Women’s Addiction Treatment: Why It’s Necessary

Dealing with treatment and recovery from substance abuse is a hardship for all involved, and that can be compounded by generic programs that don’t take into account the needs of different clients. The fact is, women have a very different path more often than not when trying to pick up again after addiction. Unlike men, women are more frequently in the role of needing to be a direct care provider for children or elders at the same time that they need to address their own mental, physical, emotional and personal needs. As a result, a women-only rehabilitation program is oftentimes a far better approach than a mixed audience option.

Why Women’s Specific Treatment Is Important

Finding addiction treatment specifically geared for women, however, can be challenging. Many programs are geared for all-gender therapeutic treatment and don’t cater to a women-only environment request. And that can leave a patient uneasy or exposed and vulnerable to male clients in the same residential setting. Granted, many programs provide a very high level of security and treatment care for clients and don’t intend to create an unsafe environment. That said, the mixing of vulnerable clients has sometimes been a negative factor in treatment conditions versus an improvement.

The other factor that a mixed audience treatment program can’t directly provide is that women going through similar scenarios may often build bonds in their commonality and strong friends who reinforce each other far better through treatment than any external person could provide them, including medically-trained staff. Those kinds of personal synergies can help a client stay on track, even well after the addiction treatment has ended because the close friendship connection has not.

Is A Women’s Only Rehabilitation Right For You?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to substance abuse treatment. Regardless of the fact that people are frequently categorized by the type of addiction, demographics and even economic background, people’s situations are fundamentally different from each other when one gets into the details. One situation may very well be a cascading problem of job loss, divorce and family strife contributing to addiction for distraction and trying to get away from the problems. Another situation may be rooted in one’s family history from decades before. Another may be triggered by abusive relationships that act as a catalyst for substance abuse. If a treatment program applied a generic approach to every case coming in the door, a good portion of clients would fail, which is a big problem with many generic treatment providers.

With a women-only rehabilitation center, a patient could very well be a good fit for the gender-specific treatment approach if there is a history of relationship problems with men that act as a catalyst for addictive behavior. In other cases, female patients may be very apprehensive in mixed crowds but in a women-only environment, it becomes easier to open up, which contributes to adjustment and learning versus being defensive. Still, other female clients may want to stay close to their children during treatment and can’t do so in a mixed-gender addiction treatment program. Female clients who find strength in common experience will frequently find benefits in recovering with other women who’ve lived similar lives too.

Women Need Enhanced Rehab Treatment

Many generic programs again only provide the same approach for all patients that come through the door. However, because of the physical toll substance abuse can take, withdrawal effects can be far stronger on women than men. As a result, a second particular aspect female clients or their families need to consider is that the program can address the additional help a female client will likely want or need in the recovery process. These issues often include mental and psychological conflicts of personal worth, sensitivity to groups and societal norms, or fear of the legal system being aggressive towards women in general. Childcare, as mentioned before, is also a big concern for many female patients afraid they might lose their children committing to an addiction treatment program. So, treatment approaches that accommodate mothers are essential to alleviate this fear and reason for not seeking help.

Getting Help That Works

Anchored Tides Recovery is a comprehensive dual-diagnosis enhanced program designed specifically for women, by women. We offer various levels of outpatient services including a partial hospitalization program (PHP), an intensive outpatient program (IOP), an outpatient program (OP), and long-term recovery monitoring with aftercare. If you’re a woman finding treatment for yourself, another female friend, or a loved one, it can be challenging. Call us today. We can help you get the support your need.

The Top Five Most Influential Women in Recovery

For those who struggle with addiction, substance abuse, and other mental health disorders, it is easy to feel isolated. After all, many people who see others going through addiction believe that this can never happen to them. For young women who battle these issues, the situation can be that much more difficult. Often, substance abuse in women develops as a side effect of prior traumas or bad relationships that drove someone into the arms of addiction in the first place.

It is critical for women to know that they are not alone. There are countless others who have been there and many of them end up recovering. There are even powerful, successful, and influential women who have gone through recovery and succeeded on the other side. There are several stories that women can turn to for inspiration.

Jada Pinkett Smith

Jada Pinkett Smith is an incredibly successful actress from Baltimore; however, she did not always star in movies. She lived in a terrible part of the city with a single mother who was addicted to drugs in the midst of an epidemic. At 11 years old, she was very much on her own, as her mother was under the influence and unable to help her.

Jada Pinkett Smith ended up as a drug dealer in the 1980s; however, she also suffered from alcoholism. She never learned to say no to alcohol and drugs and began to drink on a nightly basis. She says that she did this to try to numb the pains of her childhood.

Eventually, Jada Pinkett Smith sought help for substance abuse. It was a long road to recovery, but she has now been sober for more than 20 years. She reminds us all that sobriety is not a destination but a journey.

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato is one of the most recognizable stars from the Disney Channel. She starred in Camp Rock, which came out in 2008. She became immersed in a successful music career and has served as an inspiration to many; however, it is not her entertainment skills that are the focus. It is her journey back to sobriety.

Demi Lovato started using drugs during her Disney days. She was partying, drinking, and doing drugs in an effort to self-medicate and deal with the emotional stresses of her job. She was using cocaine hourly. Eventually, Demi Lovato went on to seek help. She navigated her way through recovery and was able to return to her career. She has now been sober for five years and performed the national anthem at the Super Bowl.

Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis is one of the most recognizable actresses in history. She underwent a surgical procedure decades ago. Sadly, after this procedure, she became addicted to painkillers. When she went a while without opioids, she started to develop cravings and knew she was going to end up in withdrawal. Therefore, she knew she needed to get help. Addiction ran in her family and she lost a brother to heroin abuse.

Eventually, Jamie Lee Curtis got the help she needed. She was able to achieve sobriety once again and returned to her acting career and now works with anti-drug organizations in an effort to raise awareness of the epidemic.

Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige is one of the top R&B artists of all time. Many have even called her the queen of hip hop and soul. Mary J. Blige had her own issues with both mental health and substance abuse. She says that her addiction problems came from a traumatic childhood. She was sexually abused and had numerous dark moments. This led to the development of drug addiction. She was high on cocaine and drinking heavily during the early days of her career. She was able to seek help from trained professionals and learned from Whitney Houston’s journey. Today, she is sober. She carries on in the memory of Whitney Houston, one of her great idols.

Kristin Davis

The star of Sex and the City has also had a long battle with substance abuse. In 2008, she revealed that she is a recovering alcoholic. She started drinking as a teenager in an effort to medicate her social insecurities and get through her parents’ divorce. She drank to fit in, but it grew into an addiction. Now, she shares her journey with everyone. She encourages people to recognize the signs of addiction early on. The sooner people get help from the professionals, the faster they can recover.

Call Anchored Tides Recovery Today

At Anchored Tides Recovery, we are a drug abuse and addiction treatment program designed specifically for women. We work hard to provide the latest treatment resources to every woman who comes to see us for help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

The Power of Women Recovering Together

Substance abuse, along with mental health disorders, will affect each gender differently. There are studies that show treatment has a better success rate when programs are tailored to gender-specific needs. These programs can remove some of the barriers and distractions that can arise from being around members of the opposite sex. It allows clients to feel more focused and comfortable and recover around peers of the same gender, allowing them to relate over experiences that are specific to gender.

Barriers to seeking addiction treatment are usually gender-specific. Women and men can have different feelings when it comes to treatment, how the disorder affects the body and the stigma that is associated with treatment and substance abuse. Women are more likely to feel guilty for seeking addiction help and those feelings can create a bigger barrier to treatment. Women are also more likely to have experienced trauma leading to substance abuse or mental health disorders. Due to this, women need to undergo trauma-informed care. By choosing a gender-specific treatment, it gives a setting that is supportive, sensitive, and non-discriminatory. Women may be more unlikely to develop drug and alcohol problems but when they do, the process is usually quicker. Women tend to enter treatment programs with more severe medical, social, behavioral, and psychological problems. This has implications on the needs of treatment.

There is a difference when it comes to gender and sex in regard to substance abuse. For example, men have an enzyme that breaks down alcohol in the liver and stomach and due to this, men don’t absorb as much alcohol in the bloodstream. This means a man’s alcohol concentration will likely be lower than a woman’s.

It Removes Expectations

Addiction recovery requires that you be vulnerable. Many women find it easier to be vulnerable and speak more candidly about the issue they are facing while in the presence of members of the same sex. There is no need to put up a façade to cover up feelings when you are with other women.

Fosters Honest and Open Discussions

An honest discussion about life’s highs and lows will help women understand they aren’t alone in the experience. Gender-specific addiction treatment reduces the shame and judgment and leads to more understanding and compassion. Many people will feel uncomfortable discussing traumatic and painful life experiences in a mixed group. It’s easier to feel comfortable around people that are similar to you. Feeling safe and comfortable in addiction recovery is important since true healing will only happen if you make yourself vulnerable and share your experiences.

It Reduces Distractions

The main benefit of addiction treatment is that it allows people to focus solely on getting better. When there are other genders then there are distractions, such as romantic ones. Although a romantic relationship can serve as a welcome distraction from what you are going through, it can actually be a distraction that takes the focus off of what you really there for. When women are with women, it reduces the need to keep up with appearances and feel the need to impress the opposite sex. For many, the gender-specific addiction treatment gives one less distraction so the focus is on just healing.

Focus on Gender-Specific Issues

Both women and men face pressures related to work, family, self-esteem, and relationships but those pressures can be different. With gender-specific addiction treatment, clients are surrounded by others who know from personal experience and what it is like to experience addiction as a woman, along with dealing with cultural and societal pressures. Clients are able to focus on a woman’s experience instead of having to split focus. For example, in women’s specific treatment, topics can include pregnancy, motherhood battles, and past trauma.

Creates a Safe Environment

Without a safe environment, treatment won’t be as successful. If a woman has suffered trauma caused by a man then they will not feel comfortable sharing in groups with men. Mothers who have an addiction will benefit from sharing expenses with other mothers since women are usually the caretakers of the family and home. It can be hard to be away from children but with the support of others like them, women are able to share in these experiences.

It Helps with Bonding

With gender-specific treatment, women can bond over shared experiences. There is also the opportunity to bond over new ones. Having a strong peer network is important for maintaining sobriety and preventing relapse after treatment. Gender-Specific treatment can incorporate activities that strengthen necessary connections outside of traditional group therapy.

Importance of Women’s Treatment Programs

Since women in addiction treatment are more likely to have experienced physical or sexual abuse, there is power in women recovering together. Women in treatment are less likely to have a high school diploma or employment. Women are also more likely to have to deal with childcare and the complications of drug or alcohol use during pregnancy.

If you or a loved one you know are struggling with addiction, reach out to us at Anchored Tides Recovery.