Addiction treatment for women and children

Addiction treatment programs for women with children must be able to cater to the needs of both the mothers and children. Read more about their options, here.

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Women and children and addiction treatment

There often comes a time in an addicted mother’s life to make a life-changing choice – either get help for her addiction or lose her children. Unfortunately, when it comes to women and children and addiction, treatment can seem out of reach. Getting addiction treatment while trying to be a parent is difficult, if not impossible, for many women. Addiction treatment programs for women with children must be able to cater to the needs of both the mothers and children. This typically includes addiction counseling, mental health therapy, and parenting classes for mothers, along with supervision, medical and mental health care, and education for children.

Sadly, not many addiction treatment facilities are equipped or ready for this task, which is why many addicted women and their children never have the chance to get the help they need. Some determined women with children, though, have been able to successfully go through addiction treatment and maintain or regain custody of their children. These mothers typically use one or more of the following types of addiction treatment.

Outpatient addiction treatment

For many women and children, outpatient addiction treatment is one of the best options. It does not require a mother to reside in ad addiction treatment facility, but rather requires her to attend addiction therapy sessions each week. Women with severe addictions, however, may find that outpatient treatment may not be as effective. There is also a higher chance of relapse with outpatient treatment.

Inpatient addiction treatment

Generally, inpatient addiction treatment is more effective than outpatient treatment, since it requires recovering addicts to reside in treatment facilities. This nearly eliminates the chances that a woman will relapse, and provides women with a safe, substance-free environment where they can focus on recovery. Unfortunately, many inpatient treatment facilities don’t allow women to bring children with them. This not only creates a child care problem, but also creates emotional distress for both mother and child and increases the chances that a w will drop out of treatment.

Partial inpatient addiction treatment

A hybrid between outpatient and inpatient addiction treatment, partial inpatient addiction treatment allows a woman to still reside in her own home with her children. However, she is still required to spend several hours each day in addiction treatment. This may be a good option for mothers of school-age children, but mothers with children not in school may still find it difficult.

Family-based treatment

For many women and children, family-based treatment is the best option. These types of treatment programs understand the problems that mothers face when they need addiction treatment. Family-based outpatient addiction facilities will usually offer child care on-site, A handful of family-based inpatient addiction treatment facilities around the country also offer beds for both women and their children, allowing the children to stay with their mothers during treatment. These options greatly increase the chances that women with children will seek and stay in addiction treatment. Most of these facilities also offer other social services, such as parenting classes and vocational services.

Women and children drug addiction treatment

The basics for women and children drug addiction treatment are typically the same as other types of traditional addiction treatment programs. Since both women and their children need care in family-based addiction treatment programs, however, extra components are usually involves.

1. Assessment

A general assessment of a woman, her children, and their overall situation is usually the first step. At this time, an addiction specialist will evaluate the mother and an experienced child care specialist will evaluate any children in the situation. Based on the individual situation, a care plan will be created, which will include the type and duration of addiction treatment needed.

2. Detox

Before a woman can enter treatment, she must first be completely free of drugs or alcohol. Detox and withdrawal generally lasts anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks. During this time, children may be able to stay with their mothers. Since this is often a very stressful and uncomfortable time for an addict, though, it’s sometimes in the best interest of both mother and child if the children are placed in the care of a relative, close friend, or child care facility.

3. Treatment

Actual treatment for women and children in addiction treatment will vary. It generally includes individual and group addiction therapy for the mother, and family therapy for the mothers and children. Both mother and child may also need to undergo therapy or counseling for mental or emotional trauma.

4. Child care and parenting classes

One of the most important components for women and children in addiction treatment is child care and parenting classes. In family-based addiction treatment, children are cared for by licensed child care professionals while the women are in addiction therapy sessions. Women are also usually required to take parenting classes, which are meant to hone their parenting skills and help them cope with the stress of being a parent.

5. Aftercare

Recovery from addiction is a long slow process and doesn’t end with the completion of an addiction treatment program. Aftercare is a crucial component of addiction recovery. Women and children in addiction treatment aftercare programs will usually need to continue outpatient care visits, but on a less frequent basis. They may also be able to reside in a transitional living house for a period of time, which gives them a safe and drug-free place to live while they adjust to their new life.

Women and children addiction treatment barriers

Unfortunately for women and their children, addiction treatment barriers are numerous and difficult to overcome. Even women who are truly ready to get help for their addictions will often find that they are unable to due to various reasons.

Some of the most common women and children addiction treatment barriers include:

  • Lack of child care during treatment
  • Fear of  losing custody of their children
  • No insurance
  • Financial barriers
  • Inability to find a suitable treatment program

Addicted women and children

For many addicted women with children, finding addiction treatment that’s sympathetic to the needs of a parent can be quite difficult. The majority of addiction treatment programs do not have the resources to care for children. Many programs focus on treating addicted women, and children are seen as distractions. Addicted women, however, can still find treatment that still allows them to be parents – they simply need to know who to ask and where to look.

Doctors and other medical professionals will often be able to addicted women and children in the right direction. They may also be able to give a struggling referral to a local family-based addiction treatment facility. The same is true of hospitals, community clinics, and similar facilities. Non-profit groups may also be able to help addicted women and children.

Addicted women with children can also use the substance abuse treatment facility locator on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website. Simply search for local facilities, click “Add Services”, and under “Special Programs”, check the box for “Residential beds for client’s children”.

Addicted women and children addiction questions

Struggling with a substance abuse problem is one of the hardest things different populations have to deal with. It’s also one of the worst times in an addicted woman’s life. For addicted women and children, questions and concerns are inevitable. If you or a loved one is a mother struggling with an addiction, we urge you to seek help as soon as possible. However, if you have concerns or want to share your experience, don’t hesitate to leave your comments below. We strive to help all of our readers understand their addiction and treatment.

Reference Sources: Gateway: Women and Children
NCBI: Residential Treatment for Parents and Their Children: The Village Experience
N.C. Department of Health and Human Services: Women’s and Children’s Substance Abuse Inititives What are you looking for?
Sunrise House: Mother ^ Me Residential Treatment Program
The WHITE HOUSE: Women and Treatment
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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