While addiction affects people from all backgrounds and of all gender identities, we now understand the disease impacts women differently, and that effective treatment takes women’s needs into account. Understanding what the research tells us about women and addiction recovery can help you make better choices as you weigh the benefits of various options for pursuing a life in sobriety.
Women Progress Faster in Addiction Than Men
In general, women who regularly use drugs and alcohol move through the cycle from tolerance to dependence to full-fledged addiction in a much shorter timeframe. Also, despite drinking or using for less time than men, women who enter treatment are often in a more advanced stage of addiction and ill health. Why? The answer is due to physiological differences.
Women’s bodies process intoxicating substances differently from men. For example, because women metabolize alcohol more slowly and have more fatty tissue than men, one alcoholic drink for a woman can have double the physical impact as the same drink for a man. When women drink or use drugs, the substances stay in their bodies for longer periods, where they are more likely to lead to damage.
Women Experience Treatment Barriers
Women who need substance abuse treatment are also less likely to receive the help they need than men, due to factors like the following.
- Women face a higher social stigma around admitting to their addiction, and may be subject to greater discrimination, especially among their co-workers.
- Women have less family support for treatment.
- Because of the gender pay gap, women earn less than men, and may believe they cannot afford to enter rehab.
- Women tend to be responsible for more of the childcare and housework, and could be unable or unwilling to put these responsibilities aside temporarily to focus on their needs.
- Co-occurring mental health disorders such as trauma may make women feel less safe in seeking inpatient treatment.
- Powerful feelings of shame and guilt can keep women in denial about the extent of their problems.
Benefits of Women’s-Only Treatment
Because of the unique suite of issues women with addiction share, they benefit from single-gender treatment that helps them focus on their healing and overall wellness in a compassionate environment. Attending a facility that offers continuing care and specialized services such as trauma-informed care provides the best chances of ongoing recovery and relapse prevention.
During your treatment at Canyon Crossing, you will learn how to build relationship skills, understand yourself better, form a new sober support network and uncover the root causes of your addiction. We will teach you to be a more complete person, while guiding you to a healthier and more fulfilling life. At our nurturing recovery center in Arizona, you will discover the best version of yourself. Contact us today to discover more about the benefits of beginning your new life here.