Do Women Benefit Best from Gender-Responsive Drug Rehab Treatment?

Do women require different drug treatment programs than men? According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHA) that might not be such a bad idea.

SAMHA  has developed a new treatment protocol targeting female addicts called Substance Abuse Treatment has been focusing on gender specific research and best practices in substance abuse treatment. Their new Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) focuses on providing effective, modern treatment options for women recovering from drug addiction.

What Does Gender-Responsive Drug Rehab Treatment Involve?

The TIP provides important clinical and administrative information to help drug treatment personnel including program administrators, counselors and clinical supervisors apply the best treatment options and strategies based on the specific treatment needs of female patients. It also provides a guide to additional resource material if more information on the topic is needed.

According to TIP, women respond best when drug rehab treatment is comprehensive involving the different aspects of their lives from a social and environmental standpoint while also addressing their relationships with immediate family members, extended family, friends and other support networks. Research has also shown that women in treatment experience more positive outcomes when their treatment program includes supportive therapy, onsite childcare and children’s services and other such treatment services.

Female Addiction Patterns Revealed

Many women report stress and troubled relationships as major triggers that can initiate early drug use.  A large majority of women who use drugs are grappling with relationships, issues surrounding relationship status or have a partner who abuses drugs .  Even though studies show that more men abuse drugs than women, it also reveals that women are just as likely to develop and addiction after experimenting.

One problem that must be addressed in regards to female drug use is the issue of using while pregnant. Using/abusing drugs while pregnant can cause serious harm to the unborn child. TIP encourages mandatory screening for substance abuse as part of prenatal care.

Treating Addiction and Co-Occurring Mental Disorders

Women needing drug rehab treatment are more likely than men to also have diagnosed mental disorders such as eating disorders, post partum depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress and other mood disorders. When mental disorders go untreated, it significantly increases the chances for relapse. It is important to continue treating any known mental disorders in addition to providing a drug rehab treatment program to provide the best chance at a successful recovery.