Addiction Treatment

For many women, the first step towards recovery is to acknowledge the struggle with substance dependence. The next step will be to find substance abuse treatment for women that can help restore their overall health, well-being, and happiness.

There are multiple substance abuse treatment options available at our women’s treatment center. Programs will range from intensive inpatient therapy to outpatient counseling. Various therapies are useful for different types of drug and alcohol addictions. After treatment is completed, it is highly recommended to continue reinforcing the lessons that we learn in rehab by enrolling in sober living and aftercare programs.

substance abuse treatment for women

Addiction is a complex disease that will affect many areas of a woman’s life. 19.5 million women (15.4%) ages 18 or older have used illicit drugs in the past year. Compared with men, women also experience significantly shorter time between first trying alcohol and the onset of significant alcohol-related problems (as compared with men). 

Though the thought of getting treatment might feel scary – it doesn’t have to. You just need to find an option that addresses your needs as a woman and works for your life. 

What is Drug or Alcohol Addiction?

Substance addiction is a chronic disease that is characterized by compulsive or uncontrollable drug-seeking behavior. Individuals with drug addiction will continue to use drugs despite the harmful results and Meds News describes this pattern as losing self-control.

Addiction can cause changes in the brain, which can be long-lasting consequences. These changes in the brain may lead to destructive behaviors seen in individuals who abuse. Drug addiction is also a relapsing disease, meaning individuals find themselves returning to drug use after an attempt to quit using.

The path to substance abuse and addiction will begin with a voluntary act of consuming drugs. But over time, an individual’s ability to choose not to use will become compromised. Seeking and using drugs will become more compulsive. This is mostly due to the effects of long-term drug use on the brain’s function. 

Substance addiction will affect parts of the brain that involve reward and motivation, learning and memory, and control over behavior. Addiction is a disease that affects both behavior and the mind.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

Behavioral Signs

  • Obsession to use 
  • Denial of addiction 
  • Hiding drug use
  • Loss of control
  • Disregarding harmful effects

Physical Signs

  • Insomnia
  • Hygiene suffering
  • Large or small pupils
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Slowed physical coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Bloodshot eyes

Psychological Signs

  • Lacking motivation
  • Often irritable or angry
  • Anxiousness
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Change in personality 
  • Inattentiveness
  • Mentally withdrawing from people 

Symptoms of Addiction 

  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Trembling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Recognizing the signs of addiction is the first step in getting help. These reasons make it critical to know the signs of addiction.

Substances That Often Require Addiction Treatment

Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder (often referred to as alcoholism) is a pattern of alcohol use that involves no control of alcohol consumption. Other issues will include being preoccupied with consuming alcohol, using alcohol, knowing problems it causes, drinking more to get the same effect. Withdrawal symptoms will come next when alcohol consumption is suddenly halted.

substance abuse treatment for women

Unhealthy alcohol consumption will include any amount that puts your health or safety at risk. This will also include binge drinking, which is a pattern of drinking when individuals consume 4-5 drinks within two hours. 

Alcohol addiction occurs when individuals consume too much alcohol for too long, and the effect starts changing brain patterns. Altering the brain waves associated with pleasure and judgment may result in craving alcohol to restore those good feelings or to reduce the negative ones.

Women are often more susceptible to the effects of alcohol as their bodies hold much less water and metabolize alcohol at a slower rate. Women are also more likely to consume alcohol when dealing with stress or other negative emotions. 

Heroin Use Disorder

Heroin use disorder happens once the drug has entered the brain rapidly and binds to the opioid receptors on cells associated with feelings of pain and pleasure. Individuals who use heroin continually will eventually need higher doses to feel the same effects. This continued use can cause addiction, and suddenly stopping can cause withdrawal.

Heroin addiction is most common in the U.S. This is due to the multiple forms of opioid painkillers that individuals often get addicted to first. Heroin is a cheaper alternative and contains the same active ingredient that produces the high.  

Opioids work by shutting off the signals in the brain to give users the feeling of no pain, happiness, energy, and euphoria. Long term use will change the brain’s receptors to continuously crave that feeling making it one of the most highly addictive substances amongst individuals of all ages.

Cocaine Use Disorder

Cocaine use disorder happens when individuals use the stimulant drug frequently and often. Cocaine makes the users feel euphoric, energetic, and mentally alert. The constant craving for these feelings makes it highly addictive, where long-term use can cause mental and physical problems.

Cocaine is a potent central nervous system stimulant that will interfere with the reabsorption of dopamine, a chemical in the brain associated with mood and pleasure. The resulting buildup of dopamine will contribute to the high that characterizes cocaine usage. The stimulant will directly affect the brain’s function, and long-term addiction will lead to extensive physiological and psychological problems for individuals of all ages.

Methamphetamine Use Disorder

Methamphetamine is a street drug that stimulates the brain, giving users hyperactive energy. Meth is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed to the majority of the body, which includes the central nervous system. 

Methamphetamines are some of the more addictive substances in the world, with many individuals addicted, stating they had become hooked after only one use. Women tend to become addicted quicker to meth as they have shown to be vulnerable to the reinforcing affects. 

Methamphetamine is extremely addictive partially because of the hyper stimulated effects it has on the brain. When meth use is discontinued, the addict will begin to experience the inability to feel pleasure, which may lead to relapse. This dangerous cycle can lead a meth addict to suffer from brain damage and damage to internal organs.

Prescription Drug Abuse 

Prescription drug addiction is a chronic brain disease that frequently happens from consistent use for an extended period. This causes compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite the harmful effects on the individual user and the ones surrounding them. Prescription drug abuse can lead to changes in how the brain normally functions. 

substance abuse treatment for women Prescription drugs are given for multiple reasons, to individuals of all ages. When individuals start taking more than the recommended dosage, tolerance is built, and more prescription drugs are required to feel the same effect. After long term use, suddenly stopping will make the brain start craving the drug, which confirms addiction has occurred. 

For most, the decision for individuals to take prescription drugs is voluntary. But over time, changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse will affect individual self-control and the ability to make some decisions. 

The two more commonly abused prescription drugs are Opioids and Benzodiazepines:


Opioids are prescription medications given by doctors to treat persistent or severe pain. Opioids will attach to proteins called opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Once taken, opioids will block the pain messages sent from the body to the brain. While opioids can effectively relieve pain, they carry a high risk of addiction. The risk of addiction is extremely great when opioids are used to manage chronic pain over a long period.  

And opioid addiction may be present when your brain and body start believing that the drug is necessary for survival. Individuals start needing more medication to relieve pain. Tolerance is built from long-term use, which can ultimately result in addiction. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, women abuse prescription opioids more often than men. Another study found that women were significantly more likely than men to hoard unused medications and engage in polysubstance abuse (use other substances) to enhance the effects of prescription opioids.

Several names and types of prescribed opioids include:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Morphine
  • Oxymorphone
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl

Different types of opioids are prescribed by doctors in different strengths and forms depending on the patient and level of pain.


Benzodiazepines (benzos) are medications that cause mild to severe depression of the central nervous system, which causes sedation of nerves in the brain. Benzos work by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that releases a chemical to nerves in the brain that sends messages to one another.

Benzos are habit-forming and can lead to addiction. Using benzos long-term can also lead to tolerance, which means users will need higher doses to feel the same effects. It is challenging to recover from benzo addiction because these drugs change the chemistry of the brain.

Some examples of benzodiazepines include:

  • diazepam
  • lorazepam 
  • temazepam 
  • clobazam 
  • clonazepam
  • chlordiazepoxide 
  • alprazolam 
  • clorazepate
  • oxazepam
  • estazolam 
  • triazolam

Different benzos are prescribed by doctors in different strengths and forms depending on the patient’s needs.

Substance Abuse Treatment Options


Detoxification (detox) is the process of reducing and eliminating alcohol or drugs by removing the addictive substances from the body. Detox from drug abuse can be done from home or in an inpatient or an outpatient detox setting. Detox is often the first treatment needed to help break the physical bonds of addiction.

Detoxing the existing alcohol or other substances out of the system is an essential step to do before beginning addiction treatment. Drug detox is an uncomfortable process due to the body often exhibiting physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms such as cravings for the substance. 

The specific details of a detox program will depend on the substance used. In most cases, women will detox in an inpatient rehab center in which the process usually takes three to seven days within an inpatient rehabilitation center. 

There are options to detox from home, but this is often not recommended. It is vital for anyone looking to get clean to go through a detox process supervised by a medical professional who can monitor the individual, and prescription meds to lessen the withdrawal effects if needed. 

Residential Treatment for Women

A residential treatment program for women will provide live-in treatment for addiction and mental health disorders. These treatment programs are also known as inpatient treatment programs. Numerous residential treatment programs will specialize in specific issues which include:

  • Eating disorders
  • Behavioral addiction (like gambling addiction)
  • Alcohol or drug addiction
  • Mental health disorders

There are a few forms of residential treatment which include:

  • Therapeutic communities
  • Short-term residential treatment
  • Long-term residential treatment

Residential treatment is considered the most intense form of treatment. Patients live on-site, and their daily routine is strictly planned and monitored. Individuals attend therapy programs and adhere to all treatment rules and regulations. 

Statistically, the longer women remain in treatment, the better the outcome. Programs will vary in length from 28 to 90 days or even longer. Twenty-eight days of treatment is just the beginning to give individuals a fighting chance at truly beating their addiction and living a sober lifestyle.

Partial Care Program for Women

substance abuse treatment for women A partial care program is a type of outpatient treatment program for patients requiring a higher level of care than a standard outpatient care center provides. The patient will receive comprehensive treatment services and medical monitoring during daytime hours. 

Partial care is for individuals with psychiatric or co-occurring disorders that require a more intense level of care based on present issues. The mission is for the patient to remain in their home setting while gaining skills to lead a productive and independent life in their community. A partial care program can provide adults with a highly structured intensive day treatment program. 

Partial care is used as a limited-time response to stabilize acute symptoms. Partial care services will vary from 2 to 5 days per week for up to five hours a day and should be coordinated with the patient’s educational programming.

Intensive Outpatient Program for Women

An intensive outpatient program is used to address and treat addiction, eating disorders, depression, and other dependencies that do not require detoxification or 24-hour supervision. These programs enable women to continue their day-to-day lives in a way that residential treatment programs do not. 

Intensive outpatient programs vary depending on the facility and the physician. A therapy session consists of 10 to 12 hours of group and individual therapy each week, also encouraging participation in a 12 step program. These sessions are usually on-site at a medical or therapeutic facility. Patients in the program will regularly visit a facility 3 to 4 times per week, usually 3 to 4 hours per session. 

Intensive outpatient programs are best suited for women who cannot leave obligations like a job, school, or somebody depending on them. 

Outpatient Treatment for Women

Outpatient treatment programs allow recovering addicts to remain at their home during the treatment process. Women who are undergoing outpatient treatment can continue with daily life like work, school, or staying close to family and friends. 

Outpatient treatment centers will usually have meetings at night or in the early morning to help program members maintain their regular schedules. Outpatient recovery programs are generally 10 to 12 hours per week and conducted at a local treatment center.

These sessions will focus on drug abuse education, individual and group counseling, and teach women how to cope without drugs. Outpatient programs are an excellent standalone option for women with a mild addiction or as a part of a long-term treatment program. Usually, outpatient treatment programs last 3 to 6 months to over a year sometimes.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Women

Dual diagnosis is a term for when an individual experiences a mental illness and a substance use disorder simultaneously. Either the substance use or mental illness disorder can develop first. Individuals experiencing a mental health condition may turn to drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication to improve their mental health symptoms.

Studies from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimate that over 9 million adults in the U.S. experience both mental illness and substance use disorder. Dealing with a dual diagnosis has a challenging and isolating feel. Support groups will allow the members with co-occurring disorders to share the frustrations and celebrate successes together.

There isn’t one specific individual treatment plan that works for everyone with a dual diagnosis, so there are several different types of treatment options. These will vary depending on the specific combination of disorders the individuals has, but will usually focus on reducing psychiatric symptoms and reducing substance use.

Common Co-occurring Conditions

Some examples of common disorders that co-occur with addiction include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicide
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder
  • Schizophrenia

Mental disorders coinciding with substance use disorder is a severe condition to beat alone. If somebody is suffering from a mental health issue and is abusing drugs or alcohol, it is crucial to get them help as soon as possible. Substance-abuse will make disorders much worse for the individual both physically and emotionally.

Therapy and Counseling Options in Substance Abuse Treatment for Women

Individual Therapy for Substance Abuse Treatment

Psychotherapy, or individual counseling, is referred to as the cornerstone of drug treatment services. Individual counseling is most helpful for treating dual diagnosis disorders that may be present alongside addiction. These types of therapies are for the addicts who need a more personal, hands-on kind of treatment therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This is a commonly employed form of individual treatment of drug addiction counseling due to its solution-oriented approach that focuses on becoming abstinent from drugs. Studies from the National Association of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists state that CBT operates under the assumption that substance addiction is a learned behavior that can be forgotten by recognizing distorted patterns of thought.

Therapy will be once a week and will meet for an individual therapy session, which lasts about 45 minutes. A majority of different therapy programs will want the patient to remain in treatment for at least 90 days and undergo at least 16 individual therapy sessions. The reason for the length of stay is because drug addiction researchers have indicated that this is the minimum amount of time necessary to achieve lasting results.

Group Therapy for Substance Abuse Treatment

Group therapy has been proven to be most effective in many areas of mental and physical health. Most professionals agree that group practices are preferable to individual therapy due to the group members feeling more supported and challenged by peers who understand their struggles better than even friends and family.

There are five separate models of group sessions:

  • Skill development groups
  • Psychoeducational groups
  • Support groups
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy groups
  • Interpersonal process groups

Individuals who are struggling with addiction or substance use disorder should know the four elements to gain from group therapy: insight, communication, compassion, and accountability. Women feeling trapped in addiction often have few or no others to talk about their issues. This means there’s no healthy place to discuss their frustrations or to work out ideas.

Family Therapy for Substance Abuse Treatment

Family therapy for substance abuse treatment sessions will usually take about an hour. Family therapy is often considered short term – generally going in for about 12 sessions. However, the more often the family meets in the number of sessions will depend on the family’s particular situation and the therapist’s recommendation.

substance abuse treatment for women Family therapy is an extremely common treatment in several substance-abuse treatment settings. It is useful for individuals of all ages. Family therapy will involve an woman’s support network to be helpful in the recovery process, especially for teenagers. The mission of family therapy is to bring clarity to our relationships and swim brace repair and closeness throughout the family members. Family therapists believe that issues exist between people and not within people. 

A family therapist will speak with the family about how substance-abuse is embedded in a cycle of interaction throughout the family. Also, a family therapist will provide additional education about substance use for the entire family, and those support family members in reducing their negative behaviors and increasing their positive actions.

Support Options for Long Term Recovery

Upon leaving rehab, there are other support options for long term recovery, which include:

Intense Sober Living for Women

A sober living home is a group residence setting for women recovering from addiction. Primarily, individuals living in a sober home will have to follow specific house rules and contribute by helping out and doing chores. Most importantly, the sober living residence must stay sober to the duration of their residence in the home. 

The majority of sober living home residences will have already completed a substance abuse rehabilitation program before residing there. This is ideal because sober home residents must maintain sobriety while they’re living at the residence. Individuals actively working on recovery who already have some time under their belt and learned the tools to stay sober are more likely to succeed at a sober living facility. 

12-Step Programs

12-step programs are structured support groups for individuals battling a variety of destructive behaviors, which include substance use disorders. They consist of men and women who share similar experiences, hope, and strength between each other.

Through the 12-step process, women learn how to cope with addiction, avoid triggers, and live a sober lifestyle. The support group members will admit their lack of willpower over their addiction, examine previous mistakes, and make amends with those they’ve wronged. 

A couple of more popular 12-step program groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous host meetings daily throughout the U.S.

Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) groups provide support for individuals attempting to recover from drugs other than just alcohol. The only requirement in becoming a member of NA is the want to overcome addiction. NA groups don’t specialize in specifics between any particular drug, including alcohol. They also will recognize polysubstance dependence is common and promote any addict who wants to recover is welcome.

Alcoholics Anonymous 

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a group of men and women who have all once had a drinking problem. The group will share their experiences, strength, and hope with each other to solve their common problem and assist others to recover from alcoholism. There are no age or educational requirements to join the group. AA memberships are open to anyone who wants to do something about that drinking problem. The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. 

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery (Self-Management And Recovery Training) is not a 12 step group similar to AA or NA. SMART Recovery assists individuals in gaining independence from addiction. The efforts are based on scientific knowledge, which continues to evolve as scientific knowledge evolves.

SMART sponsors will conduct face-to-face and daily online meetings around the world. SMART Recovery programs will have online message boards and 24/7 chat rooms to learn about SMART Recovery and obtain support.

Get Help Today

Our team at New Directions for Women specializes in substance abuse treatment services and other addiction treatment options specific to women. Our addiction treatment, and behavioral skills specialists will take the substance addiction head-on and break it down to the underlying issues that caused it originally.

There are multiple severe and very concerning underlying reasons why individuals gain a substance addiction, and those issues need to be addressed now more than ever. Do not hesitate any longer; reach out to our staff at New Directions for Women and allow our team of specialists to assist you in getting the help that is needed.