Drug and Alcohol Rehab Treatment for Women

3 min read · 6 sections
Gender-specific rehab programs can be beneficial for people who prefer to focus on their recovery in the presence of others of the same gender.

A clinical review reports that women-only recovery programs demonstrate greater effectiveness for addressing specific problems related to women with addiction and show better outcomes in helping women remain in treatment and decreasing post-treatment drug use.1,2 This article will help you understand women and substance abuse, drug rehab for women, and how to know when you should enter a women’s rehab center. If you are a woman struggling with substance abuse issues, American Addiction Centers can help you.

How Does Substance Abuse Affect Women Differently?

Women are affected by different issues than men, and substance abuse can also impact women differently than men. A clinical review in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment explains that women who abuse drugs or alcohol more frequently experience issues like a history of childhood trauma and abuse, interpersonal violence in relationships, involvement with child protective services, homelessness, and dependency on others for financial support when compared to men.1 While men generally have higher rates of substance abuse, women struggle with more incidences of co-occurring psychiatric disorders (like depression, anxiety, or eating disorders), and they are more likely to experience more serious medical, behavioral, social, and psychiatric problems if they abuse opioids, cannabis, and alcohol, even if they have used the substances for less time and in lower amounts than men.2

Research has also reported the following differences between men and women in terms of substance abuse issues and mental health conditions:3,4,5

  • Men are more likely to use almost all substances, but women are just as likely to develop addiction.
  • Women tend to use and be affected by substances in different ways than men, such as needing to use less of a substance before they develop addiction.
  • Substance abuse disorders typically develop more quickly and present more severely in women.
  • Women experience more effects on their heart and blood vessels due to substance use.
  • Women have different substance abuse issues related to hormones, menstrual cycles, and pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Women who drink to get drunk often begin doing so at a later age than men.
  • Women who are involved in intimate partner violence have an increased risk of addiction.
  • Women who abuse substances appear more likely to suffer from panic attacks, anxiety, or depression.
  • Women may be more likely to go to the ER or die from the effects of certain substances or overdose.
  • Women are often affected more intensely by withdrawal symptoms and have increased cravings during withdrawal.
  • Women may be more likely to relapse after they have undergone treatment.
  • Women may be more likely to relapse when their male partners relapse or when they experience personal problems.
  • Women are more likely to encounter barriers to treatment than men, such as economic issues, family responsibilities, co-occurring disorders, or feelings of shame and embarrassment.

What Types of Drug & Alcohol Treatment Programs Are Available for Women?

Although evidence is unclear regarding its ultimate effectiveness when compared with mixed-gender programs, many women benefit from womans drug rehab.2 Some women feel more comfortable with members of the same gender. They may also benefit from programs that address common barriers to seeking treatment, such as childcare, family responsibilities, and the co-occurring burdens of work life.3

A women’s’ rehab program might consist of all or some of the following components:6

  • This helps you safely and comfortably stop using the substance so you can enter treatment.
  • Women’s inpatient treatment center. Residential rehab involves living at a residential facility for the duration of treatment. You receive round-the-clock care and monitoring and support. Residential treatment can be long-term (6-12 months) or short-term (an average of 90 days).
  • Outpatient rehab. In outpatient rehab treatment, you live at home but travel to a treatment center. You may participate in different levels of care, such as partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, or standard outpatient, which all offer different levels of intensity and structure.

Are There Women’s-Only Rehab Centers?

Yes, there are female-only rehab centers. These gender-specific programs can be beneficial for women who prefer to focus on their recovery with members of the same gender or who require the additional supportive services offered by many of these programs.

Women have plenty of options when it comes to choosing the type of rehab that they would like to attend. For example, there is free rehab available for those looking for low-cost options. There are even Christian & faith-based rehab programs for women who would like to integrate their faith’s practice with their recovery.

Each of American Addiction Centers’ rehab centers across the United States offer gender-specific rehab, or rehab programs designated specifically towards men and women. Take a look at one of our treatment centers below.

During the COVID-19 (aka coronavirus) pandemic AAC is available to answer questions about addiction and treatment options. Our Dallas treatment facility, Greenhouse Treatment Center, is open and accepting patients and has medical experts and a caring staff who will stand by you on your journey to recovery.

Do Drug & Alcohol Rehabs Treat Mental Health Issues?

Yes, many drug and alcohol rehab centers for women provide treatment for co-occurring mental health conditions and substance abuse issues. Remember that women are more likely to present with many different mental health issues than men. It is crucial to treat both disorders for treatment to be effective.7

Statistics on Drug Use & Women in the United States

  • The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports that among women with a substance use disorder, 2 in 5 women struggled with illicit drugs, 3 in 4 struggled with alcohol use, and 1 in struggled with both illicit drugs and alcohol.8
  • The same report shows that 32.1 million adult women had a mental health or substance use disorder.8
  • Women are less likely to use marijuana, but they may experience more impairment in spatial memory than men, experience more panic attacks and anxiety, and develop a quicker addiction.4
  • There was a significant increase in marijuana use and marijuana use disorder in adult women between 2015-2018.8
  • Women are more likely to be affected by the reinforcing effects of stimulants (like cocaine and methamphetamine). Women also report using these drugs for different reasons, such as to increase their levels of energy and decrease fatigue associated with multiple responsibilities.4
  • Women who use methamphetamine are more likely to become dependent on it.4
  • Women who use ecstasy/MDMA are more likely to experience hallucinogenic effects.4
  • Women are more likely to die from brain swelling due to MDMA use than men, with almost all reported cases of death occurring in young women.4
  • The 2018 NSDUH reports that 4.9 million adult women struggled with opioid misuse in the past year.
  • Compared to men, women who use heroin are younger when they start using it and are more likely to start using it if their partners do.4
  • Women may have a high rate of prescription opioid abuse because they appear to be more sensitive to pain or are more likely to suffer from chronic pain.4
  • From 2009-2016, opioid overdose deaths increased more rapidly for women than for men.4
  • Women who abuse alcohol have a 50-100% higher death rate from alcohol-related causes including suicide, alcohol-related accidents, heart disease, stroke, and liver disease.4

Frequently Asked Questions on Women’s Substance Abuse & Rehab

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