Research has found that addiction occurs more rapidly in women
than in men, and women are more likely to have serious medical problems
because of their addiction. Women who are addicted are also more likely
than men to be single parents, or to have young children.
women are also more likely than addicted men to be extremely
uneducated, and unable to maintain a steady job. Unfortunately for a
long time, treatment programs did not really address women’s specific
problems and tried to treat them the way men were treated.
Some of the more successful women substance abuse treatment programs
have two common characteristics. The first is that they are all-female
centers. Because so many women who are substance abusers have a history
of being raped, in violent relationships, or being sexually assaulted
as children, being in an environment where there are only women, makes
it easier for them to talk about what has happened to them. The second
is that the program addresses women specific needs such as
transportation, childcare and teaching parenting skills. Studies on
women who have received treatment from these types of programs show
that they are less likely to relapse, have less of a risk of death,
better relationships with their children, and higher job
Psychosocial issues with women are also very different from men.
Women’s emotional and psychological health is very dependent upon
creating and maintaining good relationships. When there are healthy
relationships in a woman’s life, she feels greater self-worth, vitality
and empowerment, however, women who have grown up in abusive homes, or
who have been in a number of abusive relationships, become disconnected
and lose self-esteem, and empowerment. Thus women’s treatment programs
should provide women with ways to create healthy relationships with
other patients, counselors and staff. It should also provide them with
ways they can improve outside relationships such as with children or
other family that they can trust.
Research and new programs are just starting that better help address
women and substance abuse. Treatment for women is better understood
now, providing more women with the tools they need to become sober