Women and AddictionA woman’s physiology affects how she processes alcohol and many other addictive substances. For example, one alcoholic drink has twice the impact on a woman’s body as it does on a man’s. That means women face greater health risks when consuming the same amount of substances. Studies have shown that women are more likely to end up in the emergency room or suffer a fatal overdose due to substance and alcohol use Because substance use progresses more quickly in women, withdrawal can be more intense for women than men. Not only might the physical symptoms be more painful, but the cravings for drugs or alcohol are also often more pronounced. The physical impact of addiction isn’t the only difference. Childcare responsibilities and the fear of losing custody of their children if they admit to problems with addiction can make women more hesitant to seek treatment. In addition, since most women earn less money than most men, a lack of financial resources may limit choices even when a woman wants help.
Women and TraumaThere is a strong link between trauma and addiction, especially among women. It’s estimated that nearly 75% of women with substance use disorders are survivors of sexual abuse, the majority reporting a lifetime history of physical or sexual assault or both. It’s natural to feel emotionally and physically vulnerable when entering rehab, especially early in the process. Considering how many addicted women are trauma survivors, being in a recovery program with men may make it difficult to feel secure. Understandably, concerns about personal safety can override everything else, including staying focused on recovery. When choosing a women’s treatment center, female clients don’t have to worry about sharing space or personal information with men. They can relax in a gender-specific environment with other women who understand and relate to their trauma. Finding trust and understanding with other women helps build a stronger foundation for continued recovery once clients leave the detox center.
The Benefits of Gender-Specific Treatment for WomenThankfully, many addiction treatment programs today recognize women’s gender-specific challenges in recovery. Some of the advantages a women’s rehab program offers include:
- Resources for working through trauma
- Medical experts who understand addiction and woman’s health
- A focus on women’s issues
- A non-judgmental environment
- Medically supervised detox tailored to a woman’s physiology.
- Resources and support for domestic violence survivors
- A secure place to open up and share the recovery process
- Support from other women who understand your experience