Finding an addiction treatment program that addresses your unique needs is vital for lasting recovery. Rehabilitation for women considers the female experience and has proven quite useful in helping women achieve lasting sobriety. When treatment is specialized based on your physical, mental, and spiritual needs, positive results follow.
Women are less likely than men to drink alcohol and use illicit drugs. Women develop substance abuse problems yet they report greater severity and more health-related consequences than men.
Additionally, substance abuse problems interfere with more areas of a woman’s life than a man’s. At BRC Recovery, our gender-specific treatment programs occur in two different facilities on two different properties. Here, men support men and women support women.
How Do Women Experience Addiction?
Although women and men may start to drink alcohol or use drugs for similar reasons, they are dealing with starkly different circumstances and experience addiction recovery in various ways.
Women are motivated to use substances for several reasons, such as:
- Domestic violence and physical, sexual, and verbal abuse.
- Divorce, the loss of child custody or the death of a partner or child.
- Mental health disorders, including panic attacks, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Stress, loneliness, low self-esteem, and fatigue.
- Body image issues.
- Chronic pain, such as migraines, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis.
Women are more likely to:
- Use substances in smaller amounts for less time before they become addicted.
- Respond to substances differently. Women may experience more cravings and be more likely to relapse after treatment.
Common Causes of Addiction in Women
When it comes to substance abuse, women face certain special issues influenced by:
- Sex–differences based on biology
- Gender–differences based on society’s definition of roles for men and women.
Scientists who have studied substance use have found that women who use drugs may have issues linked to:
- Menstrual cycle
Furthermore, women also report unique reasons for using drugs including:
- Weight control
- Fighting fatigue
- Coping with pain
- Self-medicating mental health problems
How Substance Abuse Affects Men and Women
Scientific studies have also revealed that:
- Women frequently use substances differently than men. For example, using smaller amounts of some drugs for less time before becoming addicted.
- Women can respond to substances differently. They tend to have more drug cravings and may be more likely to relapse after treatment.
- Women may be more sensitive than men to the effects of some drugs due to sex hormones.
- They may also experience more physical effects on their hearts and blood vessels than men.
- The brain changes in women who use drugs can be different from men’s.
- Women tend to go to the emergency room or die from overdose or other effects of certain substances more often.
- Women who are victims of domestic violence have an increased risk of addiction.
- Loss of child custody, divorce, or the death of a partner or child can trigger a woman’s substance abuse or mental health disorders.
- Women who use certain substances may be more likely to have anxiety, panic attacks, or depression.
The BRC Recovery Continuum of Care
BRC Recovery’s Primary Treatment Women’s program can accommodate up to 20 women ages 18 and older. When a woman participates in an extended care treatment program, and that treatment caters to the unique needs of a woman, she has a much stronger chance of achieving and maintaining permanent sobriety.
The BRC Recovery continuum of care is spread across 15 months:
- 90-day Primary Treatment Program
- 90-day Transitional Living Program
- 12-month Aftercare Monitoring Program
Benefits of Women-Only Addiction Treatment
It’s difficult for any person struggling with substance use disorder to quit, but for women, it can be particularly challenging. Women may be afraid to seek addiction treatment due to potential legal or social fears or a lack of child care while in treatment. Additionally, they often require support in handling responsibilities related to work, the home, and child care.
Women addiction treatment offers several benefits, including:
- Supportive, community-based treatment. Women benefit from the community and support that stems from a strong peer network.
- More group sessions. Many women find comfort and stability in a group setting.
- Alternative therapies. Non-traditional alternative therapies provide an outlet for expression outside of the traditional treatment setting. Proven psychological treatment can make all the difference in one’s journey to lasting recovery.
What Can You Expect at Women Addiction Treatment?
Additionally, gender-specific addiction treatment as a whole has a few advantages, such as:
- 12-Step Immersion. BRC Recovery’s 12-Step Immersion program combines the tenets of the 12-Step philosophy as they relate to addiction and the pressures women face.
- Less time spent discussing gender issues. Both men and women struggle with issues related to family, relationships, work, and self-esteem, but those issues vary. In a women-only environment, women focus on addiction and recovery from the female perspective, which fosters a more fulfilling, productive conversation.
- Reduced distractions. When both genders are present, the possibility of romantic distractions follows. While a romantic relationship could serve as a nice distraction from the challenges of recovery, it draws attention away from what you should be focusing on: recovery.
- It fosters honest discussions. Recovery and personal growth require you to step outside of your comfort zone and make yourself vulnerable. Practice compassion if you don’t feel comfortable discussing such deeply personal issues in the presence of the opposite gender. In a women-only environment, there is comfort and camaraderie in being surrounded by other people who can more easily relate to one another.
- It builds a support network. Women primarily benefit from a supportive peer network, which is vital to maintaining sobriety. In gender-specific treatment, women form valuable relationships in the group therapy setting and through group activities, such as hiking, group fitness classes, and excursions into Austin, TX.
Special Concerns in Women Addiction Treatment
Treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs) in women may proceed differently than it does for men. Women frequently report using some substances for a shorter period when they enter treatment.
Their substance abuse tends to go from first use to addiction quicker and withdrawal may be more intense for women. In some cases, women react differently than men to certain treatments. One example is that nicotine replacement (patch or gum) doesn’t work as well for women as it does for men.
It’s difficult for any person to quit a substance disorder. Particularly women who may be afraid to get help during or after pregnancy because of possible legal or social fears and a lack of child care if they go to treatment. In rehab for women, women often need support for juggling the burdens of work, child care, home care, and other family commitments.
Pregnancy Programming in Rehab for Women
Specific treatment programs can help pregnant women stop drug use safely and also provide prenatal care. Some types of treatment have shown positive results, especially if they offer child care, parenting classes, and job training.
Medications such as buprenorphine and methadone can improve outcomes when combined with other treatments. However, some babies will need treatment for withdrawal symptoms. But the outcome is still better for the baby than if the mother continued to use opioids.
How Do SUDs Affect Women?
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
There is no single factor that predicts who will develop AUD. But women who have been abused are more likely to develop it.
- Approximately 16 million people over 21 in the U.S. have used alcohol heavily in the past month, including about 5 million women.
- A survey showed that 1 in 5 girls and teens aged 12-20 said they had a drink in the past month.
- Gay and bisexual women (particularly young women) have a higher risk for drug use, heavy drinking, and binge drinking than other women.
- Among women who drink, 13% report having more than 7 drinks in a week, and a recent survey showed that binge drinking is on the rise in older women. Drinking 4 or more drinks in a day or more than 7 in a week increases a woman’s risk of developing AUD.
Prescription Drug Use
Nearly 27 million American women have used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs in the past year. According to the CDC, prescription drug misuse is growing:
- From 1999 to 2015, prescription painkiller overdose deaths increased more than twice as fast among women than men.
- About 18 women die each day of a prescription drug overdose.
Illicit (Illegal) Drug Use
- In the U.S., 7.3% of females, aged 12 years and over, used an illicit drug in the past month in 2015. These same respondents reported using marijuana (6%), cocaine (4%), and hallucinogens (3%).
- Among women with SUD, 40.8% were struggling with illicit drugs.
- The major illicit drugs or abuse for women are marijuana, opioids, and methamphetamines.
Achieve Lasting Sobriety Once and for All
Our rehabilitation for women program can help you or someone you love recover from addiction and experience permanent sobriety. With treatment that specializes in helping chronic relapses and treatment-resistant recovery, we’re confident we can help you heal.
Our rehab for women only can create a treatment program just for you because we understand women’s issues. You will feel safe and secure with our experienced and compassionate staff. We know you probably have a lot on your plate, but this is too important to let continue. Contact a BRC Recovery Specialist for more information about our women-only program.