For many decades, addiction research only looked at the effects of drugs and alcohol on men. It wasn’t until the 1990s when organizations throughout the United States began requiring the inclusion of women in research studies. Researchers quickly found that men and women not only respond differently to drugs and alcohol, but they have different needs when it comes to substance abuse treatment.

Men and women are affected by addiction differently. As a result, the two genders may have different needs in regard to addiction treatment. In order for substance abuse treatment to be effective, it must consider and treat the specific biological and sociological needs of the individual. There are many ways addiction treatment for women centers in Massachusetts address the unique needs of women to promote a full recovery.

How Does Addiction Affect Women Differently Than Men?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, women use drugs differently, respond to drugs differently, and have unique obstacles in recovery compared to men.[1] Although men are more likely to abuse illicit drugs and alcohol, female sex hormones can make women more sensitive to certain drugs, causing women to get addicted faster while using smaller amounts of drugs than men. Other ways addiction affects women differently than men include:[2,3]

  • Women may be more likely to experience mental health issues like panic attacks, anxiety, and depression
  • Women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence, and victims of domestic violence are at an increased risk of substance abuse
  • Women may be more likely to abuse substances in response to trauma
  • Women are more likely to enter treatment through child welfare systems or mental health facilities whereas men are more likely to enter through the criminal justice system
  • Women who carry children can harm their pregnancy by abusing substances

When providing treatment for addiction, treatment needs to consider the needs of the individual and provide care accordingly. As a result, it is essential for Massachusetts rehab centers to address the needs of women during addiction treatment.

Addressing The Needs of Women During Addiction Treatment

Since men and women are affected differently by addiction, both genders have unique needs when it comes to substance abuse treatment. Ways addiction treatment centers in Massachusetts address the needs of women are:

Separate Living Quarters During Inpatient Rehab

Most addiction treatment programs are co-ed, however, residential programs have separate living quarters for men and women. This keeps the different genders separated from one other in their living situations to promote safer, more comfortable environments. Women are not expected to share a room, apartment, or home with men. They should also be housed in an area that is far enough away from the men’s housing so the two genders cannot mingle.

Cultivating a Safe Environment in Co-Ed Settings

Although many group therapy sessions involve both men and women, addiction treatment centers in Massachusetts help create a safe, supportive environment for women. The goal is for women to not feel intimidated by men or unsafe around them. All therapy sessions are facilitated by a licensed counselor who makes sure all members of the group feel safe, supportive, and comfortable. Treatment facilities should take every step possible to make sure all spaces are safe for women.

addiction treatment for women

Get The Care You Need and Deserve

Woburn Addiction Treatment is a leader in the addiction treatment field, with proven success in facilitating long-term recovery. Our team of top clinical & medical experts specializes in treating addiction coupled with mental illness, ensuring that each person receives individualized care. Call us – we’re available 24/day, 7 days/week.

(781) 622-9190

Gender-Specific Women’s Groups

Some addiction treatment programs may offer weekly gender-specific women’s groups. The women at the facility come together to participate in a group session without men. Women’s only group sessions cater specifically to the needs of women suffering from addiction. A few examples of topics that may be discussed in these groups are:

  • Relationships
  • Motherhood/parenting
  • Sex
  • Trauma
  • Self-esteem
  • Coping skills
  • Grief and loss
  • Stress management

Trauma-Informed Care

Anyone can be the victim of trauma, but women are more likely to enter treatment sooner after beginning to abuse substances to cope with a traumatic event. Trauma can affect the way a woman thinks, feels, and acts in all kinds of situations. Trauma-informed care aims to help patients learn how trauma affects their behaviors, work through their trauma, and avoid re-traumatization.

Mental Health Counseling

Women tend to enter treatment with more severe clinical and mental health profiles than men.[3] As a result, it is vital that addiction treatment programs provide women with mental health evaluation and counseling. Mental health counseling helps patients understand their mental health condition, recognize triggers, find appropriate medication, and learn effective coping techniques.

Resources for Women’s Health

Substance abuse can affect a woman’s health in more ways than one. For example, women are more likely to struggle with eating disorders than men. Women affected by eating disorders may need nutritional support and ED recovery services.

On the other hand, drug and alcohol abuse can affect hormones and menstruation. Women who suffer from addiction often experience irregular or missed menstrual cycles. Further, some have neglected their reproductive health and checkups due to their addiction and lack of adequate healthcare. As a result, its important that addiction treatment centers provide women with women’s health resources in the form of:

  • Physical examinations
  • Referrals to gynecologist/OBGYN
  • Reproductive healthcare
  • Nutritional support

Find Help Today

Although the rehabilitation programs here at Woburn Addiction Treatment are co-ed, we strive to meet the unique needs of women by considering their experiences, needs, and beliefs. We create a safe, nurturing environment and discuss various topics that affect women’s lives. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, we can help. Call now to speak with a trusted addiction specialist about your treatment options.


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