A specialized women’s treatment center is meant to help women address their addiction in a gender-specific program. This means that only women can be a part of it and that all support groups and activities will only include women. Programs in women’s treatment centers are designed specifically for women and their addiction-related needs and issues.
Because these centers are made to help all women, programs tend to be available in multiple service settings. Patients can usually choose between inpatient (also called residential) and outpatient program options for gender-specific treatment. Treatment, in general, is made of three stages: detox, substance abuse treatment, and aftercare.
Inpatient detox and programs require patients to check into the facility and stay until they’re done. These settings provide 24/7 medical supervision and care, making it perfect for severe cases of addiction. People experiencing acute symptoms of withdrawal are often recommended this option. Naturally, patients do get visitation days so they can see their loved ones as they receive treatment.
The outpatient alternative works differently, and it is usually best for patients with mild to moderate symptoms and levels of addiction. As patients receive treatment, they only need to stay in the facility during their sessions, meetings, and activities. The number of times they need to come to the center will vary depending on their needs. They might have anywhere from 1 to 5 sessions a week, which can last from 3 to 6 hours.
When it comes to addiction, men and women experience it differently, and therefore, require different treatment. Triggers, symptoms, causes, and even biological differences make gender-specific programs a better option for many. That way, female patients can address issues that caused or were worsened by addiction with more depth.
First, there are biological differences that should be taken into account. Female and male bodies metabolize, are affected by, and flush out toxins differently. Consequently, the withdrawal symptoms will also differ according to biological aspects. A medical team that specializes in the needs of the female body will know what meds work best for women. That is even more important for women who take hormones for any medical reason.
Next, there are the cultural and social differences between genders. Some women might not feel comfortable sharing and discussing certain issues around men. Being among only women will make most patients more comfortable being open during group meetings and sessions. Patients might fear being misunderstood by their peers should they not relate to their troubles. Gender-specific sessions make this less likely.
Bonding among people of the same gender tends to be more likely and easier. This aspect of recovery is important, as addiction is also mental and emotional. Feeling less alone and understood helps patients feel like their emotions are valid, natural. Learning from others and helping them, in turn, is only possible if there is bonding.
The “relationship” with addiction is different for women from start to finish. The cause of the addiction, for instance, tends to differ between men and women. What drives women to engage in substance abuse is not what attracts men to it. The journey towards sobriety is also different for women, riddled with challenges that won’t affect men the same way.
Most women start drinking or using drugs due to trauma or abuse on many levels. For women, it is about escaping reality, self-medicating for the symptoms triggered by these traumatic experiences.
Romantic relationships are also a more serious factor for addiction for women than men. First, there is influence: many women start using because their significant others do. Second, abusive relationships can drive women to substance abuse, and they are more often the victims of abuse than men.
Women who engage in substance abuse often have a family history of addiction, which might affect genetics and physical reactions. These physical reactions are also affected by the fact that substances have a longer effect on women. That is because of lower body weight and higher body fat percentage in women than men. Women also metabolize these substances at a slower rate. These two issues make women develop addictive disorders more quickly than men.
As 60% of addicts report suffering from a second mental illness, a co-occurring mental disorder also affects treatment. And as it is with addiction, mental disorders also affect women differently. Depression is more common among women, which is an aggravating factor for addiction. Women also present more co-occurring disorders than men when starting treatment, particularly anxiety and mood disorders.
When it comes to getting treatment, there are things that stop many people from seeking help. And as it is with other addiction-related issues, some of them affect women more directly. Though they might not be exclusive to women, they can affect them more often or differently than they affect men.
Luckily, there are solutions to some of these problems. Some of these barriers might be social, and therefore, personal and will require some time to be overcome. Others are financial
A lot of women depend on financial support from an understanding loved one and can’t afford treatment on their own. Some of them are lucky enough to get it, others not so much. Single mothers might also struggle to make ends meet if they have to start paying for treatment.
Many state and federal funded programs can help people with low income. Health insurance can also lower costs, as all plans must provide some level of coverage. Both Medicare and Medicaid also provide coverage for rehabilitation services for anyone who qualifies, too. Besides that, there are grants, funds, and loans that can make treatment more affordable.
A lot of women might feel like they are neglecting their role as moms while enrolled in a program. This is especially the case when they have to start inpatient treatment, as they fear being absent for too long might be an issue. Other mothers do not have anyone they can count on to care for their kids while they get treatment.
Outpatient care can allow women to keep to their routine while also getting the treatment they need. In case they need more intensive care, there is always the option of partial hospitalization or intensive outcare. Another great plus is that it is also cheaper than residential programs.
Going back to a stable living environment is crucial to prevent relapse. Many women can’t rely on that at home.
Find sober living homes that suit women’s specific needs. Most centers are able to connect their patients to other institutions that can help.
Because addiction is still so taboo, people, in general, might feel bad about being addicted and asking for help. This is, unfortunately, very common, especially in the case of relapse. Even after seeking treatment, this shame might manifest itself when it is time to share experiences. A lot of women are afraid of appearing weak in general.
Having a support system that assures them, they need treatment, and it is ok that they do. Intervention from loved ones can bring the person to see that they need help, as long as it is done responsibly. Also, knowing that their information will be confidential can help – which is the case for all rehab centers in America. And as mentioned, gender-specific sessions will help patients open up and feel comfortable sharing.
Struggling with another co-occurring disorder might prevent women from getting help. The symptoms of mental disorders might make it more difficult for them to seek treatment.
Many centers offer dual-diagnosis treatment plans, which address both addiction and mental disorders. While it is possible to treat one first and then the other, what matters is that the patient receives treatment for both. Failing to do so might make one disorder trigger the other again, as mental and substance abuse disorders feed off of each other. In this case, a support system and intervention might also give them the push they need.
Addiction affects all women in many different ways, but you can be sure that you’re not alone in your struggle. Together, and with the right medical help, women everywhere are able to get the treatment they need. In specialized women’s treatment centers, women can support each other as they recover and start to go back to their routines. The bonds you can create can last a lifetime and will make a difference along the way.
If you or a loved one need to learn more about addiction treatment, contact us today. We at Footprints to Recovery hope to answer any questions you might have and give you information that can help you. There are several options that will fit everyone’s needs, which will be recommended according to a medical assessment. We can offer solutions to any issues that might be stopping you from getting the help you need and deserve.