Every addiction story is different—just like every addict is different. However, there are a few factors that can make a big difference when considering the many available detox and rehab options. For instance, there are major differences in addiction between women and men, which stem from a variety of factors. There are also cultural, racial and ethnic considerations, with some demographics being more prone to addiction than others. Women have one-of-a-kind needs when entering rehab, and choosing a suitable facility is the first step towards a successful life of addiction management.
If you or someone you love is addicted to drugs or alcohol, and you are considering rehab, it’s paramount to pinpoint a facility and experts that specialize in the woman’s unique background and needs. Depending on an un-biased mediator or guide can help make this often overwhelming process a little bit easier. As you begin this journey, here are five factors to help you find the best drug addiction treatment specifically for women:
- Does the facility specialize in women, or is it a women-only facility? Regardless of sexual orientation, choosing a facility that specializes in women who are addicted to drugs or alcohol starts the rehabilitation process on the right path. It can also offer a seemingly “safer” environment (although all facilities should be safe) in which women feel more open to engaging with their recovery. There are certainly women who have found success in a co-ed facility, but this has the potential to introduce problems. These may include distractions, misogyny (amongst fellow rehabbers and, in unfortunate incidents, with male employees), and women feeling like they can’t or shouldn’t engage as much as they could.
- Check the credentials of the medical professionals. Laws can vary by state, and you want to make sure the medical professionals involved in patient rehab are certified, skilled and experienced in working with women rehabbers. In some cases, female patients are most comfortable talking to female counselors, therapists and other mental health professionals. One of the most common certifications is the CRC (Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor) Certification, although many professionals in rehab environments also hold advanced degrees. Keep in mind that rehabbers often reveal embarrassing and even shameful experiences related to addiction, and they should be as comfortable with their medical professionals as possible.
- Does the facility offer women-centric options? This can range from ensuring female sanitary supplies are readily available to featuring ways of replacing addiction with a new passion such as storytelling, taking dance classes, crochet work and more. Of course, the “passion projects” aren’t necessarily women-only, but a facility that caters to interests that intrigue women is key. Women, in general, are more invested in their interests, whether it’s a relationship or passion in a hobby. Plus, providing various outlets is a way to segue back into civilian life, making sure it’s as little of a shock to the system as possible.
- Consider the geographic setting. Where the facility is located isn’t dependent wholly on convenience. Often times, getting away from familiar regions can be the perfect motivation to move into a life of addiction management. Numerous studies tout the benefits of being near the ocean
- Select a facility with un-biased testimonials, reviews and reasonable success rates. A rehab facility should be well-established, but doesn’t necessarily have to be one of the oldest facilities in the country. Ask for testimonials, but the best way to gauge the quality of a facility is to seek out third-party review sites. You’ll also want to ask about success rates, but be careful—a 100 percent success rate is a big red flag. It’s extremely common for rehabbers to slip up and return to rehab in the future. After all, there’s no “cure” for addiction, just proper and safe lifelong management. Facility selection should also be based on gut feelings. If possible, visit the facility in person before committing to a program. Meet with the medical professionals who will be interacting with patients, check out bedrooms if it’s an in-patient facility, and bear in mind that this is one of the biggest decisions of a patient’s life.
Men and women certainly experience addiction differently. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, women are much more likely than men to become addicted to barbiturates (sleeping pills), and since women are more sensitive to pain than men they’re also more dependent on opioids (prescription and otherwise). MDMA produces heftier effects in women, and women more often report feeling depressed a few days after usage than men.