The causes of psychiatric disorders and addictions and the way women experience them are usually very different from how the disorders manifest in men. Because of that, it is often more beneficial for women to receive gender-specific treatment.
As a result, more and more women’s treatment centers are available to offer specialized attention to and therapy for the specific needs women face in treatment.
Targeted women’s treatment is beneficial for the following reasons:
- Women experiencing psychiatric disorders and addiction face many additional risks and challenges, including physical and sexual abuse, financial and/or sexual exploitation, unplanned pregnancies, and parenting issues.
- The trauma many of these women have experienced could result in co-occurring disorders, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, or Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
- A good women’s treatment center will offer competent care for these co-occurring disorders, many of which are much more common in females.
- Women have a much greater tendency than men to have developed an addiction to cope with those traumas.
- Because addiction, trauma, and psychiatric disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder are often connected in women, treatment centers must develop comprehensive programs that can treat all of these issues simultaneously.
- A good women’s treatment center will provide appropriate trauma and PTSD therapy by providing skilled counselors or therapists who can explore past traumas and possible contributing factors to addiction.
- Women tend to recover better when they connect with others, not in isolation. Group therapy can help women to develop a social support network as they help each other recover.
- Women’s treatment centers must be sensitive to the unique needs of lesbians, discrimination and homophobia, sexual identity issues, and possible shame.
- Women’s bodies react to substance abuse differently, so treatment centers can help ensure safe detoxification, which may or may not include medication.
- Many females struggling with substance abuse or a psychiatric disorder are primary caregivers who deal with parenting issues. Female facilities may include family, individual, or play therapy; education about alcoholism and addiction as a family disease; and parenting education.
Researchers are learning that substance abuse and psychiatric disorders have unique causes, disease progression, and treatment needs in women, requiring specialized treatment. Women’s treatment centers are specifically geared toward this complex combination of psychosocial traits, physiological differences, and barriers to treatment that women face as they recover from their psychiatric disorder or addiction.