Rehab for Women
On average, men are more likely than women to develop an addiction. For example, in the 2008 edition of the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 11.5 percent of men had a substance abuse or addiction issue, while only 6.4 percent of women had the same troubles. But the statistics can break down when it comes to alcohol. In fact, this substance has some unique properties that could make it even more dangerous for women, when compared to men.
Thankfully, for women who are addicted to alcohol, specialized help is available. In an alcohol rehab center for women, professionals can help address the unique issues pertaining to women and their addiction and give them a chance to overcome this potentially deadly condition. With this kind of specialized help, women really can turn the corner and get better, leaving alcohol behind for good.
Part of the danger of alcohol in women comes about due to biological differences between the sexes. While both men and women metabolize alcohol through the digestive system, research quoted by Harvard Medical School suggests that women metabolize alcohol much less efficiently than men, meaning that more ethanol is dumped into a woman’s bloodstream with each sip she takes. Women also tend to weigh less than men do, and since alcohol is metabolized through body water, a smaller body means less alcohol can be processed. These two factors, when put together, can be devastating. A woman might find it easier to achieve intoxication, when compared to her male drinking partner. Her body is smaller, so she just needs to drink less to achieve the same result.
These biology tidbits are important from an addiction perspective, as they seem to suggest that women feel a bigger kick from alcohol when compared to men. Women who match drinks with their male partners are getting drunker, and they’re getting drunk faster, as the drug seems to work just a little more efficiently in their bodies, bringing about an overwhelming experience in no time at all. Big changes like this are hard for the brain to forget, and they’re typically associated with addictions that take hold quickly and refuse to let go. As a result, a woman drinking might develop an addiction much faster than a man. Her biology works against her.
Some of these pressures are familiar to men, as they must deal with the same sorts of problems in their own lives, but there are some concerns that are just more profound for women, and they could play a role in both an addiction issue and the recovery plan that lies ahead.
Of those concerns, self-esteem and self-image issues are particularly prominent for women. The mainstream media bombards them with an unattainable, unrealistic picture of beauty, while writers tell them they could balance both work and motherhood, if they’d only try hard enough. Living under this kind of pressure is difficult, if not impossible, and it can lead some women directly to the bottle, as they hope to boost their spirits with each sip they take. As alcoholism takes hold, however, they may find it harder to meet a standard of beauty, and their ability to manage all of their responsibilities might be severely compromised. A study in the journal Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly suggests that these problems don’t merely go away when a woman achieves sobriety. In fact, without help, these feelings can serve as a relapse prompt, keeping women drinking even when they have started to recover.
While internal pressure can keep some women locked in a cycle of addiction, women might also face pressure to drink from their:
- Romantic partners
- Adult children
Women might feel as though they must drink at business meetings in order to keep up with peers. Similarly, they might feel the need to drink at home, because a partner does so. Turning down a drink can seem like a refusal to be social, and some women might not want to seem uncharitable. Women who live with alcoholics might also come to feel that drinking is part of the social contract, and that sobriety could cause her to lose the relationship altogether.
Relationships can also take a nasty turn for women, and sometimes, those relationships can turn violent. About 600 women are victims of sexual violence each and every day, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey, and many more endure verbal or physical abuse from the people they love. Women who are abused like this can sometimes feel an intense amount of shame, and they may remain isolated or unable to speak about the incident. As a result, women often become depressed, which can lead to alcoholism.
Standard Components of Alcoholism Care
Tackling an alcohol addiction is difficult, but programs for both men and women tend to approach the problem on multiple fronts. Typically, these programs contain three major components: detox, counseling and aftercare.
In the detox portion of the program, alcoholics receive assistance that allows them to process all of the toxins that have entered their system. Since alcohol is a sedative drug, it can cause serious medical problems during withdrawal, including seizures. The professionals that run a detox program ensure that clients have medications and medical supervision, so they can get through the process without enduring life-threatening complications. The process can last for a number of days, but once it’s complete, the person is ready to move forward with the remainder of treatment.
Individual and group counseling begins right after detox, and it represents the core of any effective alcohol rehab program. These are the sessions where the recovering addict can unearth the reasons why the drinking began, and learn strategies to help change behavior and make better decisions moving forward.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is focused on relapse trigger identification and skill building
- Family therapy, which allows an addicted person to mend torn relationships
- Individual counseling, which allows an addicted person to explore the past in greater detail
- Motivational Interviewing, which helps to build on the need for change that most addicts harbor deep inside their minds
With all of these therapies available, it’s reasonable to assume that one burst of care would nip an addiction in the bud. In reality, according to an article in Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, most people with addictions need several years of help in order to heal, and they might bounce between substance use and sobriety repeatedly during that timespan. An aftercare program can help. Here, people have access to continued support and guidance in their pursuit of sobriety, and they might utilize 12-Step programs, additional counseling and sober living homes as part of their individual healing program. Programs like this might last for years, surrounding an addict in recovery with help that might allow an addiction urge to fade for good.
Programs Designed Specifically for Women
While a woman might certainly benefit from participation in a standardized treatment program for an alcoholism issue, a program that’s specifically designed to address the special problems women face might be even more helpful. Women benefit greatly from those programs that understand their specific needs, and while some programs provide treatment exclusively to women, others create an environment that is both safe and productive for women, even when men are getting treatment under the same roof. Many times, this comes in the form of gender-specific group counseling sessions within the core addiction treatment program. These types of sessions allow women to share experiences and speak openly without fear of judgment from those who may not understand their condition.
In addition, alcohol rehab for women might incorporate issues involving childcare and personal relationships. The Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality suggests that more than seven million children live in a home in which an alcoholic parent is present, and often, these children grow up to have their own issues with alcohol. A therapy program for women might help them to learn how to guide their children, so they won’t abuse alcohol later in life, and these programs might also provide childcare options for women, so they can continue to nurture their children while they heal.
For example, in a study in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, experts found that women in gender-sensitive programs were more likely to enroll in continuing care programs for addiction, when compared to women in standardized programs. If women get better help, they may be more likely to stay engaged in the process of recovery. That’s something anyone with an addiction would be pleased about.
At Michael’s House, we understand the unique needs of women who are struggling with alcoholism. That’s why we provide individualized treatment to all of our clients, building our therapy program around the specific needs that person has at that time. Individualized therapy, along with gender-specific treatment tracks, is part of the healing process for some of our clients, while others need assistance with parenting skills and relationship building. We’re here to help. Contact us today to speak with an admissions coordinator.
- 5 Signs Your Loved One Needs Alcoholism Help
- 5 Tips for Success
- A Guide to Alcohol Relapse Prevention
- Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
- Alcoholism Rehabilitation Facility
- California Alcohol Rehab
- California Alcoholism Treatment
- Calling Hotlines
- Can Rehab Save Your Marriage?
- Choosing Holistic Recovery for Alcoholism
- Cost of Alcohol Rehab
- Explaining Residential Alcohol Rehab
- Famous Alcoholics
- Financing Options
- Free Rehabs
- Getting Your Loved One Into Luxury Rehabilitation
- Having an Intervention
- How To Find the Right Center
- How to Know if you’re an Alcoholic
- Inpatient Versus Outpatient
- Insurance Coverage
- Lesbian Alcohol Rehab
- Locating Alcoholism Rehab
- Military Rehab Centers
- Private Recovery Programs
- Quick Facts About Addiction Treatment
- Recent Statistics
- Recovery for Teens
- Rehab for Men
- Rehab for Women
- Rehabilitation FAQ
- Rehabilitation for the Elderly
- Rehabilitation Options
- Rehabs for Christians
- The Biggest Hurdles to Rehab Success
- Therapy Options
- Top 5 Questions
- Treating Alcoholism and Depression
- Warning Signs of a Problem
- What to Expect at Rehab
- When Your Spouse has an Alcohol Addiction