Women’s Addiction Needs Are Different

Marlene Passell - Wayside House Director of Communications

lady in field with butterflies

Addiction is addiction – doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman, right? Wrong, very wrong.

Women are the fastest growing segment of substance abusers in the country. Women who abuse alcohol and drugs endure greater stigma and isolation from family, friends, and outside connections than their male counterparts. Why? Because they are typically thought of as nurturers, caretakers, wives, mothers, daughters, and sexual partners. Social attitudes and double standards create a different set of expectations for a woman’s behavior. Women’s addiction needs are different.

And, there is much proof that women who abuse alcohol and other substances face greater risks to their health than men. Evidence shows that women become addicted faster and suffer the consequences and permanent damage of abuse-related illnesses earlier in the course of the disease than men. They are more likely to be sexually assaulted and more likely to have unplanned pregnancies. Their babies are more likely to have birth defects and are more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. 

The good news is, Wayside House has always been a treatment program for women. Wayside House clinicians understand that women suffer addiction differently than men and that women’s addiction needs are different.  Until only a few years ago, very little research was done around the special needs of women seeking recovery. Research by the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that women recovering in an environment created just for women remain in treatment longer, achieve better abstinence rates and are more than twice as likely to complete treatment. At Wayside House, there is a strong sense of safety in being in an environment of only women. Here women are free to express feelings about the guilt and shame of their behaviors of addiction. This is particularly true for those women who are victims of trauma such as sexual abuse or domestic violence.

Wayside House provides a full spectrum of services from residential (up to 90 days), partial hospitalization (day/night) program, intensive outpatient, and outpatient. In addition, to help ensure success, Wayside House has an employment preparation and placement center and an active alumnae group that helps keep women connected. Therapies and holistic services such as equine therapy, yoga and others help women heal body, mind and spirit.

www.waysidehouse.net  (561) 278-0055