Inpatient Drug And Alcohol Rehab Programs For Women

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on October 26, 2020

Drug and alcohol treatment facilities that are gender-specific can address needs that are unique to a particular group. Acknowledging these differences may make a positive impact in treatment outcomes, especially for women.

The Benefits Of Rehab Centers For Women Only

In general, women have many stressors in their everyday life, and the expectation is for them to handle these stressors effortlessly, and without a struggle. In a co-ed treatment facility, these society-based expectations could affect a woman’s desire to share or be completely forthcoming in what she chooses to contribute during treatment. Being open and honest, or choosing not to, may impact treatment outcomes.

Several women enter substance abuse programs with a history of trauma. Gaining sobriety can be the first step in healing these past experiences. Providing a comfortable, safe, non-judgmental environment for women with these experiences can positively affect treatment outcomes. Many of these traumatic experiences involve the opposite sex, and being in an all-women’s facility may help alleviate some of the negative feelings sometimes associated with these trauma.

Group therapy is an important, effective form of treatment in a substance abuse treatment facility. It is during these group sessions that people are given the opportunity to build a support system with others that have similar experiences. Feeling comfortable contributing and gaining insight from others in a group setting will help women as they progress through treatment and aftercare.

Many inpatient treatment facilities are modeled after the needs of men, and up until the early 1990s, it wasn’t recognized that women may have different treatment needs. There are significant differences between men and women and substance abuse, so it is no surprise that recovery should be different as well.

Substance Abuse And Addiction In Women

There are many contributing factors to addiction in women that are very different than addiction in men. These differences may affect how women come to abuse drugs and alcohol, how long they abuse these substances, and how treatment works differently in women.


Women progress faster than men into abuse and addiction, even when the amount of substance consumed is the same, in a process referred to as telescoping. This process also raises the risk for quickly developing dependence.

Influence Of Relationships

Women are at an increased risk to begin using a substance if a person she has a relationship with is using the substance. If someone close to the woman offers the substance to her, she may be more likely to say yes. The level of trust in the relationship might give her the false idea that the substance may not be as bad as she initially believed.

If the relationship is of a close or intimate nature, or the woman lives with or is dependent on the person offering or using substances, these substances will likely be more accessible as well, which also can increase the likelihood that she may begin using the substance.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Many women with substance abuse problems have other diagnoses as well. It is not uncommon for women to struggle with anxiety, depression, other mood disorders, or unresolved issues from trauma. Women also may be more likely to abuse prescription medications in an attempt to treat pain associated with medical conditions.

“Positive” Effects Of Drugs

Women may be at risk of developing a substance use disorder after discovering that these substances seem to initially have a positive effect. The stress associated with daily life may decrease after drinking alcohol or taking a prescription pain pill, and this could increase the likelihood of using that substance again in the future. This continuous cycle of self-medication opens the door for the development of a substance use disorder (SUD).

Lack Of Positive Activities

Sometimes, women feel as though they spend all of their time caring for others. Mother, caretaker, wife, worker and/or partner are words women often use to describe themselves. When these roles take over, and there seems to be no time to engage in activities previously enjoyed, some women may turn to drugs or alcohol. Having time to set aside for personal hobbies and activities that she finds enjoyable are important.

Being in an all-female treatment facility allows for women to stay focused on treatment and recovery. For many women, their substance abuse is linked to an unhealthy relationship with a male figure. Whether it was an abusive relationship, prostitution, or some other negative relationship involving men, these types of trauma can impact treatment in a co-ed situation. These female only facilities allow for a more specific, supportive environment

Barriers In Addiction Treatment For Women

The main barrier to treatment that women have is themselves. Most women struggle to see that they have a substance abuse problem, or they are not ready to stop using. This can happen for a number of reasons, as it is normal for women to not see many viable options for getting sober. There is an expectation of commitment when looking at treatment and sobriety, and some women cannot imagine committing to treatment due to other perceived obligations.

Some women mistakenly assume treatment just isn’t a practical option. They do not see a way for them to step away from their lives to go to a treatment facility. Figuring out who will care for the children, home, and family seems like an impossible task. Attempting to take a significant amount of time off of work, or even considering a career change after treatment can be overwhelming.

Many women hide their addiction out of guilt or shame, and entering treatment is not a simple task. It would mean disclosing to their family, friends, and loved ones that they have been struggling with substance abuse.

Fear of consequences is another reason women avoid entering treatment. Some women are afraid that they will lose their children, home, job, marriage, relationships, family, or friends if anyone finds out they are struggling with an addiction. If a woman is already involved in an abusive relationship, they may also fear an increased level of violence and aggression from their partner.

Addiction Recovery Solutions For Women

For many women, maintaining appearances can impact whether they seek treatment. When family members or loved ones take the initial step and hold an intervention or simply ask her to seek help, that may increase the likelihood that she will.

Women’s treatment facilities may offer specific services to help make treatment an option, such as:

  • child care
  • transportation
  • treatment for co-occurring diagnoses
  • focus on emotional needs
  • teaching coping skills to address expectations, stigma, and stress
  • exploring ways to minimize relapse

Find A Women’s Only Drug Rehab Center Today

Rehabilitation facilities that treat only women allow focus to stay on the needs of women specifically. Often, women need more support during treatment, as they receive less support, encouragement, and care from their family than men do during treatment. The concerns of women in treatment differ from men. Many women are concerned with losing custody of their children, not having a job to return to, losing their family, and even becoming homeless.

During treatment, women may need additional counseling that focuses on mind and body recovery, as well as substance abuse recovery. Working toward increasing self-esteem and self-confidence can help alleviate feelings of doubt, guilt, and shame associated with substance abuse. Those negative feelings may be why women are more likely to relapse than men.

Women in treatment sometimes have issues with body image that may be associated with eating disorders, parenting issues that are sometimes associated with depression and anxiety, and negative self-talk that keeps them from fully benefiting from treatment. These issues, as well as others, can be addressed while participating in a women’s substance abuse treatment facility.

If an individualized treatment from a women’s only substance abuse rehabilitation facility may sound like a good option for you or a loved one, contact us today.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more
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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on October 26, 2020

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