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Is Rehab Different for Women Who Are Addicted to Alcohol?

Woman stands at bar after drinking too much and wishes she understood her addiction to alcohol better The short answer is yes, or rather, it should be. Not all treatment centers are created equal. Approaches differ, and rehab is as much a personal experience as it is a rigorous plan or program. Women are affected by alcohol abuse differently than men, and while alcohol addiction does not discriminate when it comes to it’s victims, the reasons behind why someone may become an alcoholic do depend on sex and gender. The following list is by no means complete, but it provides some important information for a woman or loved one of a woman who is struggling with an addiction to alcohol:

  • Women are less likely to become alcoholics than men, often making it difficult to determine if their drinking is out of control
  • Serious health complications such as liver disease present much more quickly in women than in men, mostly due to the difference in mass and water within a woman’s body compared to a man’s
  • Societal or cultural pressure is often the trigger that can lead to an unhealthy relationship with alcohol for women, as women are often expected to be a lot of different things at once. Beautiful, strong, kind, hard-working, nurturing, perfect. The list goes on, but with such high standards sometimes being applied to women, alcohol is unfortunately a common form of self-medicating
  • Emotional issues are difficult for both men and women for different reasons, but all too often to dull the nastier emotions women can turn to alcohol to numb particular emotions such as regret, fear and pain
  • Anxiety and depression, while common, can both be devastating psychological disorders if left untreated. Many women who aren’t provided with, or don’t have access to, proper medical care can and will self-medicate with alcohol. The worst part being, this is often not intended or desired by the individual.
  • Abusive relationships can lead to alcoholism in women as they take such a monstrous toll on a woman’s self-esteem, emotions, ego, mind and physical health
  • Being in a relationship with a partner who is an alcoholic or abuses alcohol can influence a woman to do the same. There are a number of reasons this may come about, such as wanting to spend time with their partner, not knowing what else to do, or numbing the pain of seeing a loved one drinking too much

Is Rehab Different For a Woman Struggling With Alcohol Addiction?

Yes and no. The process is very similar regardless of gender or sex, but there are a few gender-specific approaches that a good treatment center may use when guiding a woman through rehab towards the goal of sobriety:

  1. Women thrive in a rehab environment catered to their needs
  2. The best rehab centers are safe places for women that are conducive to recovery
  3. Gender-specific group counselling sessions help empower women, which is a cornerstone of Sobriety Home’s approach to treating alcoholism
  4. Individualized care cannot be given more importance, and the gender of the client is a major factor when developing a personalized approach to treating alcohol abuse in women
  5. Because many women who are treated for alcohol abuse and addiction are mothers, Sobriety Home takes into consideration the fear of losing one’s children due to alcohol addiction. This is perhaps the greatest roadblock mothers will face, often preventing them from entering rehab and continuing on with the vicious cycle of alcohol abuse. Sobriety Home takes this very seriously and our highly trained staff have worked with many women in this situation before.

Stigma remains to this day regarding the relationship between women and alcohol. Somehow many people believe it “un-ladylike” or are more disappointed in a woman for becoming an alcoholic. The fact is, alcoholism isn’t picky when it comes to it’s victims. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, affluent or working class, black or white. Alcohol addiction can affect just about anybody, but because women are faced with their own unique set of challenges in life, it is important that any woman or loved one of a woman struggling with alcohol abuse to seek out a treatment program that recognizes these challenges and approaches them in a healthy and innovative way.