Substance Abuse Treatment for Women

People all over the world fall into substance abuse for many different reasons and studies have shown that there are different reasons for substance abuse across gender lines as well. Women get involved in substance abuse for very different reasons than many of their male counterparts. Therefore, a different approach is often needed when it comes to the treatment that is used to overcome the problem.

Just as there are different causes for substance abuse in women, the substance abuse treatment for women must take a more specialized approach and apply a different type of care to meet the needs of the women involved.

Different Factors Often Lead Women to Substance Abuse

There are often different elements that lead women down the path of alcohol and substance abuse. Many women must deal with vastly different social, economic and environmental influences in their daily lives that can push them towards drug or alcohol use. The stresses of trying to care for a household, maintain a job, run the family and other responsibilities can cause a woman to feel like she is losing control and have her turn to substance abuse. Addiction can also be used as a coping mechanism to deal with abuse of a physical or sexual nature.

Women are often more reluctant than men to admit that there is an addiction problem, as they feel there is a stigma attached to their addiction and it might be considered as a sign that they have failed to live up to their role. It is only when they finally admit that they may have a problem that they are willing to seek help. This is where alcohol and drug treatment for women comes strongly into play as a way to break this cycle.

What Makes Drug Abuse Treatment for Women Different

Even though most facilities that offer drug abuse treatment for women may contain many of the same programs available at centers designed just for men or for men and women, there are a number of specialized care options that can often be found in treatment programs designed for just women. These programs often include:

  • Meetings only for Women – In this type of environment there are very often meetings that cater only to women and the particular issues women may face when trying to deal with a substance abuse problem. This can provide a more comfortable setting for many women that may feel uncomfortable opening up about particular issues regarding their own lives with men present as well, especially if they have had to deal with issues involving sexual abuse or physical violence at the hands of a man. A women-only meeting allows for a more relaxed setting to deal with these issues openly.
  • More Group Counseling Available – While individual counseling with a therapist is often part of a treatment program for both men and women, substance abuse treatment for women often involves more group counseling than usual. Studies have shown that women are more open and react better in a group counseling setting where they have other women there to act as a support group that may have had similar experiences to their own with substance abuse. Having supporting people around can make a woman more relaxed and more likely to freely speak about issues, allowing for greater growth, education and understanding.
  • A Feeling of Safety and Security – For many women just the notion of being in a treatment facility with men can be difficult, particularly if there are past issues with men that have influenced or led to their substance abuse in the first place. Being in a facility where only women are present can make them feel safer and more relaxed so that they can be in the right mindset in order to successfully go down the path to recovery.
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