Finding the Right Drug Rehab Center for Women

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Finding the right drug rehab center for women may be critical to recovery: here’s why

Physical, emotional, and societal differences between men and women can have a profound effect on a woman’s path to recovery. Until recently, most research into substance abuse treatments focused exclusively on males. Once women were included as research subjects, distinct differences in how women and men respond to substances began to emerge. Researchers  discovered that gender plays a key role in many aspects of recovery, from the effectiveness of substitution medication to the types of therapy that are more successful. Drug rehab treatment that does not take these differences into account may be markedly less effective and increase the chances of relapse. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why finding the right drug rehab center for women can spell the difference between successful recovery and a future filled with relapses.

Women abuse substances differently than men

Physiological differences in men and women may cause them to abuse drugs, alcohol, and other addictive substances differently. These differences may have a major impact on their respective courses of recovery. Women often can become addicted to substances while taking much smaller amounts than men, and they typically progress much more quickly from first use to addiction. Despite the shorter course of abuse, women tend to suffer medical, behavioral, psychological, and social problems that are more severe than their male counterparts when they enter treatment.

Women need to address these co-occurring conditions in rehab in order to have any hope of avoiding relapse in the future.  At all-female rehab centers, intake personnel are trained to recognize the emotional and physical conditions that can complicate women’s recovery from addiction. Therapists in female-only drug rehab centers are experienced at adjusting their treatment protocols to include treatment for these unique issues.

Women respond differently to substances than men

When women use certain substances, they may be more likely to develop mood disorders, such as panic attacks, anxiety, or depression, than men who ingested the same drug. Women may also suffer more negative effects to their heart and blood vessels from substance abuse.  Hormonal factors can cause women to experience withdrawal symptoms more intensely than men, and may make cravings for substances more intense. Women who are pregnant face additional health concerns that need to be considered.

A perfect example of the need to treat drug addiction according to gender can be seen with tobacco addiction. Women metabolize nicotine faster than men, so nicotine replacement therapy with patches and gum is markedly less effective for them. Behavioral therapy offers women a much better chance of controlling their nicotine addiction. Similar differences can be seen across the spectrum of drug rehab treatment options.  Addiction treatment for women that accounts for the physiological differences between the genders can be far more effective in helping women succeed in recovery.   Medications used in detox treatment and other therapies will be calibrated to work with women’s physiological needs, and timelines for treatments will be scheduled to achieve the best results.

Women face unique difficulties in seeking treatment

Women face certain issues that may make it difficult for them to seek and complete treatment. Fear of losing their children, the need to hold the family together, financial concerns, and other factors may keep women from seeking out treatment in the early stages of their addiction. Women in recovery have often been victims of domestic or sexual abuse. The horrors of the abuse can leave women facing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other issues that need to be taken into consideration, particularly in a residential therapeutic setting.

In order for therapy and drug rehab to be successful, patients must feel safe enough that they are able to share and fully participate in treatment. Some women who have suffered abuse may feel safer if they stay in a women’s rehab center where men are not in residence. Women who have self-esteem, weight, or sexual issues may find it easier to share their thoughts in peer counseling  sessions that do not include men.




If you would like some assistance finding the right treatment center for you or a loved one, BetterAddictionCare can help. Our staff is ready to take your call at 1-800-429-7690 today.