They slow our breathing, and they cause a cascade of perception changes. Some can even change the way we think about ourselves and the world around us.
Both men and women have the same receptors. But biological markers are different, and that can have a huge impact on both addiction and its recovery.
It’s not just that women tend to be smaller than men. It’s that women’s bodies process and respond to drugs differently than their male counterparts. And women face challenges due to their gender that men don’t always encounter.
For women with addictions, treatment is the answer. But the programs they need must be tailored, so they get effective care. And sometimes, women fare best in facilities that only accept residents like them.
But it’s a mistake to say that women want female-only programs. In fact, in a study in the journal Addiction, researchers found that few women wanted treatment like this. They preferred care with mixed genders.
Perhaps the solution is personalized care, no matter what gender is involved. Treatment providers should strive to meet women where they are, and they should hope to educate and inspire women struggling to improve. They should address all of the things that support a woman’s addiction, and they should offer solutions a woman can put to use.
Those programs should also address a woman’s real barriers to recovery. For example, research suggests a woman’s hormones could spark drug cravings, which ups her relapse risk. Her treatment program should help her deal with this problem so she can move past it when it happens.
Personalized care can be provided in a gender-specific program. And many programs made just for women offer a deeper level of customization than standard versions do.
A woman who gets the care she needs, regardless of setting, is a woman who can get better.