Gender Needs in Addiction Treatment
Although rates of addiction tend to be higher for men than women, there are a number of other statistics that illustrate the differences in men’s and women’s treatment needs when in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. For instance, women who suffer from major depression are seven times more likely to also suffer from alcoholism than women who do not suffer from major depression. In fact, symptoms of depression, anxiety, eating disorders and borderline personality disorder tend to be significantly common among women suffering from substance abuse disorders.
Research also tends to show, however, that women tend to experience shorter periods of active addiction before seeking treatment. They are also prone to higher rates of relapse and repeat rehabilitation. On the other hand, men suffer from alcohol and drug dependency at higher rates and tend to be more reluctant to seek treatment. Men are two to three times more likely to abuse a chemical substance than women. Men, more so than women, also tend to be poly-drug users, meaning they use multiple substances at the same time.
Many women who suffer at the hands of a substance abuse disorder have also been diagnosed with an additional mental health concern. For this reason, it is essential that women are placed in recovery programs that focus on dual diagnosis treatment. It is crucial that both substance abuse and mental health disorders are treated simultaneously, improving the likelihood of long-term success in recovery. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, women are more likely to suffer from mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. Because women tend to be more vulnerable to sexual abuse, domestic violence and numerous other forms of trauma, the most effective therapeutic group sessions offer women the opportunity to discuss these topics openly.
Female-specific topics we cover in our therapeutic group sessions include:
- The impact of divorce and other marital issues on the development and continuation of substance abuse disorders
- The grief that goes hand-in-hand with the loss of a child or a romantic partner
- The pressures that go hand-in-hand with societal expectations of women, and the stressors involved in raising a family
- Body image issues, including disordered eating patterns like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder
- Past sexual, physical or emotional trauma, and the development of post-traumatic stress disorder
- Substance abuse among pregnant women
For more information on our female-specific addiction recovery groups, feel free to reach out at any point in time. While addiction is far from a one-size-fits-all disease, women can often relate to members of the same sex when it comes to a variety of the recovery-related challenges they face on a daily basis.