Percocet addiction drives young woman to residential rehab center

Addiction Treatment Differences for Women

What difference does it make if you’re a man or a woman?

Before treatment come the addictions. What difference does it make if you’re a man or a woman? Plenty, says the evidence. According to the Journal of Substance Abuse, women who are addicted to drugs use more frequently than men, use harder drugs than men, and use drugs for different reasons than men.

Why is this so?


Addiction does not discriminate by gender, but there is evidence that female substance abusers face different physiological and psychological challenges than men. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, women have many unique reasons they state they use substances, influenced by a variety of factors.

Women Are Different In the First Place

Women have a difference physical and emotional makeup, as well as gender-defined roles in most cases. These genetic and cultural factors cause addiction to worsen for many ladies, and prevent them from getting the help they need.

  • Sex – women’s biology alone has a great impact on how drugs affect their body, mind and emotions. For more information on whether a woman you know is abusing drugs, read our article Signs of Drug Abuse in Women here
  • Pregnancy – Drug abuse in pregnancy can cause newborn babies to come into the world with a physical addiction, as well as cause many birth defects and physical and other problems.
  • Gender Roles –  women are more likely to be caregivers, who spend much of their time meeting others’ needs instead of addressing their own.

Addiction Progression:

Women metabolize alcohol and drugs differently than men, so they become high or drunk more quickly and develop addictions sooner. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says that a woman who drinks the same amount of alcohol as a man, even in the same time-frame, will have a higher blood alcohol content than her male counterpart. Scientists believe this is related to female sex hormones. Also, when a man and woman have the same level of a substance in their bloodstream, the woman will experience a stronger effect of that substance.

Shame and Denial:

Women are caregivers by nature, so they tend to have a difficult time admitting when they need treatment. Parenting, marriage, and workplace responsibilities may also prevent them from getting help. A common objection from mothers or wives struggling with alcohol abuse:

“I can’t take time away from work or home to help myself. Everyone needs my help!”

Sometimes it takes a traumatic event for a lady to realize that her drug problem or drinking problem is serious enough to need help. It is common to see a woman struggle with a substance for years, waiting to get help, because her situation isn’t bad enough to require intervention at that time.

“It’s not that bad. I’m still taking care of my family, right?”

Shame is a powerful feeling that a person feels, saying there is something wrong with them. Many women feel that they don’t deserve to be helped, because of the bad decisions they have made. Maybe they feel that the bad things that have happened to them in life are their fault. Both of these statements are untrue, but the power of shame is its ability to convince us of the lie saying we don’t deserve to have a better life. Trauma counseling is very beneficial for ladies who need healing for the shame they’ve experienced.


The Need for Relationship:

Having been isolated in their addiction, women are less solitary and more communal in their approach to recovery. Life Transformation Recovery encourages relationship building through group therapy, activity therapy, and fellowship opportunities. Inpatient rehab in Arizona provides a great opportunity to establish some stability and strength before returning home to the family.

Family Concerns

Many pregnant women hesitate to find help for substance use disorder because it can be very difficult finding a drug rehab in Arizona that provides addiction treatment for ladies who are pregnant. Life Transformation Recovery does help pregnant women on a case-by-case basis at our substance abuse center in Prescott Valley, AZ.

Getting Help

Focused on the unique needs of women struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, Life Transformation Recovery optimizes treatment success by giving women the opportunity to address gender-specific issues, build a supportive network of female friends, and express themselves more openly than they could in a co-ed environment. Whether you were introduced to drugs by a friend or experimented with them on your own, there is absolutely no need to walk this path on your own.  To learn more about our women’s rehab program, call (844)582.3733 today.

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