Addiction treatment for women

What kinds of addiction treatment work best for women? We review outpatient, inpatient and women only addiction treatment here. Then, we invite your questions about addiction treatment for women at the end.

minute read

Like many things in life, dealing with addiction and approaching addiction treatment is different for varied populations. Studies have shown that it’s more likely for men to drink and do drugs, while women are more likely to develop substance abuse problems but are slightly less likely to seek treatment. What are some barriers to treatment for women? And what are the treatment protocols? We review here, and invite your questions at the end.

Women and addiction treatment 

Women and men also face different hurdles during treatment. For instance, since women are typically the more nurturing of the two sexes, they are usually more focused on taking care of others rather than focusing on themselves. When it comes to women and addiction treatment, there are several options to choose from. Some of the more common types of addiction treatment women can choose from are listed below.

TREATMENT 1: Outpatient addiction treatment – Women who are unable to take time away from their families and careers are often best suited for outpatient addiction treatment. Some outpatient facilities even offer childcare, so mothers can attend addiction counseling sessions each week. However, while outpatient addiction treatment is often more affordable and convenient, they may not be enough for women with severe addictions.

TREATMENT 2:  Traditional inpatient addiction treatment – Traditional inpatient addiction treatment involves both women and men residing together and going through addiction treatment together. This usually lasts anywhere from a month to a year. Unfortunately, these types of facilities are not always equipped to deal with the unique situations that women may face during addiction treatment. While some may have beds to accommodate children, many inpatient rehabs are designed for the individual and not the family.

TREATMENT 3: Women only addiction treatment – Addiction treatment facilities that cater only to women are often a great choice for women struggling with a substance abuse problem. These facilities are sympathetic to the struggles that women face both during and after addiction treatment. Many women will also find that they are better able to focus on treatment in an environment with other women, which isn’t always the case when in an environment with both men and women.

Female drug addiction treatment

Female drug addiction treatment is not all that different than other types of addiction treatment. And, it’s also fit for women in all ages,  although the elderly as well as women who are young adults require special care and approach. It requires dedication and hard work, for instance. Addiction treatment is a long process with a few very distinct steps, including screening and assessment, detox, actual treatment, and aftercare.

1. Screening and assessment

A woman may be screened for a substance abuse disorder at a routine physical or if she exhibits signs of a substance abuse problem. An addiction specialist can make a positive diagnosis during a more in-depth assessment in which the specialist asks a woman a series of questions about her substance abuse.

2. Detoxification

If a woman is diagnosed with a substance use disorder, the next step is usually the detoxification process, or detox. This is the process in which the body rids itself of any remaining drugs or alcohol, and it usually results in uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. A woman can go through detox at home or in a medical facility, such as a rehab center or hospital.

3. Actual treatment

Psychological and behavioral treatments form the basis for addiction treatment, while pharmacological interventions are prescribed on a case-by-case basis. The type of addiction treatment that a woman chooses will generally depend on her individual situation. Inpatient treatment can last up to a year or more, and outpatient treatment can last for several weeks or years. During this step of addiction treatment, a woman will typically attend a number of individual, group, and family therapy sessions, either daily or weekly.

4. Addiction treatment aftercare

The last step of addiction treatment is aftercare. This sometimes involves a stay in a halfway house, and it almost always involves weekly or monthly outpatient counseling sessions. For some women, addiction treatment after care can last for several years after they complete their initial addiction treatment.

Addicted women

Finding addiction treatment for women is not always difficult, but it can be embarrassing, confusing, or frustrating for some. Keep in mind, though, that there are a number of different places that addicted women can turn to for addiction treatment.

Medical professionals, such as family doctors and psychologists, are not only willing to assess women for substance abuse disorders, but also give them a referral to addiction treatment. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also has an online addiction treatment facility locator at Simply search for treatment facilities in your area and filter the results to show only those that specialize in treating addicted women.

Female addiction treatment barriers

Everyone faces obstacles throughout addiction treatment, and women are no exception. In fact, women face unique problems that are specific to their own demographic. Aside from the typical barriers, such as finances and careers, female addiction treatment barriers may include the following:

  • Parental and family obligations
  • Unsupportive romantic partners
  • Untreated mental illness
  • Feelings of shame and embarrassment

Female addiction questions

Women who are ready to overcome their addictions have a number of options. The process of finding and going through addiction treatment, however, can still be a tough and confusing time, especially for pregnant women. We’re happy to answer questions you have and address any concerns before you seek help. Just leave them in the comments section below, and we’ll get back you as soon as we can.

Reference Sources: HAZELDEN: Drug rehabilitation, alcohol addiction treatment for women
SAMHSA: TIP 51: Substance Abuse Treatment for Women
NCBI: Chapter 7: Substance Abuse Treatment for Women
NIAAA: Gender and Use of Substance Abuse Treatment Services
NIH: DrugFacts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
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.
I am ready to call
i Who Answers?