Treating Women: How Gender Affects Recovery

Gender is an ever-changing concept. It is considered more fluid than it once was, but it still defines us in a myriad of ways. Boys and girls mature at different paces, teenagers experience adolescence differently, and these rifts become even more pronounced as men and women embark into adulthood.

We should never discriminate according to gender, but we must recognize the different challenges that face men and women in recovery. By embracing our variations, we empower our diversity. Men and women are often on separate paths, but they don’t need to be conflicting quests.

Helping Our Sisters Cope with Sobriety

In the United States, females face numerous societal and institutional injustices. Sexual harassment is a plague, workplace inequality has continued for centuries, and pay disparity short changes women to the tune of about 80 cents on the dollar.

This last statistic has inevitable ramifications when it comes to healthcare access. When you can’t pay for proper treatment, you don’t get proper treatment; it’s a simple matter of economics. That’s why a preponderance of women has trouble getting the care they need and often settle for less. Data reveals that female patients sometimes defer to their primary care provider or other generalized institution rather than the specialist they really need when it comes to substance use rehabilitation.

There’s also the issue of stigmatization to consider. In this country, women are told not to be too fat or too thin; too emotional or too passive; too strong or too weak. We just can’t seem to win! Everyone must advocate for the cause of healthcare equality and speak up when we see stereotypes damaging people’s lives and livelihoods.

But how can we achieve the seemingly unattainable goal of recovery parity? Let’s take a closer look…

By the Numbers

Addiction and substance use are intensely personal concerns, yet they also affect our society on an epic scale. Every individual feels alone in their struggle to overcome the lure of drugs and alcohol, but we are all fighting a similar battle; we just don’t know it yet.

That’s why we must shine a light on the issue and find strength in our transparency.

The raw numbers are staggering. Approximately 19.5 million women report having used a controlled substance within the past year. That accounts for 15.4% of the adult female population in this country, and the underlying complications paint an even more drastic picture.

Due to biological factors and body mass, the same dosage of drug can affect a woman more vehemently than a man. This not only leads to alarmingly high rates of accidental overdose, but also accelerates the path to addiction for females.

These studies, however, are wildly incomplete. Women are often omitted from scientific data due to statistical bias and other research negligence. But females are not only discriminated against in the academic realm; they face imminent and existential threats in various walks of life.

Domestic abuse disproportionately affects women and girls more than their male counterparts. Enduring such horrors leads to an increased probability that the affected individual will turn to substances to dull her pain, thus triggering the inescapable spiral of addiction and further pain.

The Changing Face of Addiction

When we discuss substance use, we are not only talking about the preponderance of street drugs. The rise of opioids has become a national emergency over the past three decades, and women are feeling the effects of this rampant travesty.

New and expectant mothers are often prescribed painkillers during labor. There is always a risk of complications in such instances, and Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) is one of these. Between the years of 1994 and 2014, the number of OUD patients quadrupled nationwide.

But it doesn’t just impact women experiencing childbirth. The proliferation of opioids has flooded our communities and infected our future.

Acknowledge the Issue, Ask for Help

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please don’t hesitate to consider Windward Way as your safe haven. Our expert staff is trained on the specific and unique challenges that face females in everyday life, not to mention the added stressors of a newfound sober existence.

We know how difficult it is to survive the rigors and confusion of modern society, but we need to rise above the noise and forge our own direction.

At Windward Way, we encourage women to flex their empowerment and find their best selves. This can be achieved in a number of fulfilling (and gratifying) ways, including physical fitness therapy, meditation, and even a ropes course. By externalizing the challenges of recovery and facing a tangible goal (be it climbing a wall or camping in the majesty of the SoCal wilderness or embracing the wonders of a yoga Saturday), we reframe the conversation. Taking one day at a time doesn’t need to be tedious; it can be an adventure!

To enlist in your ideal future, take charge today. Contact our professional care team and embark on an exciting voyage of health, happiness, and healing. Our female-centric, multifaceted approach to wellness and understanding is more than just a program; it’s a revelation. The young girl who dreamed of endless possibilities is still living and thriving beneath the surface. It’s time to embrace her and unleash your inner warrior.

See you soon, but until then, be well and be wonderful.

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