positively reinforces her patients by expressing her happiness to see them during their visits to her practice, no matter what their urine test results may be. The healthcare professional added that it is important to build connections to Black culture into the treatment of Black women.

“’Being a Black woman, how does that affect who you are?’ We have to be able to ask that question,” Jordan said. “We can’t ascribe to a colorblind philosophy because it’s not helping us reach the outcomes that we want.”

Acknowledging Barriers

It is also important to acknowledge the barriers to treatment that exist for Black women patients. According to Jordan, these barriers can include a lack of childcare and “the myth of the strong Black woman.” She added that doctors also play a pivotal role in making sure a full assessment is made regarding treatments and their effectiveness.

“Black patients in general are less likely to have time with their doctors and doctors are less likely to go over lists of side effects, so we want to make sure that we are actually being very objective in our time with folks,” Dr. Jordan said.

Over the last several years, there have been increased conversations around the complexities of treating alcohol use disorder in Black women. This includes through the the work of Khadi Oluwatoyin, who founded  Sober Black Girls Club to support Black women going through struggles with alcohol. 

“We are finally saying enough is enough. We’re taking care of our mental health. We’re trying to understand why our parents didn’t take care of their mental health,” Oluwatoyin told Katie Couric Media in an interview. “Our meetings provide connection to all these points. It’s not enough to say I have a drinking problem, and I need to find myself. We are all very successful, and we want to know, why am I still miserable after [achieving] all these things?”