Men and women have different needs when it comes to substance abuse and treatment. Drug and alcohol rehab programs for women focus on issues that are unique to women, allowing treatment to be more productive and relevant.
A women’s treatment program is built on the idea that feeling comfortable, developing trust, and building relationships can help women recover from addiction. An environment that is warm and supportive can go a long way toward healing a woman while improving her self-esteem.
Some treatment methods that may be found in women-only rehab programs include:
- support groups
- adventure therapy
- family counseling
A peer-support group brings women together to confide in each other about their personal struggles. This may help them form a bond and hold each other accountable for overcoming addiction. Support groups may be especially helpful to women who need to feel connected and uplifted by others.
Adventure therapy often uses outdoor activities to give people a healthy alternative to drug use. Some of these activities may be high-adrenaline, like mountain climbing or zip-lining, while others are more relaxed, such as hiking, fishing, or swimming.
When used in a gender-specific setting, adventure therapy can promote teamwork among women. Together, they can learn survival skills, overcome obstacles, and grow in confidence. Working as a team also encourages trust, which may lead to more positive relationships in life beyond a treatment program.
Sometimes women have trouble relating to men, especially if men have abused them in the past. Whatever the reason, if a woman is uncomfortable with a male therapist, she is likely to be less trusting, open, or receptive to his assistance. Pairing a female patient with a female therapist has the potential to create a stronger relationship, which may produce better results for the patient’s recovery.
Family therapy can help a woman work with her partner and/or children to create a more positive home environment. This may include examining how a woman’s addiction affects her family members and can help her family learn how to provide her with the support she needs to break free from addiction.
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Drug And Alcohol Rehab Programs For Mothers And Pregnant Women
Women are less likely than men to seek treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. This may be because they are more influenced by the social stigma related to drug use. Shame and guilt can be especially common in mothers.
A woman struggling with addiction may feel that she is an inadequate parent and be ashamed that she cannot take care of her family. She also may fear that her children will be taken away if she admits her trouble with substance abuse.
For women who do seek treatment, having children may make it difficult. If a woman is a single mother, or if her partner is obligated to work, she will have to find childcare during her time in treatment. This may be especially challenging with an inpatient stay at a drug rehabilitation facility.
Some drug and alcohol rehab programs for women offer on-site childcare to overcome this obstacle. They may allow children to visit or even to stay in the facility during the mother’s time in treatment.
Research has shown that without childcare, many women are more likely to drop out of a treatment program. Lack of childcare can also keep them from enrolling in the first place.
Women who are pregnant may also have unique concerns regarding substance abuse. Using some drugs during pregnancy can increase the risk of stillbirth. Drug and alcohol use can also cause a fetus to be exposed to substances through the placenta and develop a dependence on them.
After birth, the infant may have withdrawal symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, increased heart rate, and rapid breathing. The long-term effect of drug use on a fetus can be birth defects, premature birth, low weight, or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Some drug and alcohol treatment programs for women offer services specific to pregnancy. Opioid use disorder, for example, may be treated by a variety of methods, including medication-assisted therapy. This uses methadone or buprenorphine in place of opioids to prevent further substance abuse.
While methadone and buprenorphine may still cause mild withdrawal symptoms in an infant, the result may be significantly less severe. This increases the chances of an infant being born healthy.
Some addiction treatment programs also incorporate positive nutritional practices, neonatal vitamins, and natural stress-relief exercises to promote a safer pregnancy.
Co-Occurring Mental Disorders And Addiction In Women
Substance use disorders often develop as a way to cope with stress or trauma. Women are more likely than men to experience emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Consequently, some of them develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and some turn to drugs or alcohol to escape.
Gender-specific issues that women deal with include emotional concerns related to the menstrual cycle, menopause, or childbirth. They may also suffer from low self-esteem or eating disorders along with addiction.
Other mental issues, such as depression and anxiety, may be found more frequently in women. In general, women are more likely to suffer from co-occurring mental disorders, which can either lead to addiction or develop as a result of it.
Some women are more likely to seek help from a regular doctor or mental health professional than a rehab facility when they have co-occurring mental issues. This type of treatment may not be as effective as a rehab program since it is not equipped to heal addiction and often does not provide a long-term solution.
Drug and alcohol rehab centers for women may offer dual-diagnosis treatment in order to address addiction and other mental issues together. Since one can contribute to another, treating all mental issues concurrently can heal the whole person and prevent relapse.
Substance Abuse In Women And Men: What’s The Difference?
Women are less likely to abuse illicit drugs than men, and they develop substance abuse issues less frequently. Generally, women start using substances at a lower dose than men, but they can become addicted more quickly and severely.
Often, women who enter addiction treatment struggle with abuse of prescription drugs like sleep aids or anti-anxiety drugs. In recent years, more and more women have been entering treatment for illicit substances as well. Treatment enrollment for heroin addiction, for example, reached nearly the same rate between genders in 2010.
Women may be more easily influenced than men by friends, family, or romantic partners who support drug use. Getting away from the home environment and into a women-only rehab program may be the change a woman needs to overcome addiction.
Finding Drug And Alcohol Rehab Programs For Women
Drug and alcohol rehab programs for women developed in order to treat addiction in women more effectively and completely. However, treatment is not based on gender alone. Inpatient drug rehab centers offer treatment programs that are customized to the individual to increase the chance of a successful recovery.
Contact us today to learn more about drug and alcohol rehab programs for women.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — Gender and Use of Substance Abuse Treatment Services
National Institute on Drug Abuse — Substance Use in Women, Treating Opioid Use Disorder During Pregnancy