Drug addiction impacts men and women in different ways, which is why there are many women-only addiction treatment centers.
Women who have issues with men or simply want the support of other women may feel more comfortable attending a treatment program that is exclusively for women rather than a program that is open to both genders.
Women-only treatment programs are offered on both an inpatient and outpatient basis. Inpatient treatment takes place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in a residential rehab facility. These programs are best suited for people who have a severe addiction and need intensive treatment in a safe, supportive environment.
Outpatient treatment takes place on a part-time basis and may be better suited for women who need to remain active in their day-to-day life. Treatment can be particularly difficult for women because they tend to have less family support than males, and they may have a hard time attending treatment if they have to care for children.1,2
Each rehab program is unique and offers different treatment approaches, amenities, and services. Here are 6 things to look for in addiction treatment centers for women.
1. Treatment That Addresses the Whole Person
An integrative treatment program that addresses the whole person is typically the most effective for women who are battling an addiction. Such a treatment program addresses the physical and psychological aspects of addiction as well as the spiritual and social components.
Treatment centers for women typically offer therapies to address any emotional or sexual traumas that may have contributed to the addiction as well as eating disorders, family issues, body image problems, or self-esteem issues.
2. Supportive Therapy
Women tend to define themselves by their relationships and connections with others. Thus, having a supportive, nurturing, and empathetic therapist is a must.
Support groups with other women who are battling similar addictions also are a crucial aspect of the recovery process. Research has shown that women who suffer from an addiction benefit more from supportive therapies than any other approach.2
3. Treatment for an Addiction During Pregnancy
Pregnant woman who are battling an addiction should seek a treatment program that addresses the unique challenges they face. Pregnancy can make treatment more difficult and may lead to a woman terminating treatment early.
Treatment centers should support pregnant women by addressing nutritional concerns and fetal health while openly discussing the pregnancy, including medical office visits with an OB-GYN. They should also provide medically-assisted detox and stabilization when needed.2
4. On-Site Childcare and Parenting Services
On-site childcare services are another important amenity to consider for those who have children. Studies have shown that mothers whose children stayed with them during rehab were more likely to see treatment through to completion. For those who have little family support, on-site childcare may be their only option during rehab.
Some treatment centers for women offer specialized counseling services for parents to address common parenting problems associated with addiction. These services can prove invaluable to mothers in recovery.2
5. Gender of Treatment Professionals
Women may want to consider the gender of the treatment professionals at a rehab facility. Some treatments centers may be exclusive to women patients but providers may be of both sexes. If a woman feels that she may benefit more from female treatment professionals, she must do some research and ensure that the treatment center she plans to attend can meet those needs.
6. Addressing Gender-Exclusive Relapse Risks
There are several gender-exclusive relapse risks that a treatment center for women should address. These include:2
- Low self-esteem in relationships.
- Previous childhood trauma.
- Previous sexual assault.
- Eating disorders associated with drug use.
- Difficulty ending relationships with other drug users, especially in cases of spouses, romantic partners, and close family members.
1. NIDA. (2012). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research Based Guide.
2. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2009). Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US). (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 51.) Chapter 7: Substance Abuse Treatment for Women.