Women Drug and Alcohol Rehab
Traditional drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs have a lot to offer someone who is struggling with addiction problems. The steps involving detoxification, therapy and aftercare support are necessary for anyone who wants to recover from addiction. Since women and men can be different on many levels, women with addiction problems often require treatment approaches that address life issues specific to them.
As a woman, you may have to deal with issues involving family and children in a different way than a man in recovery would. Women may have identity issues that tie in to their addiction problems. Many women also struggle with past sexual traumas that have never been addressed. A woman-focused rehab program can help you address the specific areas that drive your addictive behaviors and offer the types of coping skills you’ll need for a successful recovery.
Alcohol and Drug Addiction
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Alcohol and drug addictions can have devastating effects on a woman’s life. If you find yourself organizing your day’s activities around getting or using alcohol or drugs, this is a clear sign of addictive behavior. Missing work, less and less contact with family and friends, and even personal hygiene issues can develop as addiction behaviors start to take over your life.
Addiction – once viewed as a sign of weakness and irresponsibility – has become a well-recognized disease of the body. The effects of alcohol and drugs on the brain become more powerful the longer a person uses. These conditions make it difficult to think clearly as drugs demand more and more of your attention.
Addiction problems can develop slowly or within a matter of weeks, depending on how a woman is introduced to alcohol or drugs. Many women start out by just experimenting with drug use, which can gradually develop into an “every weekend” activity. Over time, it becomes a daily activity as the body craves a “fix” in order to function normally. Eventually, drugs become the center of this woman’s life while other areas, such as work and relationships, get pushed by the wayside.
Reasons to Use
The life issues many women contend with provide ample reasons to seek escape in alcohol or drugs. Single mothers battling with financial problems, women battling with depression or women experiencing high levels of stress from family responsibilities may easily find relief in the occasional cocktail or pill.
At first, you might take a drink or pop a pill just to get over a rough spot or to make it through a stressful situation. And while your intentions may be along the lines of a “just this one time,” the brain and the body quickly take to the pleasurable effects of the drug. This bodily reaction makes it that much easier to seek out a drink or pill the next time circumstances start to feel overwhelming. Other effects from using can also reinforce the likelihood of using again. Depending on the drug, the physical effects on the brain and the body may include:
- Improved performance (getting more done in less time)
- Improved mood
Other factors involving peer pressure may also encourage a woman to use more often than she would on her own. Women involved with partners who use on a regular basis are much more likely to develop addictive behaviors than women with drug-free partners. A group of friends can also be a powerful influence, depending on how much time is spent with the group. While reasons to use can vary from person to person, breaking the addiction cycle involves finding a rehabilitation program that treats the types of issues a woman has to contend with in her everyday life.
Signs of Addiction
As addiction has the same effects on a person no matter who they are, the signs of addiction are the same, regardless of a person’s background, status or gender. Mayo Clinic lists the following behaviors as clear signs that an addiction is present:
- Needing drugs or alcohol in order to function in everyday life
- Stealing to get money to pay for drugs
- Drinking or using several times throughout the day
- Being unable to stop using even when the desire to stop is there
The types issues women face can have a considerable influence on the need to use alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms. It’s not uncommon for women with addiction problems to have suffered physical or sexual abuse sometime in the past or in the present. If you’ve been the victim of physical or sexual abuse, alcohol and drugs provide an easy way to mask the pain and forget that it ever happened. A women-focused drug rehabilitation program is designed to help you work through these painful issues and learn ways to replace “using” with healthy, productive activities.
Another woman-specific issue involves the roles women take on within their families. Women with children, women with spouses or women with aging parents may have to contend with family responsibilities that are not typically expected of men. This is especially the case when a woman must provide for her children without the help of a partner.
The fear of having your children removed by the court system is enough to drive any person into a panic. Struggling with addiction problems and holding a family together can quickly become a no-win situation unless the proper supports are in place. A woman-focused rehabilitation program can assist you in making whatever arrangements are needed to keep you involved in your children’s lives until you’re able to function as a capable provider.
Issues surrounding self-esteem and identity often play a pivotal role for women who suffer with addiction problems. These feelings of uncertainty and self-doubt lead women to seek out dysfunctional, painful relationships that only worsen their addictive tendencies. Friendships can also take on a dysfunctional dynamic that places unnecessary or unhealthy demands and pressures on a person. Oftentimes, the expectations of significant others and social circles are a prime source of a woman’s struggle with addiction.
A women-focused drug rehabilitation program places a heavy emphasis on the identity issues that women face within their everyday lives. Through ongoing therapy – both individual and group – women learn to define who they are and what they want out of their lives. Group therapy interactions enable women to form nurturing, supportive relationships with each other, which may be the first time many of the group participants have ever experienced healthy relationships with other women. In effect, women-focused rehabilitation programs provide an environment of emotional safety and security as women learn to work through the issues that drive their addictive behaviors.
The Effects of Alcohol and Drugs on the Brain
The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes the chemical effects of long-term alcohol and drug use on the brain. Specialists in the field report a significant decrease in the amount of glutamate – a neurotransmitter chemical – secreted by the brain. Glutamate is responsible for many essential brain functions, such as:
- Decision-making abilities
- Learning capacity
- Making good judgments
- Planning and goal setting
These effects make it difficult for a person to see how drugs are affecting his life. Gaining the insight or will to make needed changes becomes a difficult challenge as well.
Women-Focused Rehabilitation Services
The services provided through a women-focused drug treatment program are designed to help you become self-sufficient while developing a healthy, supportive network of family and friends to bolster your recovery. Treatment objectives focus on learning to set boundaries in relationships and in everyday interactions with others. These are essential skills that help you define your sense of self and strengthen your self-esteem. Women in general typically look for connectedness or bonds within relationship. This tendency makes it all the more important to learn how to connect with others in a healthy way.
Some of the services offered by a women-focused treatment program include:
- Family therapy
- Help with domestic violence issues
- Parenting and motherhood training
- Assistance with victimization and abuse issues
As a group, the greatest challenge women face when breaking the holds of addiction is an unwritten code of silence that prevents them from getting help. Results from a 2007 national survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that 94 percent of women in need of treatment refuse to get help or deny a problem even exists. In 2007, as many as 6.9 million women were in need of drug rehabilitation treatment while only 414,000 actually sought out the help they needed.
This need to deny an addiction problem exists or keep it secret may stem from past experiences involving abuse or neglect. The truth of the matter is the painful feelings contained inside only grow stronger the longer you keep them bottled up. Getting the help you need through a treatment program can mean the difference between living a happy life and living a life filled with addiction and abuse. The bottom line is only you can decide to make whatever changes are necessary in your life to protect your well-being and create a strong healthy family unit. If you’d like help finding a drug and alcohol rehab for women, contact us today. We can help you find the assistance you need to get sober.