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What Do Women Need in Addiction Treatment?

womens addiction treatment program in ct

National statistics show that there are more than seven million American women (over age 18) battling a substance use disorder today. This includes women of all different backgrounds, ages, races, and economic status. Addiction can happen to anyone, and women are equally as likely as men to develop a substance use disorder. However, it’s important to know that women have very unique needs when it comes to addiction treatment. 

If your loved one is battling a drug problem, you may be seeking a women’s addiction treatment center to help her back on her feet. More than likely, you want a program that offers high quality care, that treats her with respect, and that is responsive to her needs and situation. That is the definition of good addiction treatment. At the same time, you may still be asking, “What exactly does she need?”

Women are biologically, psychologically, and socially different than men. Substance addiction affects them very differently. Life affects them differently. And as a result, they have very different needs in treatment and recovery. If you are seeking rehab for your loved one, it is important to find a gender-specific treatment program that can offer her:

  1. Mental Health Services
  2. Trauma-Informed Care
  3. A Positive, Female-Only Community
  4. A Safe Space to Heal
  5. Personalized Care and Support

Let’s dive into each of these a bit more.

  1. Mental Health Services

Women are highly vulnerable to mental illnesses like anxiety, mood, and eating disorders. To put this into perspective, consider these statistics. Twice as many women experience depression compared to men. Women are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Women are also twice as likely to develop an eating disorder. These disorders put them at greater risk for substance abuse and addiction, and vice versa.

Among the 7.2 million women battling drug addiction in the United States, 4.4 million are battling a mental health disorder simultaneously. When a person has both a mental health and substance use disorder, it is called dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorders. And it requires specialized treatment.

Dual diagnosis treatment is designed to integrate addiction and mental health therapies. In this type of setting, women are given the opportunity to heal mentally, physically, and emotionally. They work to uncover the cause of their substance abuse, and the root of their anxieties, depressive feelings, and destructive thoughts. Without dual diagnosis treatment, unattended mental health problems can lead to a negative self-image, damaged relationships, emotional instability, resistance in treatment, and a significantly higher risk for relapse. For this reason, women’s dual diagnosis treatment is essential.

  1. Trauma-Informed Care

Similar to mental health issues, trauma is also common among women facing addiction. Studies show that between 55 and 99 percent of women in drug treatment have reported a history of trauma. This may range from a history of sexual abuse, to a tragic event or death in a woman’s life. For this reason, most reputable women’s treatment centers will enact a trauma-informed treatment model. This means that they will have staff specifically trained in trauma therapies, to help clients address and overcome the deep-seated issues of the past. These programs ensure that women feel safe in treatment and in their residencies. They will empower women to discover their voice, to build connections with other women, and to regain trust in others once again. For those who have experienced trauma, all of this can help open the doors to healing and recovery.

  1. A Positive, Female-Only Community

As noted above, women have different needs when it come to their emotional, physical, and mental health. Women also turn to drug abuse for very different reasons than men. For example, many women start using drugs while in a toxic relationship with a substance-using companion, or after experiencing violence and abuse from a male partner. Burdened by these experiences, they may be afraid of or uncomfortable around the opposite gender. This is one reason why a gender-specific environment is so imperative for women, but it is not the only one. 

Gender-specific treatment allows addicted women to be surrounded – and to feel supported – by other women in recovery. They are able to establish bonds with other women walking in similar shoes. They can meet other women in group therapies, and discuss female-focused topics like trauma, sexuality, family, children, and pressure. In a co-gender environment, women are less likely to open up, which can interrupt the healing process.

  1. A Safe Space to Heal

Because women are often burdened by trauma and abuse, a safe and secure treatment environment is critical to her recovery. The treatment environment should offer a serene, tranquil setting that promotes healing, self-reflection, and peace of mind. It should be away from outside pressures, temptations, and distractions from the opposite gender. When women feel fully safe in their treatment program, they are more likely to focus on their personal health.

  1. Personalized Care and Support

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “No single treatment is right for everyone. The best treatment addresses a person’s various needs, not just his or her drug abuse.” For women, the NIDA emphasizes the importance of addressing their unique needs in recovery, and creating an individualized treatment plan accordingly. This personalized, client-informed plan is essential to your loved one’s recovery, ensuring that she feels accommodated, supported, and engaged in treatment.

NIDA research also shows that women in recovery get better when treatment adheres to all of their basic needs. In addition to food, shelter, and clothing, the basic needs of women may include family therapy, parenting training, childcare, mental health therapy, medical care, legal assistance, job skills, and basic education. Of course, these all vary by individual. It is important to consider the unique needs of your loved one, and ensure the treatment program you choose can meet those needs.

When researching women’s addiction treatment, it is important to look for a program that tailors their treatments to her needs, that understands the intricacies of addiction in women, that offer integrated, mental and trauma-related services, and that provide women with opportunities to connect with others in similar shoes. To learn more about the unique needs of women in recovery, please do not hesitate to call Turnbridge at 877-581-1793. You may also explore our women’s drug rehab program online