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Drug Rehab for Women

Last updated on: Friday, 8 March 2024

Drug rehab centers for women in Canada provide specific forms of counseling and therapy for women struggling with addiction. These facilities can be suitable for some people as they can help them focus on getting better. I previously worked in a co-ed rehab, and the mix of men and women was challenging for some of our people. It was distracting as dealing with addiction needs complete focus.


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Drug rehab centers for women offer gender-specific treatment for women struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Addiction treatment for women deals with the unique addiction-related needs of women. Drug rehab programs help them deal with past trauma, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and addiction within a safe and structured environment. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are more men than women in treatment for drug addiction. However, women are more likely to seek treatment for dependence on sedatives such as benzodiazepines and sleep medications.

Additionally, more women have been seeking treatment for heroin addiction in recent decades. Drug rehab centers for women are equipped to manage withdrawal symptoms, detox, and counselling that is designed to address the needs of women struggling with addiction. Overall, drug addiction progresses differently for women than men. Women often have a shorter history of using certain substances like cocaine or crack cocaine, opiates, and alcohol. However, there do tend to be more serious medical complications with female drug users.

Moreover, women tend to struggle with more behavioural, psychological, and social problems caused by their drug addiction. Problems become worse because women show a quicker progression from first using the substance to developing dependence. Drug rehab centers for women also help pregnant women addicted to drugs. Many women who are pregnant or have young children do not seek treatment or do not finish the drug rehab program they are attending. Childcare becomes an issue, yet some drug rehab centers for women offer childcare services.

Overall, drug rehab for women employs approaches that consider the context of a woman’s life. For example, this could include social and economic environment, relationships with loved one’s, peers, support systems, and the impact of culture and gender. Certain factors contribute to substance abuse in women. Women who are addicted to drugs often struggle with stress, grief, abusive relationships, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. Women-only drug rehab centers acknowledge these factors and provide the necessary treatment to address underlying issues.

When is Women-Only Drug Rehab the Best Option?

Women-only drug rehab is an excellent option for any woman struggling with addiction, regardless of severity and stage of drug abuse. There are significant differences between men and women struggling with addiction. Women face unique issues in part influenced by sex based on biology and gender differences based on culturally defined roles for men and women. When considering drug rehab options, gender-specific is an excellent option for women because treatment centers offer programs tailored to the needs of women.

Women who abuse drugs face different medical issues requiring specific medical attention during treatment. For example, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, women who use drugs can have issues related to hormones, menstrual cycle, fertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause. Psychologically, many women choose to use drugs for reasons of weight control, fighting exhaustion, coping with pain, and attempting to self-treat mental health problems.

Drug rehab centers for women are good options because women use substances differently than men. For example, women use smaller amounts of certain drugs for less time before they become addicted. Treatment centers utilize counselling and therapy to address these issues that women face. In addition, women can respond to illicit or licit drug differences and may have more drug cravings and more likely to relapse. Drug detox and aftercare support are designed to help women manage cravings and maintain sobriety.

Women are also more sensitive to some drugs because of hormones, and women who use drugs may also experience more physical effects on their heart and blood vessels. Medical care at a women-only drug rehab center is there to address these problems. Drug rehab for women is important because women are more likely to go to the emergency room or die from overdose or other effects of certain drugs. Women are also more likely to have panic attacks and struggle with anxiety or depression.

How Do Women-Only Substance Abuse Treatment Centers Operate?

The drug rehabilitation process at women-only drug rehab centers involves the initial assessment, drug detox, residential or outpatient treatment, and aftercare support. The first step involves the initial assessment to plan the treatment process and determine what methods of counselling and therapy are required. Drug rehab for women begins with drug detox to manage withdrawal cravings and symptoms. Drug detox is essential, and typically the extent of withdrawal and severity of withdrawal symptoms determines what method of drug detox is needed. Drug rehab centers for women are also equipped to help pregnant women through detox and transition to counselling or therapy.

Following drug detox, the next step involves therapy and counselling. It is important that treatment for drug addiction with women progresses differently than for men. For example, counselling and therapy could be addressing trauma caused by violence that led to drug addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than one in three women have experienced physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner. Countless problems involving drug addiction begin because of intimate partner violence and coping with stress. Behavioural therapies are typically used to help patients and include 12-step facilitation, cognitive behavioural therapy, contingency management, and family-based counselling.

Following the completion of drug rehab, the next step involves aftercare support to prevent relapse from sobriety. Common aftercare includes sober living homes for women, 12-step meetings, and peer support groups. Drug rehabilitation for women can involve 12-step programs, non-step step treatment, holistic approaches, and faith-based drug rehab. Drug rehabilitation should be well-rounded and support a patient physically, mentally, and spiritually. However, no one form of drug rehab is right for every person, and treatment settings and interventions should meet the needs of the patient.

What Are the Alternatives to Women-Only Drug Rehabilitation?

Alternatives to women-only drug rehab are coed drug rehab centers. Other alternatives would include individual or group counselling, separate from a drug rehab program. Drug rehabilitation is the same at a coed treatment center, but some may feel more comfortable at a drug rehab program for women. Women abuse drugs for different reasons and are more likely to be focussed around self-medicating for psychological or social pressures and problems. The counselling and therapy at a women-only drug rehab program address these issues specifically.

In addition, relationship trauma and family or home situations are more likely to have an effect on a women’s decision to use drugs. Women are also more hesitant to attend drug rehab because of child care needs or fear of losing their children. Coed drug rehab centers are effective, but women-only programs offer more services tailored to the needs of women. It can be important for many women in treatment to receive help at a facility that is meant for women only.

Drug Use Trends Among Women in Canada

According to the National Treatment Indicators Report, across the different jurisdictions in Canada, men accounted for most treatment admissions at around 63%, while women made up around 35% of all treatment admissions. According to some research, since the 1970s, studies have found that Canadian women drinkers consume less alcohol and drink less frequently than men who consume alcohol. However, alcohol is the most common substance used by women, and its use has been on the rise over the past decade.

Additionally, women and older adults are the two groups most likely to be prescribed benzodiazepines and are the most vulnerable to adverse effects. Not only are women almost twice as likely as men to be prescribed benzodiazepines, but they are also often prescribed these drugs to cope with difficult life circumstances. Regarding illicit drug use, men are nearly twice as likely as women to report the use of any illicit drugs. Overall, women are particularly vulnerable to the physical effects of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

Ask a Professional

  • What is a drug rehab center for women?

    Drug rehab centers for women focus on treating the unique problems that women face while addicted to drugs or alcohol. For example, this could be helping women who have been sexually assaulted or have endured pregnancies while addicted to drugs or alcohol.

  • Why choose a drug rehab center for women?

    Women endure different mental and emotional challenges than men while addicted to drugs or alcohol. A female-focused drug rehab center allows each client to feel safe and comfortable discussing private gender-focused topics. In addition, it will enable them to feel safe in groups of their peers.

  • What types of drug rehab programs are women only?

    There are various substance use treatment options for women. For example, this includes outpatient and residential drug rehab programs, individual or group counseling, private clinics, faith-based or Christian programs, detox centers, and sober living homes.

  • Want to know more?

    The questions from DrugRehab.ca’s “Ask a Professional” are answered by Nickolaus Hayes. If you need further clarification on any of the questions above or have any other questions you can contact him directly at N.hayes@drugrehab.ca.




More Information

Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.