Males and females have different needs when it comes to addiction treatment. This is not surprising as men and women respond to drug and alcohol abuse in different ways.
When you’re looking to engage with a rehabilitation program, whether inpatient or outpatient, you’ll need to decide whether a gender-specific program makes the right fit for you.
We’ll walk you through that today with our showcase of what to expect from women’s addiction therapy, as well as exploring the advantages gender-specific addiction therapy confers over mixed-gender treatment.
Men and Women Experience Addiction Differently
All of the following data comes from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction.
- 4.5 million female Americans have a substance use problem
- 3.1 million women in the United States use illicit drugs regularly
- 3.5 million women in the US misuse prescription medications
While women are much less likely than men to develop alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, when women develop problems with substances, the process is usually accelerated. Resultantly, many women engaging with treatment programs present severe medical, psychological, and behavioral needs. These are best catered for through gender-specific therapy.
Women respond in a different manner to addiction physically, too. In general, women have lower body weight, but more body fat. Women also have less water in their bodies. This means that women retain alcohol for longer in their fatty cells. This leads to a greater impact on internal organs when exposed to alcohol long-term in females than males.
To inflame this issue, women also have fewer of the enzymes required to metabolize alcohol. The BAC (blood alcohol content) of a woman will rise quicker than a man’s BAC when drinking the same amount of drinks in the same time period. A single alcoholic drink hits the female system twice as hard as the males.
Women also typically use drugs for different reasons, often linked to their relationships.
Most females with substance use disorder have a family history of addiction with at least one substance-abusing parent.
In the case of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, females progress from first use to dependence at a much faster rate than males. Women report more severe problems with this substance, and also report more health-related consequences triggered by these drugs.
Risks Women Face When Abusing Substances
Using illicit drugs carries certain health risks for all users, from injury and overdose to death.
Among female addicts, engaging in risky behaviors increases the risk of sexual assault, as well as increasing the risk of unwanted pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases.
In the case of opioid or stimulant abuse, these drugs can damage women’s menstrual cycles, as well as triggering a laundry list of adverse health effects.
As female hormones fluctuate, so cravings for drink or drugs can intensify.
For female caregivers, there are further complications to abusing drink or drugs.
Benefits of Gender-Specific Rehab for Addiction
As you can see, there are many differences between the male and female experience of addiction. These differences mean there is a strong argument for gender-specific rehab.
There have been very few scientific studies comparing the outcomes of gender-specific rehab versus mixed-gender rehab.
Ultimately, it amounts to personal preference, but there are a number of clear-cut advantages to attending a women’s treatment program.
- Spending less time on gender-related issues
- Recover with fewer distractions
- Easy ability to relate with peers in single-sex groups
- Offers a welcoming and supportive environment for recovery
Spending less time on gender-related issues
In a gender-specific treatment setting, recovery specialists and facilitators will waste less time addressing gender-specific issues that don’t apply to you as a woman.
It’s not selfish to take the stance that all issues exclusively related to the male experience of recovery have little relevance to you and your recovery. Conversely, you’ll also be comfortable talking at length about issues pertinent to you, pregnancy or childcare, for instance, without worrying about males in the group.
Single-sex therapy groups allow all members to focus on what counts for them.
Recover with fewer distractions
Even if only subconsciously, you act differently when members of the opposite sex are around.
When your emotions are anyway turbulent during the early stages of recovery, being distracted by males in a group is the last thing you need.
You’ll have enough normal life events dominating your time and distracting you from the main event of your recovery anyway. Why fuel the fire with added diversions?
Easy ability to relate with peers in single-sex groups
Peer support is a powerful benefit when you’re undergoing addiction recovery. When you can share life experiences with a group of women who really understand what you’re going through, this makes things easier.
Offers a welcoming and supportive environment for recovery
If you feel uncomfortable with the idea of sharing intimate, painful, or traumatic experiences in a mixed-sex setting, gender-specific groups eliminate this barrier.
The more open and honest you can be about your experiences and your addiction, the more effectively you can address the issues.
If you need women’s alcohol rehab or access to the best substance abuse treatment programs in Orange County, we can help you with this and more at The District Recovery Community.
Addiction Treatment for Women at The District Recovery Community
Here at The District Recovery Community, we can personalize gender-specific treatment for alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder.
For many people looking to kickstart their recovery, doing so in a single-sex environment provides the strongest chance of doing this with no distractions and with no added pressure.
If you have a mental health condition co-occurring with an addiction to drink or drugs, we have women’s dual diagnosis treatment programs ideal for attacking both of these issues at the same time.
To discuss our robust addiction treatment programs, call the friendly team today at 844-287-8506.