Women and Addiction: You’re Not Alone

Women and Addiction: You’re Not Alone

We’ve all heard men say, “Women are a mystery.” Allow me to elaborate on how this relates to addiction treatment – I promise it will make sense!

Here I am, a full-grown gal, agreeing women are a mystery. After all, women house, birth and nourish life. We face seemingly insurmountable challenges as we make our way through the world, and yet, we still make our way. 

Women deserve every bit of marvel we receive. Still, unraveling the threads of mystery might help us to also benefit from the support we really need. 

This unraveling of threads couldn’t be more true than in the experience of women struggling with addiction. When drug and alcohol rehab centers consider the unique obstacles faced by women who hope to live a life of recovery, they’re better equipped to help them on their way. 

Let’s take a few minutes to unpack those obstacles as well as the best addiction treatment options available to you. And trust us. As you tackle your substance abuse issues head-on, you’ll be as mysterious as ever. 

Women Interact With Addiction Differently Than Men

Hit puberty, and you know: this female health thing is going to be an interesting ride. The decades that follow only confirm your suspicions—while research, as noted in Forbes, also shows us that our specific problems continue to be under-researched and inadequately treated

And when it comes to addiction, the health challenges unique to women continue—and grow.

But before we dive in, let’s get a quick lay of the land, shall we?

Researchers estimate that 4.5 million American women abuse drugs or alcohol

Women who struggle with addiction suffer health setbacks quicker than men. 

As a result, more than 200,000 American women die each year from substance abuse. 

Studies suggest that the number of overdoses in women will continue to rise

We know these things to be true, but why? Why do drugs and alcohol cause particular problems for women? Research explains that women face unique struggles with addiction due to three primary factors: biology, circumstance and psychology. 

Biological Factors That Affect Female Addiction

When it comes to addiction, genetics do matter. Scientific research proves, time and again, that women respond to drugs and alcohol differently than men because of biology—a factor that’s completely out of our control. 

Hormones, pain tolerance levels and the female body build all play a role in supporting substance abuse. Let’s look at a few specific findings: 

Circumstantial Factors That Affect Female Addiction

Of course, as women, we’re also prone to situations that men don’t often—or ever—find themselves in. 

From pregnancy to birth and beyond, having a child changes our circumstances in a major way without the added stress of substance abuse. And as women, we’re also more likely to experience trauma and abuse. Let’s look at how each of these factors contributes to a rise in addiction and make getting addiction treatment more difficult: 

Psychological Factors 

Finally, women endure unique psychological barriers to receiving adequate help. 

Some of these might start in the mind, yes, but others begin in society and worm their way into the mind of a woman hoping to get addiction treatment. We’re talking about everything from stress, anxiety and depression to co-occurring disorders and harmful stigma. 

Let’s look at examples of the psychological barriers to sobriety identified by researchers: 

Women Benefit From Gender-Specific Treatment

Let’s pause for a moment. Take a deep breath as we process the following information: 

Yes, women who struggle with addiction face specific challenges to reach recovery. Those are the facts—and they aren’t particularly encouraging.

Still, when drug and alcohol rehab centers take these challenges seriously, they have the opportunity to offer a gender-specific approach to treatment. One that considers the entirety of what it means to be a woman, in today’s world, who’d like to become sober. 

This part is where a hope for healing comes in. After all, Psychology Today reports that, compared to men, women who get help relapse less often and are more likely to maintain sobriety for the long haul. Good news, indeed!

The Recovery Research Institute suggests looking for addiction treatment that includes following offerings: 

  • The option to meet in female-only groups or to reside in female-only housing. The exclusion of men offers women—especially those who’ve endured abuse—the freedom to be vulnerable as well as the comfort of a safe environment. 
  • Child care support—by either providing childcare on the premises or helping women obtain affordable child care that meets the logistical needs of treatment. 
  • Female health care services to encourage discussion between doctor and patient about any relevant issues, including future pregnancies, protection against STIs, hormone regulation, postpartum depression and menopause. 
  • Education that goes beyond drug and alcohol rehabilitation, covering topics such as career advancement, personal finance, parenting, body image and more—all of which can serve to reduce the relapse rate in the future. 
  • Supportive therapies, which work to improve confidence and self-esteem by providing connection, empathy and warmth. The effectiveness of these therapies in women who’ve experienced trauma, abuse or the sting of stigma should come as no surprise. 

You might read through the list above as you consider the greatest hurdles you or your loved one might encounter on the road to recovery. Use the answer to prioritize what you’ll look for in an alcohol and drug rehab center. 

The Right Step DFW’s Women’s Treatment Center Can Help

Here at The Right Step DFW, we understand what you’re up against. We take each of the concerns mentioned above seriously. And it shows. Our women’s addiction treatment center values an evidence-based approach to helping you reach your goals for recovery. 

We offer both trauma and holistic therapy programs in addition to our inpatient and outpatient treatment plans. 

With trauma therapy, you and work with trained clinicians and counselors to help you identify the roots of your trauma. You’ll also learn to develop coping skills you can use in the real world to bolster your mental health and prevent relapse. Gaining these skills is why trauma therapy is especially helpful for women with co-occurring disorders. 

Through holistic therapy, you’ll explore new stress relief methods through massage, exercise, art, nutrition and spiritual growth. A therapist will help you understand your addiction better and work with you to replace its appeal with more nourishing interests and activities.

Our inpatient treatment programs allow you to live at our facilities for a 30 to 90 day period. You are welcome to invite loved ones to visit or keep in touch with family and friends by phone. While here, you may receive any of the following treatments: 

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Exposure therapy
  • Acceptance therapy
  • Medication management and therapy

Our outpatient treatment program offers greater flexibility with your schedule. You might choose from partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient programs, individual counseling, family and marriage counseling or attending 12-step meetings. 

Our goal is to help you reach your goals for sobriety. We’d love to talk through all of the options available to you as a woman and as someone struggling with addiction. 

If you or your loved one is looking for a women’s treatment program, The Right Step DFW can help.

Call us today at 844.675.1557

By Stephanie Thomas

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