Addiction is an indiscriminate disease, affecting individuals from all over the demographic spectrum: male and female, old and young, any race or religion. Alcohol and drug addiction develop due to the confluence of biological, developmental, and circumstantial factors, beginning with an individual misusing a mind-altering substance and progressing to a state of total physiological dependency. Moreover, there are a number of destructive effects that occur as a result of addiction, effectively ravaging one’s life and causing deterioration of health, damage or destruction of important relationships, financial ruin, and so on. In short, the devastation caused by addiction cannot be overstated.
Fortunately, there are recovery programs available that address the individual effects of alcohol and drug addiction by offering targeted treatments, affording those who have been suffering from chemical dependency with a means of overcoming this deadly brain disease. However, despite the efficacy of addiction treatments and success that many have found in recovery as a result of rehabilitation programs, there’s not a one-size-fits-all treatment regimen that works best or yields optimal results for everyone. Since every addict develops and experiences addiction in their own way, the process of recovery is personal and requires a high degree of individualization, which helps to ensure that each individual’s recovery needs are met by his or her treatments. As such, there are a number of programs available that cater to the needs of specific individuals or demographics, consisting of groups of individuals who tend to have very similar needs when receiving treatment for addiction. This includes addiction treatment programs for teens, programs for members of the LGBTQ community, programs for those of a specific religious affinity, and programs that address the specific needs of women who suffer from alcohol and drug addiction.
Women & Substance Abuse
Evidence shows that all stages of alcohol or drug addiction—which includes initiation of substance abuse, escalation of abuse, addiction, and relapse following treatment—there are differences between the rates seen among men versus those seen among women. Specifically, studies have shown that men are between two and three times more likely to suffer from chemical dependency than women; however, women tend to escalate their usage more rapidly than men and women relapse more frequently than men. Therefore, it would seem that although women have shown to be somewhat less prone to substance abuse than men, they tend to be faster to progress from recreational abuse to full-blown addiction than men while also showing evidence that it’s more difficult for women to overcome the effects of addiction through treatment, which is evidenced by the higher rates of relapse among women than men. However, women also tend to be more likely to seek treatment for addiction than men and tend to experience active addiction for comparatively shorter periods of time before seeking treatment.
Why Do Women Need Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment Programs?
Looking only at the differences in rates of addiction, usage escalation, and relapse among men and women, it’s clear that the addictive behaviors of men and women are very different. Moreover, it’s been suggested that women tend to resort to substance abuse as a result of prior trauma and painful experiences in the past—physical or sexual abuse, for example—at high rates, indicating that the factors that lead to the development of addiction in women are likely different than the contributing factors for men. In short, it seems that women are less likely to turn to addiction but become more likely in the event of physical or sexual abuse; additionally, women tend to become addicted to alcohol and drugs faster than men while also having a harder time overcoming chemical dependency and sustaining long-term sobriety. Between differences in addictive behaviors and difference in the contributing factors of addiction, it would appear that men and women need very different types of addiction treatment in order to recovery from physical dependency.
How Recovery Programs for Women are Unique
When it comes to health care, each individual’s affliction requires personalized treatment since there’s a great degree of variability in how individuals experience symptoms. As such, rather than responding to a condition in multiple individuals with the same treatments, each individual’s symptoms are taken into consideration to ensure that the treatments result in improvement. Similarly, treating all addicts with the same recovery curriculum is ineffective since addicts not only exhibit different addictive behaviors but also develop addictions due to different factors and experience different effects and symptoms. When it comes to women’s recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, women tend to experience symptoms that are unique to their gender and require specialized treatments so as to optimize the recovery process.
According to experts, women often suffer from comorbid, or co-occurring, conditions when suffering from chemical dependency, especially mental and emotional afflictions related to past experiences of psychological distress. In particular, women often have a comorbid diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of physical or sexual violence, depression, anxiety, or even borderline personality disorder. As such, addiction treatment programs for women often incorporate treatments for such disorders since the symptoms of these conditions tend to often occur alongside an addiction. Women’s recovery programs also commonly include treatments for eating disorders and issues concerning body image since these can be factors that might have led to the development of addiction for some and are also very common among women in general.
Moreover, women tend to be more greatly affected by the relationships in their lives, which is an important focus of counseling and therapy sessions over the course of treatment. Since women often suffer from low self-esteem and self-worth, there’s a focus in women’s addiction treatments on building confidence and strength as well as personal empowerment as they progress through rehabilitation. Women also have very specific health needs that are addressed as part of comprehensive recovery programming. In short, these treatments are incorporated into women’s recovery programs in order to help women have greater success in recovery.
Embrace Sobriety by Beginning the Journey of Recovery
There may not be a one-size-fits-all treatment that will deliver everyone to sobriety, but anyone can overcome dependency by finding the addiction treatments that meet their needs. If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction and would like to learn more about rehabilitation, call Recovery Hub at 888-220-4352 today. Our recovery specialists are available to help individuals find the programs that can teach them the skills and strategies that are an essential part of living a sober, healthy, and fulfilled life.