While rehab is a daunting experience for everyone, there needs to be particular attention placed on the needs of women, as they can encounter specific concerns which may affect their ability to engage with treatment. According to recent findings, less than one-third of people in rehab treatment in the UK were female, with over two-thirds male, suggesting that women are under-represented in addiction treatment.
On this page, we will explore some common experiences faced by women in rehab, assessing them in detail to give you the assurance you need to engage with your treatment programme, feeling as confident as possible to begin this journey.
- Jump to
- Why women need rehab support
- How can rehab help women?
- We are here to help
- Frequently asked questions
Why women need rehab support
Every individual who enters a rehab facility will have different reasons for attending. Perhaps they have experienced a traumatic event that caused their compulsion to intensify, or maybe after speaking with friends and family they realised that professional help is necessary to help overcome their issues. However, while everyone’s journey with addiction will be specific to them, research shows us that, compared with men, women come into treatment with different motivations, which can impact the nature of support they will need from a facility.
A woman’s journey through treatment is often a unique and challenging one. For example, with twenty-nine percent of women either living with a child or being a parent when they started treatment, compared with 17% of men, these figures demonstrate that women are more likely to require support for dependents, with issues such as childcare and family responsibilities proving a significant barrier to treatment. As a result, a greater proportion of females in recovery reported having specific needs concerning their mental health and their relationships with children or partners.
Women can also fall victim to several expectations about what behaviour is acceptable as a mother. The societal belief that women are caregivers by nature, biologically designed to tend to the children and keep them out of harm’s way, can be another noticeable barrier to treatment. With all this pressure to be a strong, guiding force for their children, oftentimes, women can experience a sense of guilt when disclosing that they have fallen into addiction and want professional help. For this reason, women often need support to recognise that accepting treatment is not selfish but is instead a brave first step to overcoming their illness and beginning the road towards a healthier life.
How can rehab help women?
If addiction rehab is about breaking down barriers, a woman who has spent such a long time building them up for her own security may find this task particularly challenging. However, rehab can be invaluable in offering women a safe space to focus entirely on recovery – one which leaves them feeling calm, nurtured and supported. Some of the ways that rehab can be an encouraging space for women include:
Women who have struggled with addiction commonly mention social stigma as a noticeable barrier to entering rehab, with expectations about their behaviour preventing many of them from engaging with treatment programmes at all. Beliefs about how a woman should behave, especially from those who do not understand her experiences, might make her particularly reluctant to begin treatment, with a fear of judgement from outside influences. For this reason, ensuring that the rehab feels safe, welcoming, and friendly will help to assuage these fears and guarantee total confidence in the quality of care.
Ensuring that you feel protected in rehab usually starts with a conversation. For example, if you call your elected centre ahead of time, this will help address your concerns before your stay. If you plan to attend one of our UKAT facilities, we have a team of expert advisors available to answer whatever questions you might have prior to treatment. At UKAT, some of the support that we provide includes:
- Secure facilities
- Regular support and monitoring over the course of your stay
- Locks on your door to ensure privacy
- Ability to communicate with family members, either through visits or phone calls
Another way to familiarise yourself with the space could be to take a virtual tour of one of our facilities so that you feel ready and prepared to enter the space.
If you stay in a treatment centre that is operated by judgemental and unfriendly staff, this will hinder your ability to embrace treatment and all the wonderful things it has to offer. A big part of addiction counselling is establishing a rapport with your counsellor, working together to understand some of the underlying reasons that your dependence has taken hold, and establishing healthier patterns of thinking to prevent relapse in the future. The ability for you to express your feelings is an element of rehab that should be non-negotiable; by interacting with our caring staff, you can feel confident sharing whatever concerns or queries you might have with the team.
Personalised treatment plans
Every individual who stays in rehab will have different requirements, which is why it is essential that they have access to a programme of treatment that is both unique and specific to them. Research shows that women benefit from a holistic approach, one which emphasises safety and prioritises their wellbeing. By focusing on the healing processes of the body, mind, and spirit collectively, pursuing a rehab that offers this holistic method of treatment ensures you find something that matches your needs. Some of the more personalised activities that can be included for women in rehab include:
Woman’s only groups
Women’s only groups are designed to provide programmes specifically tailored to focus on women’s issues. At Oasis Runcorn
, for example, female clients have an opportunity to discuss various topics, including relationships, self-worth, and self-compassion cooperatively, in a space where they can share with other female clients. These programmes will also direct you to women-only groups once you are discharged, which is a great source of support and empowerment for women in recovery once they have left us.
Studies show us that women who are victims of domestic violence are at increased risk of substance use
. An individual who may have encountered instances of domestic violence or sexual abuse could feel especially vulnerable in treatment or paranoid about being in an environment they cannot escape. Clients who have experienced trauma are reminded that they can leave at any time and are under no obligation to stay if they feel uncomfortable.
Trauma-informed therapy is a valuable tool, as it acknowledges past experiences prior to treatment, giving counsellors a complete picture of their history and taking them into full consideration over the course of treatment.
It can be especially difficult to enter treatment, feeling that you are making such a big step without those closest to you coming along for the journey. While space to focus on recovery is essential to getting well, it is also important to establish a healthy dialogue with your loved ones, making sure that they heal along with you by discussing some of their own issues along the way. At our centres, we view addiction as an illness that affects families, which is why we encourage loved ones to come along for family therapy
, so they can begin to rebuild.
We are here to help
One of the beautiful things about rehab is that it creates an open space for each client that pays a visit, free from judgement or prejudice. Anyone who has struggled with addiction before will tell you that it does not discriminate, and there is no way of knowing who will fall victim to it next. At each of our UKAT facilities, we ensure that every one of our clients begins their journey to recovery with all the support they need to thrive alongside a team of caring and compassionate staff there to guide you every step of the way. If you would like to start yourself on the road to recovery, get in touch with our team today.
Frequently asked questions
How can I see a treatment centre before my stay?
While we generally offer our clients an opportunity to see our centre prior to their stay, Covid regulations have made this task slightly more challenging. While we would still encourage you to contact our team
and ask to visit a facility if this will benefit you, there is no guarantee that this will be possible.
Can pregnant women go to rehab?
Yes, there are treatment programmes available for pregnant women in rehab. However, for medical reasons, our facilities
do not allow those who are pregnant to stay with us. As a pregnant woman, there are options available to you, and we would recommend that you find a centre that is well-equipped to cater to your needs.
Can my children come and visit me when I am in rehab?
Your children can come and see you while staying at one of our centres. With visiting days on Sunday, we have allotted times for loved ones to pay a visit. However, the choice is yours, and if you feel that you want some space away from family to focus entirely on recovery, you do not have to make use of your visiting hours.