While people of any gender, social status, and age can become victims of substance abuse, studies have shown that women are at a high risk of developing a drug and alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, these statistics often lead to a domino effect of tragedy. It’s known that women are more likely to be victims of sexual assault and trauma, which are two things that can sometimes lead people to indulge in drugs or alcohol in order to numb the pain. Substance abuse treatment or women is something to consider in recovery, as it can provide a different type of care unique to their physical and emotional needs.

If you’re a woman suffering from trauma and addiction, know that recovery is possible.

Why Seek Out Gender Specific Treatment Programs?

For women, substance abuse can worsen more rapidly than males. Because society stigmatizes women’s stereotypical roles at a higher rate, they can often be more vulnerable to falling victim to substance use disorders.

Because it is more likely for women suffering from drug and alcohol addiction to have a history of sexual assault or trauma, it can be difficult for victims of these events to feel comfortable recovering in an environment shared with another gender. While men and women can recover peacefully in a co-ed health care center, many women will have a more beneficial and relaxed recovery process in a gender specific program.

This is why it’s essential to pick an addiction treatment program that can provide a targeted approach for women seeking treatment while taking into account their mental health, past history, and even motherhood if necessary.

women colleagues having a conversation at a table

Benefits of Substance Abuse Treatment for Women

Biological differences:

There are certain differences between men and women that correlate with drug abuse statistics, particularly in a biological sense. For example, women’s bodies are statistically more likely to become addicted to certain drugs, such as sedatives and anxiety medication.

There’s also a higher risk in women to develop health issues, especially when influenced by drug or alcohol abuse. Notably, female bodies are twice as likely to contract AIDS and other sexual infections, especially under the influence. With the help of trained medical professionals, these biological disadvantages can be addressed better while in gender specific rehab.

Sociocultural bonds:

One of the biggest benefits of going to a women-only rehab is the sense of safety and female unity that comes with it. There are certain social and cultural factors that affect almost every woman in society. This can range from the likelihood of having a history of sexual trauma to the stigma of having or being expected to fulfill a mother or housewife role.

Having these types of bonds with your fellow rehab patients is important for building relationships and trust. In the end, it will likely help make recovery easier for you to relate to the common struggles you may have with other women. Especially when those women are also suffering from addiction.

Additionally, not having to worry about the perceptions or judgments of the opposite sex can give anyone that peace of mind they need to come home to a stress-free environment. There’s no lurking risk of harassment, rude comments, or power-plays that are so common in other co-ed systems such as the workplace, public transportation, or dysfunctional family residencies.

Dual diagnosis:

Women are more likely to suffer from certain mental health disorders. Unfortunately, women with bipolar disorder or PTSD will often turn to drug use as a means of escape. This is something that makes co-occurring disorders much more common. The importance of dual diagnosis is made especially clear in gender specific rehabs.

By admitting to a women-only recovery center with a strong psychiatric unit, you will likely receive a better, more personalized evaluation of dual diagnosis. Identifying this kind of issue before beginning your recovery process is essential for women suffering from mental health disorders. That way, proper care and professional support can benefit the overall recovery process.

woman calling someone on a smartphone

4 Steps of Going Through Recovery as a Woman

Admission & Assessment

The first step of any recovery process begins with knowing you need help and admitting one’s self into an effective rehab center. While it may seem obvious, this can sometimes be the hardest part of recovery. However, there are luckily over 10,000 rehab facilities available in the United States where a woman can find treatment.

Once you decide on a rehab to enter, their admissions team will likely help you to figure out the monetary details of your treatment plans. Most rehabs will accept a variety of payment options, including private cash pay, different insurance providers, and even the use of financial aid if needed.

After you enter rehab, usually the first thing that will happen is a medical assessment. The assessment is needed in order to adequately plan your treatment, including factors such as which medication you might take and which therapy and activities you will partake in.

This will also include a psychiatric evaluation in order to determine if you’re in a dual diagnosis situation. All of it is done without judgment, solely for the purpose of ensuring you have the best individualized care and outcome possible.

Medical Detox

Once your assessment is complete and your treatment plans have started, the next stage every patient has to go through is detox. This is the process where you allow your body to rid itself of the drugs in its system.

In this stage, you will go through withdrawal symptoms, which may include dehydration, mood changes, body aches and more. It might take days, weeks or even months for this stage to stop, depending on the type of substance, a person’s genetic history, and other factors.

While detox is often a physically and emotionally taxing process, the medical staff at the rehab center is there to help you get through it safely. This includes assisting you with medication and providing a comfortable and supportive environment while the process takes place.

Going Through Treatment

After you complete your medical detox, you can resume with the rest of your stay in the rehab center. This means you go through the treatment plans that were set in place for you at admission. These plans can vary widely. Some women need partial hospitalization, others need standard residential treatment.

During your stay, you can receive the help of support groups, individual and family therapy, holistic activities such as yoga and a healthy diet, etc. It all depends on which rehab center you choose and your personal needs and desires.

woman smiling at camera with cute dog

Discharge & Aftercare

After your treatment is over, you will be discharged from the rehab center. But this doesn’t mean your treatment is completely over. Recovery is a long process, and most good rehab centers will have a system available for you to continue to be helped by their services even after you leave their center. This is what is often referred to as “continuing care” or “aftercare”.

What this means varies with each center. However, many programs will help you get back on your feet post-discharge, transition into your new life and connect you with counselors and support groups to ensure your recovery is going well.

You can also consider sober living homes in the area to help you stay accountable, get back on your feet in the reali world, and have a safe, drug-free environment to live in.

Finding the Right Substance Abuse Treatment for Women 

Just like men, women can fall victim to several different types of substance addictions, whether it’s alcohol or a prescription opioid. But what every one of them has in common is the unity that comes with being a fellow woman.

As a population of people who are more susceptible to be victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, among many issues, there’s a responsibility to look after one another. At the same time, there’s a responsibility to look after one’s self.

If you know a woman who’s suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, reach out to them and let them know that there is always a way out. Help is available, no matter who you are.

If you or a woman you care about need substance abuse treatment, call Opus Health 949-625-4019.

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