Safe Harbor Treatment Center

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Women and Drug Addiction

When we speak of Women and Drug Addiction, we must first acknowledge that we are talking about a very serious health issue that affects millions of women throughout the United States (and the world).  Centers offering Drug Rehab for Women know that the problem of drug addiction, in general, is a chronic one, as addicts are prone to relapse, and it affects both men and women of most every age range and background.  But while the issue of drug addiction spans both genders, it presents unique challenges for women in terms of both psychology and physiology.

Drug Rehabilitation Centers for Women know that drug addiction often affects men and women in very different ways.  Studies show, for instance, that women tend to move into dependence on certain substances more rapidly than men.  And this isn’t only the case for Women and Drug Addiction to illicit, “hard” drugs or alcohol. Even cigarette use is driven by different factors.  Whereas men tend to become addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes more readily, women’s dependence has more to do with what we call the psychosocial aspects of cigarette use.  Furthermore, studies have been presented showing that the very biology of men and women, and the differences their biologies present, are strong factors in how men and women begin and progress through addiction.  A good example of this is a study that showed that eating played a significant role in how nicotine influenced body weight in women and a far less important role in men.  While centers that provide Drug Rehab for Women are obviously concerned with human subjects, studies on animals have also provided some interesting insight into how women specifically are affected by drug use.  For example, females have been shown to be more responsive to stimulant induced activity than their male counterparts, and this responsiveness varied with the menstrual cycle.  The amount of stimulant ingested, when female rats were allowed to self administer the intoxicant, also varied greatly from male rats, and also changed with the changing of their estrus cycles.

While all of this is very interesting, what does it have to do with Women and Drug Addiction?  The point is that, on a very fundamental level, men and women take drugs for different reasons, their bodies handle the drugs differently, and therefore their recovery process must be gender specific.  This is why when it is time to look for a treatment program for a woman who is addicted to drugs, it is critical that she and her family seek out Drug Rehabilitation Centers for Womenspecifically.  These detox and treatment centers focus on the very unique needs of women addicted to drugs and alcohol, and they are staffed with people who know how to address those needs in a way that more often leads to long term sobriety.  Whether it is the statistic that shows that up to seventy percent of women addicted to drugs or alcohol have a history of physical or sexual abuse prior to age 11, or the fact that, while drugs like cocaine are more frequently used by males than females, the use of these drugs presents a far more substantial risk factor for victimization for women than for men, understanding the significant differences between male and female drug users is critical.  So while there are certainly quality, well meaning centers that are run as co-gender programs, those specializing in Drug Rehab for Women are the choice of those who have done their research.

Unfortunately, while there are some outstanding Drug Rehabilitation Centers for Women, there is an overall lack of women-oriented services in the United States and worldwide.  This should not discourage those dealing with Women and Drug Addiction though, as the centers that do specialize in treating women with drug and alcohol addiction tend to provide just the environment needed to help these women get back on their feet and moving toward a life of sobriety.  An atmosphere of caring, nurturing, and safety can be found in these programs.  This relaxed environment is essential to recovery, as the more comfortable a woman feels in a treatment program, the more readily she will be able to attain a sober, healthy lifestyle.  This is because it is critical that a woman struggling with addiction and going through treatment be able to open up in group and one-on-one sessions.  This ability to share feelings and experiences is a cornerstone of treatment and can only be fully achieved when a woman feels completely safe.  Environments where there are both men and women often present a challenge in this regard.  As many women in the grips of drug addiction have experience either violent or sexual abuse at the hands of a male, these women may, understandably, be less trusting of men.  So in a group setting, for instance, that includes both men and women, a woman might find herself reluctant to share completely, for fear of exposing her inner feelings to the men in the group.

Centers providing Drug Rehab for Women only – especially those staffed only by women – provide an environment where the above scenario is not an issue.   These centers also often incorporate time with current and former patients who are women recovering from drug addiction in the treatment process.  This gives current patients hope and encouragement.  When they see that someone else who is having, or has had, the same struggles as they are having is able to overcome drug addiction, they see proof that it can be done.  At times, this provides the extra push needed to stay on the path to recovery.  While Women and Drug Addiction is a complex issue, programs designed specifically for women are well equipped to properly care for women in need of this type of care.

One of the many highly regarded Drug Rehabilitation Centers for Women is Safe Harbor Treatment Center, Located in Costa Mesa, California.  Safe Harbor’s approach is to design a specific and unique treatment program that allows for a higher recovery rate. Do you or a loved one have a drug or alcohol problem and need a long term drug rehab specifically for women? If so, please visit or email us for more information.