Drugs and alcohol are one way that millions of people choose to cope with difficult life situations and subsequent painful emotions. In the world of addiction treatment, gender-specific rehab is leading the way in best treating each client.
The reasons that men and women start self-medicating with drugs and alcohol are usually very different. If a woman starts drinking because of sexual abuse, and a man starts drinking because of high stress pressure at work, these two individuals have conflicting needs while working to start a new life that does not include alcohol. Treating these two particular people in the same way will not effectively lead each to healthy and successful recovery.
Women’s Drug Treatment
All too often women wait until substance abuse and addiction has reached a crisis level before seeking professional help, mainly because of family obligations. Even though stress at home and feeling overwhelmed with taking care of a household and children can be the reason for initial drug and alcohol use, the very same reasons for use can be what has caused guilt and shame. The cycle is created where a woman drinks to destress and forget, feels worse about herself for doing so, and then uses and drinks again to cope with those emotions.
In women’s drug treatment, counselors and other staff members address these gender-specific issues that are presenting in unique ways in each client. A woman’s support system is important in her recovery, so the individual treatment plan created for each client needs to incorporate work around family dynamics and responsibilities. How is this woman’s life being affected by her marriage, her role as a wife and mother, or maybe even her lack of a family of her own?
What Works in Women’s Drug Treatment?
Traditional therapeutic approaches paired with alternative holistic techniques show best results for addressing everything a woman needs to get and stay sober.
In residential, inpatient treatment, each client is assigned an individual therapist; sessions are generally scheduled at least once each week. Group therapy, with peers who have about the same amount of sobriety, happens every day. Clients have a daily opportunity to share emotions and progress with peers. The ongoing giving and receiving of support boosts self-esteem, a mutual sense of helpfulness, and camaraderie.
Yoga, meditation, equine therapy, art therapy, many forms of outdoor experiences, and several alternative forms of personal therapy (like EMDR) have proven very effective in women’s drug treatment.
If you, or a woman you love, have been abusing drugs and/or alcohol, seeking a formal assessment is a great way to find out what treatment is most appropriate. When left untreated, substance abuse will progress and create extremely adverse life consequences.
photo credit: abc-recovery