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Why Womens Only Recovery Programs Are Effective For Women Addicts In Recovery

By Gabriel Adams

Research clearly indicates that women’s only recovery programs are far more effective for women than treatment programs that include both, men and women, and this is more so in the early stages of recovery. This is because substance abuse among women as well as the issues that surround their abuse is different from that of men and hence requires a specialized treatment program that is different.

Women’s only recovery programs specifically address women’s issues by acknowledging and respecting women’s inherent need to focus on positive relationships, self-determination, connectedness and choices.

Some of the issues pertaining solely to female substance abuse addicts and their treatment programs include the fact that drug and alcohol dependency in women is almost always triggered off by some kind of trauma, whether it is domestic violence; physical, sexual or emotional abuse or witness to violence or abuse. Hence their recovery treatment would need to address issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, low esteem, guilt and shame, which are prevalent in women addicts. Because of the interrelation between trauma, addiction and psychopathology in women, comprehensive programs need to be developed to address all these issues.


Partners very often play a major role in introducing women to drugs or alcohol. They play an equally important role in a women’s ability to access treatment and in her motivation to stay clean and sober. This is a major influencing factor in the success rate of recovery in women addicts and the odds of relapsing.

Another factor to be taken into consideration is that women are almost always the primary caretaker of her children and very often the only caretaker. Women’s recovery programs need to be family-oriented and focus on meeting the needs of women addicts as well as their children.

Treatment programs for women include trauma therapy, therapeutic intervention, creative art therapy, psychodrama, spirituality, mediation and yoga.

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