Addiction Treatment Designed for Women

Did you know that research has shown that women are more willing to go through addiction treatment than men are? As females are more likely to be open to receiving help from professionals for recovery it is important to highlight and discuss the differences in addiction treatment for women.

How can treatment help woman specifically?
As we know treatment is designed to help address an addict’s issues and needs, starting with the role of their relationships with family and partners. As women tend to be more nurturing and relationship orientated their treatment needs to take into account these dynamics more intensively. Other things that will be taken into consideration that tend to affect women are things such as pregnancy and children, as well as some co-occurring disorders such as mood swings, eating disorder, and anxiety disorders. Major concern also goes to trauma, trauma-informed services, and integrated treatment for woman with trauma-related symptoms and substance use disorders.

It has been observed that in general women enter treatment with a lower self-esteem than their male counterparts. For this reason, the traditional practice during recovery of “breaking down” a person who abuses substances and rebuilding them as a person is considered far too insensitive for females and not favorable to their recovery process. Although designed to break through a person’s addiction denial, these approaches can diminish a woman’s self-esteem further and, in some cases, re-traumatize her. Our approach is based on awareness, understanding, and trust. An atmosphere of acceptance, hope, mutual respect, empathy, compassion, and support that creates the foundation women need to work through challenges productively.

What type of treatment approach do we take when it comes to women?
The most effective therapeutic styles of treatment for women are best described as active, constructive, collaborative, and productive. We focus on treatment goals that are important to our client. This means addressing issues of food, housing, or transportation first. By first having her primary needs met, the trust of a female client builds considerably and allows her to address her substance use far easier. A collaborative, supportive approach builds on the client’s strengths and increases her confidence in her ability to identify and resolve problems.

Our approach is to facilitate the client’s awareness to the difference between the way her life is now and the way she wants it to be. The client and counselor agree to work together to identify the client’s distortions in thinking— discrepancies between what is important to her and how her behavior and coping mechanisms prevent her from reaching her goals. Approaching treatment as collaboration between equal partners—where the therapist is the expert on what has helped other people and the client is the expert on what will work for herself—may reduce the client’s resistance to change.

Having the support from a partner during treatment and recovery contributes considerably to long-term maintenance of abstinence for woman. Studies suggest that a significant other or a partner in a client’s treatment can also contribute to successful short-term outcomes, such as couple therapy and family therapy. Women who develop relationships in treatment are less likely to complete treatment successfully if their new partner discontinues treatment.

How to deal with pregnancy during treatment
Pregnancy is an extremely stressful time for many women. This stress can come from the woman’s physical discomfort; her anxiety about the health of her fetus and how she will care for her baby; or her shame from the social stigma of using drugs, alcohol, or tobacco while she is pregnant. With this in mind it is our aim to create an atmosphere that supports talking freely about pregnancy and help recognize that indecision toward pregnancy is a normal reaction. We will make a careful assessment of the woman’s existing parenting and other family responsibilities as well as of the social services and economic resources the mother needs.

When it comes to addiction and women we are able to provide you and the women in your life with all the support and help needed. Get in touch with us for any enquiries or questions.