Benefits of Gender Specific Addiction Treatment for Women
If you’ve made the decision to seek addiction treatment, congratulations. Many addicts don’t even reach this step. There are many treatment centers available that offer drug rehab for women, and you’re probably wondering which one is right for you. If you are serious about changing your life and getting treatment, consider a recovery center for women. Clients in gender-specific rehabilitation centers tend to have lower rates of relapse (although that is wholly contingent on the individual) and respond more positively to treatment. For more information on Florida drug rehab that is specific to women, read below.
Why Women’s Specific Treatment?
Women tend to have faster rates of progression in alcohol and drug addiction – they tend to become physically addicted faster than men, and these addictions often accompany underlying psychological imbalances and mental health issues. Many times, the female addict has issues surrounding shame and sexual abuse that aren’t present in men’s addictions. In addition, the stigma of addiction is higher for women than men. Women tend to respond differently to treatment, and the goal of a recovery center for women is to tailor the services to the individual needs of each woman, including giving her a safe space to work through the issues surrounding her addiction as she physically detoxes in a medically supervised environment.
What is Gender-Specific Treatment?
Although addiction does not discriminate, and anyone of any gender or station in life may become an addict, treating addiction should be selective. Because so many women report lack of self-esteem, shame, and insecurity, the treatment for the woman addict should necessarily involve helping her determine the reasons for these feelings and give her new coping tools that aren’t reliant on drugs or alcohol. There are four things that the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommend for a gender-specific rehab treatment:
- The program offer care for women seeking help for their mental health
- The focus is on referring women to specialized addiction treatment for both drugs and alcohol, including a recovery center for women.
- They identify sub-groups of women that could benefit from gender-specific drug rehab
- They address the female-specific risk factors for addiction (including finding treatment, continuing it, and the best possible outcomes of treatment)
These aren’t the limits for gender-specific recovery. Many centers include group therapy, as well as therapy in small groups, to foster bonds among the participants. The goal is to create a positive network of support for all the participants, including having sober friends for support after the inpatient treatment ends. For women who have trauma and abuse issues at the root of their addiction, this positive network helps prevent relapse.
How are women’s addictions different than men’s?
Many addiction specialists are discovering the importance of separate treatment for men and women. The physiological differences between men and women have a part in how addictions are created in women, including both the physical addiction and the underlying causes of drug or alcohol abuse. These differences also include how addictions are treated, as the strength of an addiction in women is often higher than men.
The motivations behind substance abuse in men and women are often quite different. Addiction research has shown that while men typically begin using addictive substances to receive perceived benefits of the substances, women begin using addictive substances to escape. A man may begin drinking or drug use in order to perform better in his career, or to be more socially accepted or outgoing. Women, however, may feel unhappy or trapped by their life circumstances, and so begin using to cover negative emotions or feelings of shame from past abuse.
Another, less mentioned, pitfall of inpatient rehab success is the creation of romantic relationships or distractions between women and men in the same treatment center. Removing the distraction of the opposite sex allows women to fully explore their own responses to treatment, as well as giving her a safe place to talk about how their relationships have contributed to her addictive behavior. Many women-specific treatment centers also focus on codependency and “love addiction,” issues that are frequently found in the female addict. Women in recovery tend to be very vulnerable, and the philosophy behind a recovery center for women is to protect those vulnerabilities.
Finally, women addicts tend to face a higher stigmatization than men addicts. Many hide their addictions from friends and family and even tend to lie to themselves about the severity. This stigmatization sometimes prevents women from seeking treatment for their addictions. In a drug rehab for women, removing the “labeling” than many female addicts face gives them a non-judgemental environment to work through the issues underlying their addictions.
What is treated in a Gender-specific Treatment Center?
In a luxury rehab or a recovery center for women, the treatment of issues besides the alcohol or drug addictions are addressed. The roles of gender and sexuality are explored, as well as society’s expectations for women, as well as any stigma, shame, and perceived expectations of family members. Depression and anxiety are often found in addicts, and both medical and behavioral treatment for both of those are explored.
Enrolling in a recovery center for women is a good choice for those whose addictive behavior may have underlying causes such as Postpartum Depression, or Postpartum anxiety. There is a type of shame and feelings of unworthiness that surround these conditions, and usually, therapy can be successful in helping the PPD woman find hope and healing. For women who enter treatment while pregnant, they will be closely supervised for both her own health as well as the health of her fetus.
Each addict has a different trigger for relapse, including PTSD, discrimination in the workplace, abuse, and domestic violence. For some addicts, the use of eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) to repress these memories has been shown to reduce the occurrence of relapse and diminish the power of negative memories. This type of treatment is very specialized, and may not be offered at all recovery centers. Your doctor and therapist typically make the determination of whether you will benefit from this particular treatment.
Besides substance abuse and addiction, many programs in a recovery center for women also treat what is referred to as “process addictions” – things such as a shopping addiction, gambling, pornography addictions, etc. These types of addictions, while they don’t have the physical effects that drugs or alcohol, still create artificial dopamine releases in the brain and can interfere with daily life for the sufferers. Process addictions, especially in women, tend to be heavily stigmatized, with some laypersons going as far as to deny that these behaviors are, in fact, addictions. For the addict, these comparisons are very real and will be treated with dignity and respect.
Creating a gender-specific “safe space” allows women to explore their addictions and their unhealthy coping mechanisms in an environment where they are surrounded by those who understand their unique challenges. Recovery is hard, and opening up to others who may not understand where they are coming from can have a negative effect on the person sharing. The aim of a drug rehab for women is to remove any barriers to seeking open and honest treatment.
How long does inpatient rehabilitation last?
Many luxury rehab facilities typically have a 28 or 30-day program, and a recovery center for women is usually the same, although some patients may be extended to 60 or 90 days, depending on the severity of their addiction and their responsiveness to treatment. Although 30 days has been the rule of thumb for treatment, some addiction researchers have determined that a 90-day intensive program may be more beneficial and significantly reduce relapse rates.
Although taking the time out of your life for 30, and especially 90, days is difficult, there is an argument to be made that taking 30 days for the rest of your life is a good exchange. For those unable to stay for a full 90 days of inpatient, many drug rehab centers also offer Intensive Outpatient Therapy, or IOP, that follows up with the treatment begun during the inpatient stay.
For patients with severe addictions, multiple relapses, physical complications, or significant mental health issues, a stay of 90 days is more beneficial. Allowing a patient to fully detox and begin healing her body is important, and during a stay in a Florida drug rehab, she will be supervised by medical professionals to ensure that not only are the effects of the drugs being reversed in her body, but that new neural pathways in her mind are created. For many severe addicts, the extra time in a 90-day program gives them opportunities to practice their new coping skills in a trigger-free environment. They are also afforded the opportunity to more fully explore the underlying issues that caused drug or alcohol abuse in the first place.
What happens during the treatment?
All treatment, from a drug rehab for women to a luxury rehab, begins with an initial intake interview and physical exam of the patient. Patients will have a blood panel, determining, among other things, BAC and liver enzyme presence. The patient’s history of drug use, medical history, and psychiatric history, will be given. Upon admittance, the detoxification process begins. Because withdrawal from alcohol and benzodiazepine can have serious health consequences, if you are addicted to either of these substances, it is strongly recommended to detox only under medical supervision.
Once she has the drugs and alcohol cleansed from her system, the inpatient resident will be placed on a drug regimen designed to aid the physical cravings for her drug of choice, as well as heal her body. Because women are more likely to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs to deal with anxiety and depression, many patients are placed on non-addictive anti-depressants and anxiety medications. Each patient will be monitored with blood pressure checks morning and night, and a nurse, specializing in addiction treatment, is staffed around the clock.
Once the detox process is complete, the patient will undergo therapy to deal with her addiction, specifically the underlying causes, such as shame, anxiety, and depression. She will receive one-on-one sessions with a therapist, as well as participate in group therapy and addiction education sessions. At this point, the patient is very vulnerable, so phone calls and visits from friends and family are closely monitored.
What happens when treatment is over?
Once the patient has completed her recommended stay – be it 30, 60, or 90 days, she will be released from treatment and offered aftercare support. For many, this includes intensive therapies, both group, and individual, as well as membership in a recovery program such as AA/NA, SMART Recovery, or Celebrate Recovery. It’s important that she surrounds herself with supportive friends and family, and that she be able to make the changes to her life to set her up for success in her new sobriety. This may include changing her job or moving.
Although there are no cures for addiction, you don’t have to go it alone. Your aftercare will include any specialized treatment for underlying sexual abuse or sexual shame that may have contributed to your addiction. In addition, when you attend a Florida drug rehab, you’ll become exposed to recovery programs such as AA and NA. Participation in these groups after you leave inpatient treatment is of course up to you, but during your stay, you’ll be able to work with your counselor to determine which group fits you best. Part of your release from treatment includes creating a post-stay plan.
I’m ready – what’s my next step?
If you’ve gotten this far, it may seem like treatment is too overwhelming, or too scary. However, if you are tired of living a life addicted, treatment may be the best option for you. You will safely detox, and be given many coping skills when you encounter a triggering situation. When you receive treatment in a recovery center for women, you’ll be in a safe environment when you can feel comfortable talking about the issues surrounding your addiction, as well as circumstances in your life that may cause a relapse.
Learning about your options is the first step. You’ll be surprised at the welcoming community that a recovery center for women can be. Many insurance companies will pay for most or all of your treatment, and the ADA regulations or FMLA Act often cover your absence from a job. If you feel like rehab is the choice to help you release yourself from addiction, give one of our experienced counselors a call. We understand where you’re coming from, and we look forward to helping guide you to a better path.
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