Women’s Rehab Options—Special Concerns for Women
Women’s rehab options are widely available and varied. They cover a range of treatment settings and treatment philosophies. There is also a wide array of treatment methods to choose from. Some examples of the diverse options for women include:
- Outpatient—outpatient addiction treatment occurs in a clinic setting in which regularly scheduled appointments are made with healthcare providers such as a physician and counselor. Outpatient treatment also often includes group therapy sessions. Outpatient addiction treatment is typically used after a stay in rehab as aftercare. It helps one transition back into the community, and to maintain gains made in rehab. It is often a precursor to rehab as well. People often need to resolve some denial about their substance problems in outpatient care prior to entering rehab.
- Inpatient or residential—inpatient or residential care can vary, from hospitalization in which a medically supervised withdrawal can be done, to a stay in a non-medical facility. These types of programs are what most consider ‘rehab’, places to stay 24 hours per day. Some residential programs provide medical services as well. However, when considering a program, one must explore the specifics of services offered in each program explored. Programs provide a structured, therapeutic setting in which addiction and recovery is addressed. These programs allow women to separate from their usual environments in which they have used substances until they are abstinent and equipped with recovery skills.
- Intensive outpatient programs—these programs allow participants to live at home while receiving addiction recovery services several hours per week. Services typically include group therapy, education and individual counseling. Intensive outpatient programs are usually a ‘step down’ program after a rehab stay in a hospital or a residential facility. These programs gradually ease one’s transition back into the community, and are often the intermediate step between a rehab stay and outpatient treatment.
- Women’s only programs—women’s only programs may have male staff members, but do not admit men as clients or patients. These programs can occur in any treatment setting, from outpatient to outpatient services. They can also be founded in a wide range of treatment philosophies and employ a wide range of methods. Settings can vary greatly, too.
- Luxury rehabs—luxury rehabs provide amenities not available in other settings. These can be accommodations similar to fine hotels, with retreat-like settings and services. Their treatment philosophies and methods can also vary widely since their luxury status typically describes accommodations rather than clinical issues.
- Executive rehabs—executive rehabs offer accommodations that professionals who cannot leave their business lives behind during treatment need. For example, participants may need methods of communicating with business associates such as computers, fax, phone conferences, and meetings.
- 12 Step based programs—12 Step based programs are founded on the concepts and principles of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous). Typically, all portions of such a program relate issues back to 12 Step principles and concepts.
- Religious programs—Religious women’s rehab options incorporate the doctrine of a particular faith into their addiction recovery programs.
- Non-12 Step programs—this programs are not based on 12 Step principles. They do not necessarily believe the 12 Steps are unhelpful, but focus on other concepts during treatment.
- Holistic programs—holistic programs typically use a variety of methods including such things as nutrition, herbal medicine, yoga, meditation, acupuncture and other methods usually considered ‘alternative’ health practices.
All Women’s Rehab Options are Not the Same
It is important to remember that even in the same category of rehab types, all such programs are not the same. For example, each outpatient, residential, luxury or holistic program will have an individualized version of what such categories of treatment mean. This is true for any of the types of rehabs listed in the section above. Some of the differences between women’s rehab options in every category can include:
- Staffing patterns and types of staff credentials
- Policies regarding visits, phone calls, outings
- Insurance coverage accepted
- Arrangements for payment
- Physical accommodations
- Lengths of stay
- Ability to manage a medical detox protocol
- Ability to simultaneously treat mental health conditions
Women’s Rehab Options and Gender Differences
Women and men have many differences biologically, of course, but also there are significant social and cultural differences in our society. Overall, boys and girls are socialized differently, for example, and society at large tends to have very different expectations of women and men. Consequently, some people may be held to rigid gender roles in their daily lives such as that women are primary child caregivers, for instance, or that men should be ‘strong’ and show no emotion.
Consequently, the effects of substance use and addiction in a woman’s life overall can be dramatically different than those that occur in a man’s life. Also, substances can be relied upon to cope with very different life stressors for men and women. Naturally, there are universally shared experiences among all who have substance problems, and there are men and women who do not have the more traditional gender role issues. However, gender differences—biological and cultural ones–if taken into consideration during addiction treatment, can greatly refine the effectiveness of treatment for both men and women.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, but some of the most common differences between men and women who are addicted are:
- Many women begin substance abuse in different ways than men, such as through a romantic interest, and substance use is often deeply tied to relationships.
- Women progress in addictive illness severity more quickly than men.
- Women tend to have more cravings in early recovery, and relapse more quickly than men.
- Women develop more severe physical and mental health issues prior to entering treatment due to the rapid progression of their addictions.
- Addicted women tend to have more immediate concerns about parenting..
- Barriers to treatment completion are frequently different for women such as childcare problems, fear of losing child custody, involvement with an addicted partner that is not supportive of her recovery, domestic violence, and the cultural stigma of being identified as an addicted woman/mother/daughter, etc.
Women’s Rehab Options that are for Women Only
Reputable women’s rehab options are fully informed of gender differences in addiction, and are valuable resources for women who want treatment. These types of programs do not have to be women’s only rehabs, but there are programs that specialize in the treatment of only women. If you are an addicted woman, or a loved one is, you may want to consider a women only rehab in your search for treatment. Even then, however, you should make inquiries that satisfy you they are effective and clinically capable. Any reputable program will be glad to answer questions about their methods, treatment philosophy and staff credentialing, for example.
It is difficult to say who would benefit more from a women only program, but all women seeking addiction treatment can benefit from exploring the option. Especially women who have gone to treatment previously without success, it may be wise to consider a program especially sensitive to women’s issues. Women who have particular issues may also want to explore a women focused or women only rehab. Some issues that women may feel more able to address in a women only program can include:
- Sexual abuse during childhood
- Sexual assault
- Domestic violence victimization
- Loss of a child
- Human trafficking victimization
- Pregnant women
- Codependency, love or sex addictions involving men
Absolutely, women with any of the above issues can receive effective treatment in reputable programs that include male clients or patients. However, each woman with such issues must examine how the presence of male peers in a program will affect her participation. For example, some women may feel more acutely embarrassed and ashamed to discuss sexual trauma or other sexual issues in the presence of men. Victims of domestic abuse perpetrated by men may also have difficulty in groups that include male peers. And, women with a pattern of love and sex addictions that involve men may be too vulnerable, continuing those patterns if male peers are available in a treatment setting.
The Right Rehab for You or a Loved One
Choosing the right rehab for you or a loved one is a stressful task. It is complicated by the distress that has accumulated across the course of an addictive illness. For many addicted people and their loved ones, that includes years of pain and despair, hopelessness and helplessness, frustration and fear. Getting to the threshold of rehab is always a moment of crisis. And, though the Internet is a logical place to start, a simple search for options will result in an avalanche of information that one can’t possibly sort through or absorb when in crisis.
Certainly there are many effective options for any woman who needs addiction treatment, and women can be successful in co-ed programs or women only rehabs. Treatment is always a very personal issue and what is comfortable for someone else may not be for you or your loved one that needs treatment. It is important to remember that every woman is different, and all women’s rehab options are different, too.
An effective search should begin with an in depth discussion with an addiction specialist. We can help you dramatically narrow your search for viable options. We have collected extensive information from a wide range of rehabs that treat women, and will talk with you to clarify your individual needs. Our consultation is free, and helps you quickly cut through the confusion. We can give you recommendations that meet the clinical needs of you or your loved one. We can also fit our recommendations to your financial situation, including insurance coverage, and costs of programs.