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Women in Alcohol Treatment

by James Heller 22. January 2010 14:48
Women, by percentage, enter alcohol treatment with more physical and emotional problems than men.  Gender differences in physiology can speed up the damaging effects of alcohol.  So alcohol and drug treatment centers should include gender-specific treatment, along with services for primary medical care and mental health.

Women with alcohol dependence tend to reach the decision to enter treatment sooner than men.  At first glance, one might think this means they suffer fewer problems due to the shorter time frame of alcohol abuse.  But other factors come into play in the development of physical and mental health issues for women.

In the female body, the entire process to metabolize alcohol is different.  Because of this, major organs like the liver, heart, kidneys and even the brain work harder to dispense alcohol from the body.  The human body sees alcohol as a poison and seeks to expel it as a top priority.  At the same time it expels or ignores many nutrients a woman needs.

Alcohol dependence also can place women in abusive relationships or unsafe settings where they are vulnerable to rape and other crimes.  In mere minutes, emotional damage can be caused that could distract from effective alcohol treatment.  The presence of mental health professionals, as well as addiction counselors in medical detoxification units, is important in treating these co-occurring disorders.

Under these circumstances, women may benefit from alcohol treatment that is for women only.  This removes distractions and provides for a safe environment.  The recovery process, and physical and emotional healing, can progress faster and there is a better opportunity for long-term recovery.

The excerpt below is from a report posted on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website that details the physical issues noted above.    

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Compared with male substance abusers, female substance abusers may have more physical problems, and females appear to be more vulnerable than males to the physiological effects of substance use. For example, in a study of alcohol problems among trauma center patients, women were significantly more likely than men to have liver disease (Gentilello et al., 2000). Differences in the way women absorb, distribute, eliminate, and metabolize alcohol may increase their vulnerability to alcohol-related problems (Mumenthaler, Taylor, O'Hara, & Yesavage, 1999; Wasilow-Mueller & Erickson, 2001). The female liver appears to be more sensitive to the toxic effect of chronic alcohol intake than the male liver (Colantoni et al., 2003; Mandayam, Jamal & Morgan, 2004; Mann, Smart, & Govoni, 2003). Females develop alcoholic liver disease (i.e., cirrhosis and hepatitis) after comparatively shorter periods and less intense drinking than do males. Although males have higher rates of cirrhosis mortality than women, proportionately, more alcohol-dependent females die from cirrhosis than do alcohol-dependent males (Fuchs et al., 1995; Lieber, 1993; Mann et al., 2003; NIAAA, 1999). One of the reasons for gender differences in alcoholic liver disease is that females achieve higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood than males after drinking equivalent amounts of alcohol (Bradley, Badrinath, Bush, Boyd-Wickizer, & Anawalt, 1998; Frezza et al., 1990; Redgrave, Swartz, & Romanoski, 2003). In a cohort study of over 13,000 men and women in Europe, for example, the relative risk of developing alcohol-related liver disease was significantly higher among women than men for any given level of alcohol intake (Becker et al., 1996). An additional reason for gender differences in alcoholic liver disease is that the level of alcohol dehydrogenase, an enzyme associated with alcohol metabolism, may be lower in females than in males (Baraona et al., 2001; Thomasson, 1995). Estrogen has also been associated with alcohol-related liver disease (Moshage, 2001; Yin et al., 2000).

-- Source: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/WomenTX/WomenTX.htm#1.1.8

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides primary medical care, mental health treatment, and women-only treatment at our Long Beach location as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Teen Women and Pain Killer Abuse

by James Heller 21. January 2010 08:03
From 2002 to 2009 only Oxycontin abuse has held a steady trend among adolescent women, when looking at illicit drugs.  The popularity of prescription drug abuse is dangerous for teen women for several reasons.  They are perceived to be low risk, are highly addictive opiates, and can lead to illegal heroin use when these women become adults.

Prescription drugs have the lowest perceived risk among all teens.  Since most teen women tend to seek security for themselves, it stands to reason that they would feel safer using prescription drugs over marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines.  Even Oxycontin, a very strong opiate pain killer, can be considered safe by the most security-conscious teen women.

Opiates are highly addictive, though, so even one use can lead individuals down a quick path to addiction.  As opiate tolerance builds in teen women, they need higher doses to get the desired effect from Oxycontin.  Once dependence sets in the drug is needed to, at the very least, relieve opiate withdrawal symptoms.

As time passes and dependence increases, prescription opiate addicts usually switch to heroin in order to satisfy their habits.  For adolescent women, this is certain to open the door to illegal activities and negative behaviors.  Their friends and acquaintances also change, and they may frequent unsafe locales to obtain illegal drugs.

Opiate addiction must be addressed immediately when problems arise.  Women face more physical, mental and emotional consequences than men from prescription opiate and heroin addiction.  The first stop should be medical detoxification, followed by residential or outpatient drug treatment.  Some women may find comfort in knowing that gender-specific treatment is available that includes childcare.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration published a report on alcohol and drug use trends since 2002.  It includes data that supports the information above at this link:
http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH/2k8NSDUH/tabs/Sect8peTabs1to43.htm#Tab8.19B

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides drug detox and women only alcohol and drug treatment as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help for drug addiction or alcohol dependence, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Adolescent Women and Alcohol or Drug Abuse

by James Heller 19. January 2010 16:11
Adolescent alcohol abuse or drug abuse is especially damaging for women.  It is these fragile years in the growth process that shapes who they will become both physically and emotionally.  So if adolescent alcohol or drug treatment is not used to put a stop to substance abuse or dependence, adult treatment may need to be gender-specific.

In general, when teens abuse alcohol or drugs they alter the course of their adult lives.  Alcohol abuse and drug abuse has been proven to interfere with brain development.  For women between age 12 and 17 this is critical.  It logically follows that if the brain is not growing properly, then hormonal connections are not being completed or are being shifted in an abnormal direction.

Teen decision making, without adult guidance, is not usually regarded as being based on wisdom.  Add alcohol or drugs to the equation and you lose inhibitions as well.  This leads many adolescent women into abusive relationships due to low self-esteem, and to engage in unsafe sex and promiscuity.  In these cases, women may see men as threats or tools for validation by the time they reach adulthood.

It is always recommended that adolescents receive alcohol and drug treatment at the earliest signs of a problem.  For those who don’t, gender-specific alcohol and drug treatment needs to be an option.  Some women who enter treatment will be distracted by men, making focus difficult.  In women-only treatment the distraction can be removed, allowing for a better chance at long-term recovery.

Some deep-seated issues from adolescence may not be detected until women are in an alcohol or drug detox program.  The feelings may seem very normal to these patients, so addiction counselors must take note when women begin habits in their youth.

The graph below is from a report posted on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website.  It shows that in 2008, as a percentage, the only age range when women engage in substance abuse more than men is 12 to 17.

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-- Source: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nsduh/2k8nsduh/2k8Results.cfm#7.1.3

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment and women-only alcohol and drug treatment as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley. 

Women, Alcoholism and Drug Addiction

by James Heller 15. January 2010 16:16
Women suffer from alcohol dependence and drug addiction with many of the same problems as men.  Gender plays a role in the start of alcohol and drug use, the drugs of choice, and some of the problems associated with addiction.  And in some cases these problems can cause mental health issues.

Alcoholism usually comes over time with men, as opposed to women who tend to move more rapidly towards dependence.  This is generally due to differences in how the body metabolizes alcohol.  So women discover sooner than men that alcohol causes problems for them, and either seek alcohol treatment or accept the problems so they can continue drinking.

With drugs, women may seek more than euphoria when they use drugs.  Drug use trends among women are higher with stimulants and prescription drugs than for marijuana.  It is generally considered that teen cocaine and methamphetamine use among women is because they are very weight conscious.  And prescription drugs are often used in response to adolescent anxiety or depression in women more than men.

When women engage in alcohol abuse or drug abuse, problems can begin before dependence sets in.  Men may take advantage of women sexually and emotionally, and abusive relationships may develop.  Dependence brings more problems that can lead them to prostitution or other behaviors that lead them to see all men as victimizers or tools for validation.

While men and women benefit from co-ed drug treatment, these are times when gender-specific treatment may be necessary.  Women sometimes benefit from being in women-only alcohol and drug treatment to begin the healing process.  And if they have children, it is an added benefit when childcare and parenting classes are included.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides gender-specific treatment to eligible women, along with childcare, as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help for alcohol dependence or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Gender-Specific Alcohol and Drug Treatment

by James Heller 14. January 2010 15:52
Alcohol and drug treatment for some requires a gender-specific setting.  While alcohol dependence and drug addiction are generally treated the same regardless of gender, a co-ed setting can be a distraction for some valid reasons.  So an alcohol and drug treatment provider that offers gender-specific treatment removes the distraction and improves the opportunity for long-term recovery in these cases.

All alcoholics and drug addicts engage in negative behaviors that can cause long-term psychological issues of one kind or another.  In most cases they can find freedom from them with the help of addiction counselors and a program of recovery.  But for some these behaviors can cause paralyzing phobias, anger, and habits that prevent them from focusing on treatment in a co-ed setting.

Women, for example, may believe that men are untrustworthy because all of the men they encountered during alcohol or drug use were predatory.  Or they may have used sex as a means of getting the drugs they needed, again with predatory men, which can link sexuality to personal validation.  And some were involved in abusive relationships with men, which can lead to fear and anger with all men.  In many cases, these problems are discovered by counselors in alcohol and drug detox units.

All of these, and other factors, distract women if they are in alcohol and drug treatment with men.  They not only benefit when men are not present in treatment, but also when treatment staff and mental health professionals can focus on women’s issues during treatment.  Combined, treatment is more effective and provides the opportunity to correct habits and heal the very real pain.

There are also women with children who have no means to leave home for treatment while providing care for them.  Or, they don’t feel comfortable leaving a child for several weeks or months.  When treatment includes parenting classes and groups, as well as childcare, these individuals have access to treatment and don’t need to worry about the care their children are receiving.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles offers women-only and women with children treatment, to eligible patients, as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one has a problem with alcohol dependence or drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.