Women face unique challenges on the road to recovery. Often, coed treatment programs can’t or don’t address them all. Fortunately, addiction treatment dedicated to women is an option. Explore the benefits of programs that cater to female addiction and recovery.
Female Patients Often Feel Safer in Gender-Specific Residential Programs
It is common for women who struggle with addiction to also have a history of domestic or sexual abuse. Staying in a residential facility with men just one or two rooms away can be a source of fear. During recovery, women should feel comfortable and secure. A simple way to resolve the issue is to create residential environments where only women stay.
Some women also have to overcome other addictions, which may be sexual in nature. It is common, during the stress of treatment, to turn to a romantic partner for a brief time. However, this is not advised.
By creating a residential facility where there are no men, women can be comfortable and safe. There is no sexual tension to be concerned with, and they can focus on learning to trust other women and the camaraderie of their female peers.
Treatment Topics Include Issues More Relevant to Women
For the most part, the tenets of recovery from addiction are the same regardless of gender. Relapse, stress and health are priorities no matter who you are. Nonetheless, there are certain treatment topics that are relevant to women, but not to men. In a women’s only rehab environment, these topics can be a priority without alienating male patients.
Eating disorders, for example, are a common companion to drug or alcohol addiction for women. They may crop up during treatment as a way to control one element of life. While eating disorders may be common for women in recovery, they are rare among men.
Parenting is another issue that impacts women differently than men. Patients may struggle with the fact that they can’t be with their children while they are in recovery. There may also be custody issues related to recovery that demand attention.
While these issues can impact men, they are more likely among women. Therefore, they can become a focal point in therapy and help more women during treatment.
Emphasis on Developing Self Esteem for Female Patients
An often overlooked area of recovery for women is self esteem. Men and women may struggle with guilt, shame and embarrassment because of addiction, unwarranted or not. However, women in particular can suffer from lasting effects.
One goal of women’s treatment is to boost self-confidence. One way to do this is to see worth as separate from sexual value or appearance. In a women’s only space, this is easier to achieve. In addition, activities like art, music and fitness can also boost self esteem.
Certain Medical Issues Specific to Women
While all patients have unique medical histories, women as a whole undoubtedly have specific concerns. In coed treatment programs, these issues may be overlooked or they might not get the attention they deserve.
Reproduction is a particularly significant issue for women. Addiction can wreak havoc on the body, and childbirth may no longer be an option. Women may also want to know about the potential genetic component of addiction. Often, women are wary of having children if they might also suffer from addiction in the future.
For others, sexually transmitted diseases cause issues that have to be addressed. Rates of STDs are higher among females struggling with addiction. It is important that women get the care they need with these sensitive health concerns.
Group Therapy Open Exclusively to Women
Group therapy is a huge component of effective addiction treatment. It is the opportunity to share personal experiences, be vulnerable and learn from others. Unfortunately, some women find it hard to be open and honest in mixed company.
One issue that is particularly challenging is abuse. The reality is that far too many women suffer from domestic or sexual abuse as a byproduct of drug or alcohol addiction. While it is important to share these stories and work through them, it can be hard to talk about sensitive issues in front of men.
Sometimes, women feel so uncomfortable that they can’t share or be honest. In a group where only women participate, it can be much easier to speak out and make progress.
Addressing Risk Factors Specific to Women
The risk of relapse is an ongoing concern for both men and women. However, there are undeniably some risk factors that are specific to women. For the best chance of recovery, addressing these risk factors is crucial.
Many women find it harder to ask for help during recovery. However, all patients need to be comfortable asking for help when it is key to maintaining sobriety. Women can role play to practice asking for help in treatment. They can also spend time thinking about the best person to ask.
Another gender-specific risk factor is being in a relationship with someone who also struggles with substance abuse. Women are more likely than men to stay with a partner who is detrimental to their health. This is an issue that deserves attention, because it could be the difference between health and relapse.
Creating an Environment Women Will Appreciate
In a residential treatment center, a lot of thought goes into making a safe, comfortable and relaxing space. Patients appreciate this, and it can go a long way in aiding recovery. Of course, not everyone has the same idea of a hospitable environment. When the space caters to women, it is more likely to be appealing to many female patients.
Treatment programs may craft menus that are more appealing to women. They might design with a more feminine aesthetic in mind. They could even organize social events and fitness facilities that are geared toward the wants and needs of women. Together, this can make treatment more appealing and comfortable for female patients.
Women have unique needs during addiction treatment. Dedicated facilities can target those needs and ensure that female patients have the security and resources to achieve lasting recovery.