In our experience, gender-specific addiction treatment is important for many reasons. There are special issues for women with children who struggle with finding or committing to a rehab program because:
They don’t want to be away from their children for an extended period of time.
They don’t have anyone to take care of their children while in rehab.
Women are more stigmatized in society if they have an addiction issue.
Women also face different psychological and physical problems in recovery, their addictions may stem from different causes, and in many cases, the presence of men can make it more difficult for women to recover.
Yet, one of the biggest challenges in rehab for women is how to take care of their children during treatment. Not only are women facing the struggles of addiction and getting better, but they are also worried about taking care of their family.
Experts emphasize that children aren’t just a tool for the mother’s recovery. They also benefit. “In the best programs, kids are clients in their own right.” Said Nichole Edge, an associate professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Science.
Edge points out that it is an opportunity to evaluate the child’s needs. Most of the children have experienced a variety of traumatic events and mother-and-child facilities make up treatment plans for the children too if needed.
Drug Rehab for Women and Children
According to a 2015 survey from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 5.7% of women have a substance use disorder in the United States and being separated from a child, or the possibility of it creates a variety of potential issues. There are a limited number of specialized rehabs for women and children and the ones that do exist are improving the lives of the parent and keeping the family together.
Therefore, we offer full family and children services to patients at New Directions for Women. This allows the mother to recover from her substance use disorder (SUD) while learning the skills needed to stay abstinent while providing a safe and stable situation for the children.
Part of this program involves treating children regardless of whether or not they live with their mom throughout drug rehab for women and children. When necessary they receive individual treatments to address their specific needs, including early interventions and counseling services.
Types of Treatment for Women with Addiction
The first step in treatment is for women and their children to have a professional medical assessment done to determine the correct care plan for the individual and the child(ren).
To start treatment, a woman must be completely free of drugs and alcohol. Most people need to go through the “detox” phase to achieve this which includes cleansing the body from all the drugs or alcohol being used. A medically supervised detox is helpful to ease the withdrawal symptoms and watch for any emergencies.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
Both women and their children will need to meet for therapy with a mental health professional or psychologist to determine the best mode of treatment necessary. CBT is a type of talk therapy that helps people find new ways to behave by changing their thought patterns. The basis is that the way we think and interpret events in our lives affects how we behave and then how we feel. It can reduce stress, help cope with relationships, and other common life challenges.
Holistic therapy considers the whole person—mind, body, spirit (if you’re spiritual), and emotions. Aromatherapy and mindful meditation are examples of holistic techniques. Drug rehab for women and children using holistic techniques encourages recovery and helps in avoiding a relapse.
Child Care or Parenting
Women in treatment are offered childcare options for their children so that they can be cared for appropriately while the mother attends necessary treatment programs. School-age children will attend school during the day while their mother attends her therapy and counseling sessions. In particular, counseling helps mothers and children build emotional strength and deepen their resilience in the face of challenges.
Barriers for Women in Treatment
Women in treatment face many barriers that make it difficult for them to get the help they need and move into recovery. Some of the most common barriers include:
- Financial struggles
- No childcare options for their children
- No insurance
- Fear that they will lose custody of their children
- Not able to find suitable treatment programs
In particular, counseling helps them build emotional strength and deepen their resilience in the face of challenges.
Children with Addicted Parents and Therapy
Substance use can make home a dangerous place for children. The addicted parent may not work or be able to maintain an income. The potential for abuse rises in households where one or more parents have a substance use disorder.
The lack of stability can negatively affect the emotional development of the children. They may feel lost, lonely, and stressed. New Directions for Women offers drug rehab for women and children so that they can be the most successful in their recovery journey.
Risks for Children of Addicts
- Trauma—Many children develop trauma symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) including memories and flashbacks like a war veteran.
- Second-Hand Drinking—The toxic stress effect that an alcoholic has on other people. It’s toxic because it is relentless and the child can’t escape it. It can result in addiction being passed to the next generation.
- Shame, guilt, and loneliness—Children may be too embarrassed to have friends. Their feelings and needs get ignored.
Types of Treatment for Children
Children receive a variety of therapies including:
If they’re of school age, they’re enrolled in the Newport Mesa School District, and our counselors encourage them to develop a healthy sense of participation in summer camp programs, extracurricular activities, as well as educational programs. Where appropriate, they also participate in 12-step programs.
Many children of addicts need continuing counseling after their mother has completed treatment to help them deal with issues that have developed due to their parent’s substance use problem. Issues such as trauma, neglect, and abuse are commonly experienced.
Benefits of Drug Rehab for Women and Children
During rehab, many women experience the most vulnerable and difficult period of their life. As much as we try to ease the process, it will always be a challenge. But experience shows that both parents and children thrive in rehab programs with residential beds for children. This is because these specialized programs can quickly pinpoint the negative behaviors the mother struggles with while she receives the support of living with other similarly situated recovering moms.
It’s our experience that substance use disorders place a significant strain on the family, and this is not limited to children. Spouses may become irritated and impatient at their partner’s lack of control. Children too can become angry and resentful because they do not understand the nature of addiction. While many support groups offer some guidance on how wives and mothers can approach these problems, it’s often not enough.
Healing the Family During Addiction
Our therapists offer professional guidance both to our patients and their families on dealing with and understanding addiction. Everyone must understand that it is a brain disease, not a choice. Once everyone involved understands the problem, as well as how they can help and how they can facilitate their loved one’s recovery, emotional wounds start to heal. Cracks and gaps which were originally opened by the problems of drug abuse start to close.
We are committed to healing, not just the patient but their whole family, all of whom have been invariably affected by chemical dependency. It has been said that if one member of a family has a SUD, all members of the family have a SUD. All parties involved will benefit from the education that is gained from family therapy.
Start Your New Direction Now
New Directions is for people who live with or regularly relate to someone who has been diagnosed with substance use disorder. And for those of you who are struggling with addiction, New Directions for Women will support and encourage you. This is the time to commit to being involved with our drug rehab for women and children so that you too can start the process of recovery. This is because we understand chemical dependency should be treated from the view of a family disease.
People who have experienced the pains of false hopes, broken promises, and other common side effects of addiction deserve an opportunity to both identify and voice their feelings. We honestly and openly work with all family members of a patient to develop a deeper understanding of themselves and help re-develop the kind of relationship they deserve to have with a loved one suffering from dependency. For more information, get in touch with New Directions for Women now.