Nearly forty percent of the individuals with substance use in the U.S. are women. Research conducted by Columbia University suggests that on the whole, women's substance use is for different reasons than men. Further, the study revealed that women are more likely to develop excessive and chronic drug and alcohol use before men.
One of the differentiating factors is that women, as a general rule have more severe symptoms from men and those symptoms affect women both socially and psychologically, with the mental health implications more ubiquitous. Women contribute their substance use to depression, decreased self esteem and self confidence, loneliness and the lack of a support system. What is more is that the type of substances used is different for women as well. For example women gravitate towards prescription drugs, marijuana, heroin, ecstasy and alcohol.
Traditional treatment programs have created a stigma or an obstacle for women to be able to get the help that they need because of family, social and cultural models. In many ways, women put more emphasis on family, nurturing and care giving ahead of their own wants and needs, including getting help for their substance use. In most cases, women are introduced to substance use through a partner or spouse. Another obstacle to getting help is the fact that many women feel guilt and shame.
Not all traditional drug and alcohol rehab for women offer treatment that is gender specific, but a one size fits all that treats men and women the same. Traditional substance use rehab treatment programs present therapy that encourages the woman in treatment to place the emphasis on revisiting her past, especially on past events that could be the source of their substance use. Traditional rehab treatment does not always allow women a sense of security and as a result, women with substance use issues and who are also mothers may not always get the help that they need for fear of losing their children.
There are many different types of treatment available for women in need of drug and alcohol rehab treatment including 12 step programs, non 12 step programs, holistic programs, alternative rehab programs and educational rehab treatment programs.12 step programs support a philosophy that teaches that women are helpless against their substance use and that they are powerless. 12 step programs also teach that relapse is a normal part of the recovery process, which can just prolong a drug or alcohol problem, rather than fixing it.
Freedom Model Retreats offers a non treatment and non 12 step program. The Freedom Model program is a six week Cognitive Behavioral Learning program that teaches guests to use self change and self assessment to make choices and decisions that are more productive and to develop habits and behaviors that are positive and more enhancing to their life. Guests discover that they are empowered and that they can have a life that is permanently free from alcohol and drug use.