Forty percent of the nation’s addicted people are women. Historically, women have had more difficulty dealing with drug or alcohol addiction than men. This isn’t because of any physical differences between the genders, but rather a social issue. Due to social, cultural and family structures, women are often the ones handling the caretaking and nurturing roles. Often, the caretaker is the one who gives something up for the benefit of others. Fear, guilt and shame have also been barriers in women getting the treatment they need in order to handle their addiction. In this article, we will take a deeper look at drug addiction in women and the benefits of an all-women drug rehabilitation center.
Men & Women – Differences Between Substance Abuse Symptoms
Apart from the social aspects, studies show that there are differences in the symptoms as well. While the basic symptoms of addiction are the same for both, (lack of focus, abnormal behavior, obsessing on the substance, etc.) there are some differences between how men and women show the symptoms. Women often show signs of alcohol and drug addiction earlier and the symptoms are often more severe. In addition, mental health complications are more common in women than with men.1
In addition, the possible consequences for not getting the addiction treated are different in women than men. For example, over 90% of people with eating disorders are women. In fact, lifetime rates of mood and anxiety disorders are significantly higher in women than men (with or without substance abuse). When an addiction goes unhandled, these possible results can occur and lead to further damage.
Social Consequences of Addiction for Women
While women are not necessarily more likely to be addicts than men, they are more likely than men to use substances in response to stress and negative emotions. A women having problems in life, is not going to be in a position to fix her addiction. Therefore, women are significantly less likely to seek treatment. This is because of the gender-specific treatment barriers. The more common examples are childcare responsibilities, financial status and general social stigma.1
In addition, women who are battling substance addiction are much more likely to commit crimes. While men mainly participate in theft or violent crimes to obtain money for drugs, women go about it a different way. With the never-ending demand in the sex industry, women don’t always need to resort to theft or violent crimes to get the money they need to supply their addiction.
Benefits of a Woman-Only Rehab
Rehabilitation centers can be a lot for an addict to take in (woman or not). Women handle things differently than men do, therefore, it makes sense for there to be a rehabilitation center that focuses on the issues of women. There are many benefits to this form of rehabilitation center. For example, women often feel more comfortable discussing sensitive or personal issues with other women. Since trauma is closely linked with addiction, the women can focus more on the topics that relate more to women (most commonly sexual assault) in a rehab for women. In general, the group therapy sessions can cover the subjects that relate more to women (e.g. motherhood, eating disorders, etc.). While every women will differ in how they respond to the treatment, providing the option for an all-women rehabilitation center is one that can be greatly beneficial to many.