Alcohol abuse and alcoholism does not only affect a single gender, as it has severe consequences for anyone who abuses it. It is not uncommon for people to think that simply because alcohol is legalized in the United States, it is a safe substance to abuse.
In reality, abusing alcohol can have devastating effects on any person. The tricky thing about alcohol addiction is that one’s body reacts strongly to the presence of alcohol and this reaction grows exponentially as one’s length and volume of alcohol abuse increase. Though the negative long and short term effects from alcoholism can be vast for both men and women, some of the specific ways in which it can be detrimental vary based on one’s gender. It may behoove a woman who is struggling with alcoholism to find treatment options that cater primarily to women.
When a person abuses alcohol, or any substance for that matter, his or her body becomes accustomed to functioning with the presence of the drug or alcohol. A tolerance to alcohol is built up within one’s system. Detox is the first step in addiction treatment, as it rids one’s body of the abused substance. There are a number of ways a person can go through the detox experience, but depending on the substance abused, some options are better than others. Undergoing a medically supervised detox is essential for women who struggle with alcohol addiction. The reason being, the withdrawal symptoms that can occur from removing alcohol from one’s system, cold turkey, can be excruciating and even dangerous. In a medically supervised detox setting, a woman will go through her detox experience being closely monitored by a professional.
Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment
The next step in recovery, subsequent to the detox stage, for alcohol addiction is for a woman to attend a treatment program. These treatment programs can be in a couple of different formats. An inpatient treatment facility, for example, will offer sleeping accommodations, with twenty-four-hour care available, for the woman throughout the intensive treatment program. The timeframe for an inpatient treatment program can last anywhere from fourteen days to three months, and in some cases, longer.
An outpatient treatment program is an option that does not include one’s living accommodations through the duration program. Depending on the program, an outpatient treatment option will have varying daily hours (ranging from after work hours, to full day commitments) and the length of time can range from as little as ten days to as long as ninety days, with some programs lasting even longer. Many treatment programs will be co-ed, but there are all-women treatment options, both inpatient and outpatient types, available.
Once a woman completes the detox phase and an intensive treatment plan, it is imperative for her to consider how she will maintain her sobriety and continue to implement the information learned throughout her treatment experience into her everyday life. For women who feel ready to return home, staying active in the sober community can be helpful. Finding Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to regularly attend, for example, can be beneficial. If a woman finds herself in a situation where she does not fully feel ready to make the leap from her treatment program right back to her regular life, she may find that residing in a sober living facility for some period of time can be helpful. There are a number of different types of sober living facilities available, all over the country. One of the benefits of transitioning in a sober living facility is the support and comradery that is consistently available. There are coed sober living facilities, but some women may find it helpful to live in an all-female facility. Just like it is important to make sure the proper type of treatment program and plan is selected, so too, is making sure a proper aftercare plan is set in place and carried out.
Alcohol addiction is a serious disease. If a woman feels as though she is perhaps drinking too much and is unable to stop, she should seek help immediately. There are many options available for a woman who is in need of help. She should feel free to reach out to a local clinic, hospital, or even check in with her regular primary care physician. The important thing to remember surrounding addiction, is to not hesitate to get help, as the physical, emotional, and mental repercussions from abusing drugs or alcohol only grow as one’s addiction grows.