Drug Addiction Treatment for Women

The importance of offering drug addiction treatment for women cannot be over emphasized. Research has shown that women react more positively to treatment when they are in a gender-specific treatment environment. In the past, drug treatment programs were designed and driven by males. Though men and women both suffer and struggle with the disease of addiction, women have unique and differing needs than men. It stands to reason, that the therapeutic styles and approaches developed and used during the past in the male oriented treatment environment may not be suitable or beneficial to women seeking help for their addiction.

In 1993, Velvet Mangan, the founder and owner of Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, understood the distinct differences between the needs men and women seeking help from drug treatment facilities. She saw the necessity of creating drug addiction treatment for women, which offered a safe and nurturing environment where women suffering from addiction would thrive, heal and begin their journey of recovery. Velvet Mangan has been a pioneer in the development of innovative drug addiction treatment for women suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women is designed for the unique and specific needs of women; with a therapeutic environment that allows women to focus on core issues such as self-esteem, trauma, shame, body image, codependency, nutrition, and relationships. This nurturing environment plays a key role in creating the opportunity for women to recognize and process beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that can are essential for healing to occur. Drug addiction treatment for women is also therapeutically beneficial for women that have survived traumatic life experiences. Without the presence of men, women are capable of facing their trauma and healing from their past traumatic experiences in a supportive, loving setting.

Another benefit to drug addiction treatment for women is that these treatment facilities provide women the opportunity to develop healthy, positive relationships with other women that is imperative in building a strong foundation of recovery. Women are able to learn to trust other women, who can most help them in their journey during and following completion of a drug addiction treatment program for women specifically. As a result of the gender-specific environment, women are able to begin rebuilding their lives and truly concentrate on their sobriety, recovery, and healthy living choices.

An alumnus of Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women shares her story.
I am so grateful that there is specific Drug addiction treatment for women, or I don’t know where I would be today. My life as a young women suffering from addiction had taken its toll on me physically, mentally and spiritually. The drinking and drugs that had once filled a hole and made me feel “normal” now where destroying me, but I couldn’t stop. I felt as though I was rotting with an addiction I could not hope to cure.  I was suffering, that much was true.
Though I didn’t know it at the time, my addiction started at an early age. I was obsessed with watching my mother take the orange, prescription bottle off the shelf and dole out the tiny white pills to my brother every morning before school.  Naturally, I followed suit.  I started to lose my focus in class; paying attention was becoming more and more of an unattainable task, and one I could no longer master, so one day, in exasperation, my mother gave me a Ritalin.  Although it didn’t really affect me, I assured her it increased my concentration, calculating that I could probably get more if I said this.  I remember so well, I remember sitting at my little desk, looking out the window; I can recall with distinct clarity the exact moment I looked up at my mother and said, “Yeah, I think this will really help me.”  At the time I could not know it, but this was the beginning of my addiction.

By the age of 17, I had lost myself. I no longer recognized myself in the mirror. I was filled with self-loathing, shame and guilt. But those feelings did little to stop my drinking and drug use. I was leading a self-centered life and my days were consumed with the obsession of finding drugs or alcohol. I had lost so many friendships. At some point, I don’t know when, but I crossed the line from social drinking with my peers to drinking and using drugs everyday. Not only was I on a self-destructive path, but I was destroying my family as they struggled to cope with my behavior, my failing grades, my depression to name only a few of negative consequences my drinking and drug use was causing.  I was spiraling out of control.

Drug Addiction Treatment for Women was my only hope. I am so thankful I was sent to Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women. At first, Safe Harbor seemed like a warped, Lifetime afternoon movie; sunny, smiley faces peered at me from behind designer sunglasses; it was as if I were watching the young women on a different TV frequency, the images blurred and static.  A refrain of “It will get better” became the women’s theme song.  Somewhere within the first month of my treatment I began to enjoy waking up in the morning; mopping the kitchen floor became a time of relaxation and refuge, and I realized I was actually becoming what people referred to as ‘happy.’  Initially afraid of women, I gradually began to trust that the girls were offering sincere help. This was one of the greatest benefits of coming to a facility whose focus was on drug addiction treatment for women.  Two years later, I work at Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women and I could not be more grateful.  I barely have any male friends; all of my friends are women!  I am able to offer our women my experience, strength and hope, and act as a living example that drug addiction treatment for women can and does work.  The women who come to Safe Harbor remind me so much of myself, and it is an amazing blessing to be able to shepherd them through their first ninety days of drug addiction treatment for women.  I thank God every day for the blessings I’ve been given, and for the opportunity to work within the drug addiction treatment for women field.

Signs of Alcoholism in Women

As alcoholics hardly ever admit their problem with alcohol and the signs of alcoholism in women can often be difficult to find, the disease of alcoholism can go untreated and multiple health problems can occur. Extreme alcohol use can cause exhaustion and short-term memory loss, as well as weakness and paralysis of the eye muscles. More seriously, however, are liver disorders, such as cirrhosis, which is the irreversible and progressive annihilation of liver tissue.

During college years it is very common if not habitual for students to consume alcohol on the weekends and sometimes during the week. Because alcohol is readily available and usually present at every college party, drinking can become the norm. Social drinking on the weekends is one thing, but many take it much farther than this. Some students look forward to these events to get belligerently intoxicated. When students get into the habit of abusing alcohol to get drunk on a consistent basis, a problem begins, and the signs of alcoholism in women can be seen.

Alcoholism can be defined as an addiction to the consumption to alcoholic beverages or the mental illness and compulsive behavior resulting from physical dependence of alcohol (dictionary.com). As there is a physical dependence in addiction to the compulsion within the brain, the signs of alcoholism in women can be difficult to see. What ultimately triggers the onset of alcoholism in the brain is debated; the fact of the matter is alcoholism is onset in terms of the drinker’s relationship with alcohol.

Signs of alcoholism in women can begin with the heavy use and abuse and dependence are the general labels used to explain consumption practices. Problems with drinking suggest the use of alcohol beyond the point where it causes physical, social or moral impairment and destruction to the individual. Abuse and dependence are defined as a preoccupation with the consumption of alcohol and a physical desire to consume alcohol. In addition to these signs of alcoholism in women and alcohol abuse in women, there are four specific symptoms:
1.    Craving: A strong need or urge to drink and a loss of control
2.    Physical Dependence: not being able to stop drinking once drinking has begun
3.    Withdrawal Symptoms: Nausea, sweating, shakiness or anxiety after stopped drinking
4.    Tolerance: the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to feel drunk.
An alcoholics craving to consume alcohol can be as strong as a need like hunger, another sign of alcoholism in women. Because of this need, an alcoholic woman will continue to drink despite serious health and legal problems which can also be signs of alcoholism in women.

The signs of alcoholism in women listed above can also be applied to alcohol abuse in women, but abuse can lead to dependence and criteria set up by the CAGE questionnaire; a method to show the signs of alcoholism is women which can determine if an abuser is actually an alcoholic.

The physical and health signs of alcoholism in women are extensive and can be visible to friends and family, but most are detected by physicians. Because the signs of alcoholism in women and their symptoms are mainly overt, they can be easily recognized. Gastrointestinal problems are also cause by chronic alcohol abuse. Such problems include gastritis, which is damage to the stomach lining; pancreatic damage, which reduces the hormones hat regulate metabolism. Excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure and damage the heart increasing the risk of heart failure or stroke. Alcohol is an addictive substance and it can be extremely difficult to break an addiction. However, there are treatment centers, such as Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, set up to do just that.

Signs of alcoholism in women can include drinking more than 15 drinks a week for men or 12 drinks a week for women. Drinking alone is a single risk factor that can contribute to alcoholism. Other factors include the following:
1.    Age: People who start drinking in their teens are at a higher risk of alcoholism and alcohol abuse.
2.    Genetics and Family History: A person is more likely to develop alcoholism if their parents are alcoholic or abused alcohol.
3.    Emotional Disorders: Being severely depressed or having anxiety places one at a greater risk of abusing alcohol. Also, adults with ADHD may be more likely to become dependent or abusive.
Similar to the causes and signs of alcoholism in women, it is hard for doctors to decide which patients to monitor and test for alcoholism as some of the signs and symptoms could be because of other illnesses and it is rare that an alcoholic will be honest about how much alcohol they are actually consuming. Doctors may ask a series of questions about drinking habits in order to get an indication of amount of drinking. Blood tests that measure the size of red blood cells, which increase with long-term alcohol abuse.  Tests that show liver damage can also assist in diagnosing a patient with alcohol abuse. Because the signs of alcoholism in women cannot be easily discovered by medical tests, doctors often speak with family members or friends about the alcoholics drinking habits. The doctor needs to as others because alcoholics often deny the extent of their drinking.

The probability of addiction depends on the authority of parents, friends and other role models and at what age they began drinking alcohol.  A few tests that a person can perform are trying to avoid drinking out of habit and while bored and setting limitations on drinking before the day begin. It is important to establish activities separate from drinking as drinking with friends and drinking heavily can encourage alcohol abuse. According to Alcoholics Anonymous, there are different treatments available to help women with alcohol troubles and have the signs of alcoholism in women. Treatment includes assessment, intervention, an outpatient series or therapy and possibly an inpatient stay if the patient is a danger to herself. A housing treatment begins with detoxification and withdrawal. This period can last for to seven days and delirium tremens (DT’s) or withdrawal seizures may occur. After detox, emotional support is given. This consists of individual therapy and counseling, support from respective recovery groups, helping to combat active addiction and alcoholism. Most importantly, acceptance of the fact that one is addicted and unable to control their drinking is necessary for effective treatment. Support groups, therapy, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings can help women abstain from drinking and continue their lives sober. It is important to recognize the signs of alcoholism in women as soon as possible because of the possible mental and health complications so they can achieve treatment.

Causes of Alcoholism in Women

Society has a hard time understanding the causes of alcoholism in women and why women become addicted to drugs and how they affect the brain to necessitate obsessive-compulsive abuse. Society can view the causes of alcoholism in women in addiction as being morally deficient as drug and alcohol abuse is often seen as a social problem. Women often hear their friends and family members saying, “if they would just stop using drugs and drinking, their life will get better”… if only it were that easy for a woman active in her disease of addiction!

The causes of alcoholism in women are very complex and often underestimated, especially in women. The causes of alcoholism in women steps from the initial decision to start using drugs and drinking alcohol is voluntary, but over time the changes in the brain cause by repeated drug abuse can affect a woman’s self-control and ability to make sound decisions, and at the same time send intense impulses to take drugs an continue to drink. Because of the changes in the brain, a woman is addicted is challenged when trying to stop abusing drugs and alcohol.

There are many “so-called” causes of alcoholism in women. Psychological, social and genetic factors have been liked to the causes of alcoholism in women. The psychological argument is that many alcoholics feel a feeling of inferiority and inadequacy. Alcohol is thought to give them false courage needed to face life. They are not capable of feeling self-assured to function in real life. Another cause of alcoholism in women may include social factors. Many alcoholics start and begin moderately due to social or peer encouragement. They build up craving and requirement leading to increasing use. Eventually, the drinking advances beyond control. There is another factor to consider as a cause of alcoholism in women: genetics. According to studies, children of alcoholics tend to abuse alcohol themselves. Physiologically alcoholics are thought to be weak and predisposed and more likely to become alcoholics themselves. Children of alcoholic parents tend to be more likely to be alcoholics.

The effects of alcoholism range from direct physiological impact on the individual to a widespread effect on society. In The United States, on family in three is estimated to be affected in some way by a drinking problem. Alcoholism is an enormous public health problem. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that alcoholism and alcohol abuse in The United States cost society from $40 to $60 billion annually, due to lost production, health and medical care, motor vehicle accidents, violent crime, and social programs that respond to alcohol problems.

At Safe Harbor, the causes of alcoholism in women treatment is available that will help women overcome her powerful and destructive addictions and reclaim their life! Safe Harbor Addiction Treatment Center in California teaches women to live “life on life’s terms” without the use of a mind-altering substance.

Recovery from a substance at an addiction treatment center is a process involving a sequence of small steps where women gain control over their substance use and increase their confidence. To recover, women need to learn to believe in themselves, be prepared to struggle and be determined to reach their goals. This process of overcoming the causes of alcoholism in women takes time and support and preventing relapse or a return to substance use is the goal of our addiction treatment center. For a client to feel uncertain or hesitant about making this change is normal. Deciding to change is a big step and our addiction treatment center in California recognizes that this change and recovery is a process in overcoming the causes of alcoholism in women.

The initial exposure to an addiction treatment center to conquer the causes of alcoholism in women is an overwhelming experience for women active in addiction. Whether a woman attends an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting, a Detoxification facility or a psychiatric in-patient center, one unavoidable conclusion is true: Addiction is a horrible situation for any woman.

An inpatient/Residential addiction treatment center for women is a type of healing in which the patient is admitted to a facility, such as Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, for an extended stay to treat the causes of alcoholism in women. Safe Harbor provides a structured environment for women in addiction, eliminating outside pressures and influences for the addict. Treatment includes individual and group therapy, nutritional counseling, vocational training, relapse prevention support, educational services and 12-step substance abuse programs. Women in addiction are immersed in the treatment routine of our facility reducing the incidence of patient’s access and use of drugs and alcohol. After the initial 90-day program, women may elect to enter into our sober living houses. This enables the recovering women to reintroduce themselves to mainstream society while still maintaining the structured living environment. Safe Harbor patients continue to attend a 12-step program to maintain their hard won recovery throughout their treatment.

Safe Harbor’s continuing care program is designed so that the recovering addict continues to live in a separate home outside of the treatment center, but attends treatment sessions or meetings with Safe Harbor staff. Instead of being totally removed from societal pressures and influences, clients in the continuing care program begin to be exposed to everyday stress, but learn to deal with life through numerous sessions at the facility. Drug Testing is used to ensure that clients are not continuing to use while enrolled in the continuing care program. Our successful aftercare program assists the women in recovery with everyday life situations while in early recovery, and to continue to work in relapse prevention to maintain their awareness of potential relapse trigger issues.

Relapse prevention groups focus on particular stages achieved by recovering addicts as they progress toward sobriety. The first stage is a motivational group to help participants move toward involvement with treatment and a readiness to change. The goals of this group are to help women assess involvement with substance use, consequences of previous use, motivation for change and the development o a plan to begin to change. The group’s purpose is to encourage each participant to begin self-evaluation, aided by the group leader’s active involvement in providing feedback and helping the women to interact.

Alcohol Abuse And Women

Alcohol abuse and women has many damaging results physically, mentally and socially. In truth, alcoholism and alcohol abuse and women is a sickness. Alcohol abuse and women is a very dangerous condition in that it can cause many problems in a person’s life and affect many aspects of their lifestyle. Alcoholism and/or alcohol abuse somehow have an effect on every persons life; through a friend, mother or father, brother or sister or even personal experience. Alcohol abuse and women, as a medical diagnosis, refers to a pattern of manners and actions exemplified by unnecessary alcohol use. Consumption like this could occur regularly, only on weekends or being intoxicated for at least two successive days, called binges. Characteristics of alcohol abuse and women can be troubles stopping or decreasing the quantity of alcohol and troubles in social and work-related role performance.

Alcohol and substance use disorders are complicated illnesses that present unique threats to women’s health. Medical research is showing that women who abuse alcohol, tobacco and other drugs may develop addictions and substance-related health problems faster than men. Alcohol abuse and women is most common between the ages of 26 and 34. Women are more vulnerable to alcohol-related organ damage, trauma and interpersonal difficulties such as liver and brain damage, heart disease, breast cancer, violence and traffic crashes. With liver damage, women who abuse alcohol develop alcohol-induced liver disease in a shorter time period than men even if they consume less alcohol. Women are more likely to develop alcohol hepatitis and die from cirrhosis.

One of the common misconceptions is that alcoholics are people who drink often or drink daily. In actuality, a woman is an alcoholic when they can no longer control their drinking. There are also different types of alcoholism. Alcohol abuse and women may look like a woman drinking everyday as they think it makes them feel better and/or they use it to deal with everyday problems. In contrast, alcohol abuse and women may be alcoholics that drink periodically can be sober for long periods of time and are then enticed by alcohol and drinking which turns into an obsession. Once this temptation sets in, the alcoholic does not know how to personally control their drinking or stop themselves from drinking.

There are many communities that do not consider alcohol a drug, although it many, many was, it is. Like may other drug addicts, alcoholics can build a tolerance to their drug, alcohol, which makes them need more and more of their substance in order to get “high”. Alcohol abuse and women alcoholics build a tolerance to their drug, meaning that it takes increasingly greater amounts of alcohol to create the same feeling of euphoria. Alcohol abuse and women alcoholics can become physically and psychologically dependent. As it is stated, “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic” and is a terminal disease. This disease of alcoholism is not something that a persona suffering from can easily wish away or just get rid of. An alcoholic who is in recovery can successfully sober up, but may always be tempted by alcohol. To refrain from alcohol is the first step to maintaining sobriety and is not easily done.

Many people who suffer from alcoholism and alcohol abuse and women may have family members who are also suffering from the disease of alcoholism. If a woman has parents that are alcoholics, the unfortunate truth is that woman is predisposed to becoming an alcoholic than a person who does not have alcoholism in their immediate family. For that reason, alcoholism is often described as a recessive trait and scientists are currently examining whether or not there is some type of an alcoholic gene that can cause some people to become alcoholics and others not.

In the early stages of drinking and alcohol abuse and women there are often signs of liver damage as chronic alcohol abuse can lead to alcoholism thus exacerbating the toll on the body. Young female alcoholics put their unborn children at risk for fetal alcohol syndrome and drinking alcohol before or during a person’s puberty can greatly upset the hormonal balance that is needed to develop bones, muscles and organs.

Alcohol is the most abused substance in The United States, whether the user is at the legal age or not. Alcohol is the third leading cause of death nationwide and would be first if alcohol-induced motor-vehicle deaths were included. One in every 13 adults abuse alcohol which computes into roughly 14 million Americans who combat some type of alcohol abuse (7% of these are labeled alcoholics). Alcohol abuse and women and an alcoholic is someone whose physical and/or emotional dependence on alcohol prevents them from leading a normal life. There are four phases of alcoholism. In the pre-alcoholic phase a person may seek out alcohol in social situations and feel the need to relax before anxiety provoking events. That person may soon display the signs of alcoholism in women. The person may drink alone, experience memory lapses or blackouts, gulp drinks and generally feel guilty about their drinking. The third phase is where a person looses control of their drinking. Friends, work, school and family come second to alcohol. The person is physically dependent on alcohol and need alcohol to function normally. It is at this phase that a person could be diagnosed an alcoholic. The fourth stage is a chronic phase is which drinking starts early in the day, and the person is usually seen in a drunken state. A certain tolerance to alcohol may become noticeable.

Fortunately there are things being done for those suffering from alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, is a philosophically based organization with a strong emphasis on the idea that alcoholism is genetically based and that total alcohol abstinence is required for recovering alcoholics. Although AA is a program based on life-long commitment only 12% of participants remain in the program longer than three years. As well as AA, many hospitals now offer addiction medicine specialists who are available for teaching as well as consultations. Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, located in Southern California, is an established place of treatment for women suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction and eating disorders.

Eating Disorders and Body Image in Women

There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties, or you alter yourself to meet them.
– Phyllis Battome

Eating disorders are a big health care problem in the United States. Becoming a woman is filled with many challenges, especially in this day and age. We are often faced juggling school, family, friends, work, financial challenges, and, to top it all off, our own personal struggles within. All of the daily stressors are compounded by internal feelings of inadequacy, control, self-esteem while the world seems to dictate to us how we should look, act and respond to stress.

We live in a society (peers, school, religious group, work, doctors and the media) that tells the world that the ideal woman’s body should be skinny, even though very few women fit this “representation”. How can women escape these images and messages without having them shape our own perceptions of how we should look? The world seems to think that we can completely control our own body size and it is in our power to achieve this ideal body image. It is normal for some of us to have feelings of inadequacy and not feel completely confident with our bodies. To some, though, these thoughts can become invasive and obsessive leading to low self-esteem and eating disorders.

Eating Disorders take many forms, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, compulsive- overeating. Women who suffer from anorexia restrict their food intake and may regularly engage in binge-eating or purging behavior (i.e. self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas); women who suffer from bulimia have recurrent episodes of eating a larger quantity of food than most people in a given amount of time and feeling a sense of lack of control during these episode; women who suffer from compulsive-over eating have recurrent episodes of eating a larger quantity of food than most people in a given amount of time and feeling a sense of lack of control during these episodes. When a woman has an eating disorder the obsession with food and gaining weight can take over their life. Their thoughts and life controlled by feelings of a need to control their body image and control their intake of food.

What would seem to be normal everyday experiences for women become challenges: How can I eat out with friends and family? How can I restrain what I eat today? Where can I hide my food? How do I hide purging from everyone? This is all compounded by feelings of guilt, being less than, and isolation. These diseases can be overwhelming for the individual and seem impossible to understand by the outside world. The severity of this disease can lead to long-term health problems, mental deficiencies and even death. The difficult part of this disease is that despite knowing these consequences of the behavior, it seems impossible to change the relationship with food and body image.

Eating disorders have become an epidemic among teenage girls. Fueled in large part by the media’s promotion of thinness as a physical ideal for young women, experts say that the eating disorder problem has escalated over the past few decades. Girls are beginning to diet in elementary school and may be binging, purging, or starving before they are ten years old. This is one reason why some schools assign teachers breakfast and lunch duty; to make sure those students- not just little girls- are eating what they should be. Because eating disorders reflect complex psychological issues, there is no clear cause or solution to the problem. However, the experts do agree that there are clear connections between eating disorders and media influence.

The media is often quoted as a scapegoat for the increase in eating disorders. In Catherine Oxenberg’s opinion: “Women don’t set out to become anorexic, they begin by thinking they’re too fat because everywhere they go, the media is telling them that they are right” (www.CatherineOxenberg.net). This assumes that the causes of eating disorders are simply triggered by an individual feeling overweight, which is not the case. Eating disorders have many causes; some evidence suggests that eating disorders can exist without this pathological fear of being overweight. If these effects of the media are obvious, then why is it that only 1-3% of women suffer from an eating disorder? Or, are eating disorders a part of something deeper, a bigger problem?

Some experts do agree that eating disorders tend to be the symptom of larger psychological distress, and they are often accompanied by severe depression, self-mutilation (as in “cutting” practices), and other addictions. While many teenage girls eventually recover from their eating disorders to live a healthy lifestyle, many others continue their disordered eating habits. Some, up to 15%, will die. While eating disorders affect a large portion of the population, especially in the United States, most sufferers are, indeed, adolescent women. Again, due to a variety of factors, including peer pressure and exposure to mainstream fashion magazines, teenage girls seem uniquely susceptible to developing one of the manifestations of disordered eating. But remember the research; only 1-3%. Just as there is no agreed upon single cause for eating disorders, there is no exclusive cure for anorexia, bulimia, or compulsive overeating, but treatment usually includes some form of psychotherapy. Psychological treatment helps to align the mind back to what we refer to as “normal”. But what of the developmentally challenged?

Some eating disorders are also seen in the developmentally disabled child. Pediatric dysphasia is simply difficulty with swallowing, while rumination consists of bringing swallowed food up into the mouth, then chewing and swallowing the food a second time. Oral-motor problems with chewing and swallowing are seen, including an inability to chew, and sensory problems with smelling or seeing food, or sensing the texture of food also occur. Children often have an inability to chew food, and will pocket food in the cheeks. These problems can be coupled with tongue thrust problem, and sensory deprivation can cause trouble with eating. In cases like these which afflict developmentally disabled children, a specialized form of psychotherapy needs to be sought. Some experts argue that rumination, for instance, should not be labeled as an eating disorder because the “normal” person is able to chew his or her food. They stress that it should be confined to the identified developmentally challenged persons (www.anred.com)

Binge eating used to be thought of as gluttony; eating just because there was food to eat. Unlike binge drinking, binge eating is also classified as a psychological disorder. A binge eater eats for comfort, according to some sources. Other experts explain that binge eating begins when a person eats until they’re full. After a while, a person feels that they require more food to become full. This feeling is not entirely psychological, as the physiology of the stomach expanding assists the person to fall deeper into binge eating, which sometimes leads to obesity. Binge eating can also lead to bulimia, as the afflicted person will recognize that they are eating too much but do not wish to gain weight. It is not uncommon to diagnose a person with more than one eating disorder (www.health.gov).

Adolescents in particular, are a most vulnerable group and an increasing number suffer from anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders. Primarily a psychiatric condition, eating disorders can lead to serious consequences if they are not properly identified and treated. Statistics indicate that around .5% of adolescents are Anorexics while the prevalence of Bulimia nervosa is even higher ranging between .5% and 5.8%. Statistics also indicate that around 25% of colleges going women have a very high risk of developing eating disorders (www.anred.com, retrieved 11/15/05). However the exact figures of the number of people affected by these psychiatric conditions is still elusive, as most often, the disorder goes unidentified. Adolescents become easy victims to these disorders particularly in our western world where beauty is associated with slim and slender figures. In view of its wide prevalence and deranging effect on the physical and mental wellbeing of the affected individuals as well as the hidden nature of the disorder, it is imperative to increase the awareness about these psychiatric problems among the adolescent community.

To recover from an eating disorder, a woman needs to make a decision to do whatever it takes to change her relationship with her eating disorder including eating healthfully, attending meetings and finding a support group. At Safe Harbor, we realize that this is a difficult task, and we do not ask that you do this alone. We understand the pain and frustration that can come with recovery and know that recovery itself can seem impossible. The women at Safe Harbor are here to help you and guide you through the recovery process and help you sustain a health lifestyle and body image. We are here to help you make a true commitment to your health and move you along some of those difficult recovery roads.

We at Safe Harbor will help guide you from morning until night starting with a health breakfast and creating a food plan. We understand that eating properly can be the most difficult part of your recovery, so we offer other aspects to help such as individual sessions and group therapy with women who are walking through the same difficulties and trained staff. Our clinical staff is trained to work with young women who suffer with eating disorders and work with their clients on the underlying issues so that clients are able to break free from their disordered eating. We are here to help you get on a good cycle with food and yourself.

Women Drug and Alcohol

Addicted Women: Drug and Alcohol Dependence and Treatment

What is addiction?

Addiction is a disease of the mind and body that causes an individual to use drugs and alcohol excessively, persisting even when the results are detrimental to this individual’s life.  The disease of addiction is characterized by obsession with alcohol or drug use, a preoccupation which causes an addict to resort to any means to get high, even those illegal and immoral.

Alcoholism and drug addiction are two forms of the same chronic disease, a disease which plagues 8% of American men and women.  Drug and alcohol dependence infects both the body and the psyche, making it a complex affliction.  Physically, addiction manifests as the body growing accustomed to the presence of drugs or alcohol, thus redefining its baseline to include being under the influence.  Once the body comes to associate its drugged state with normalcy, it requires more than the usual quantity of drugs to achieve a “high,” a phenomenon usually described as an increasing tolerance.  When the body becomes accustomed to the presence of a drug, it is also in danger of experiencing withdrawal symptoms if the drug ceases to be ingested.  These symptoms can vary from mild to extremely severe depending on the substance in question.

The psychological aspect of the disease is just as real as the physical component for addicted men and women.  Drug and alcohol dependency causes a process to occur in the brain that is similar to the one which occurs in the body.  The mind grows accustomed to the presence of a drug, which alters the way it processes information and functions.  For most addicts, the altered state of consciousness achieved through drug use feels like a quick fix for deeper mental and emotional problems.  Getting high and drunk may numb these mental and emotional pains temporarily, but it does not cure them.  Once the brain becomes accustomed to the presence of drugs and alcohol, these substances are not as efficient as numbing agents, thus prompting increased drug use to achieve the same effect.  When use is stopped entirely, the addict is bombarded with painful thoughts and emotions that have been waiting on the back burner for years, sometimes decades.

How is addiction different for women than it is for men?

For roughly 2.7 million American women, drug and alcohol abuse is routine, making women the fastest-growing group of substance abusers in the country.  Though the disease of addiction has an equally severe effect on men and women, drug and alcohol dependence affects women in physically, mentally, and circumstantially grave manners that men tend to escape.

In the most basic physical terms, women get drunk and high faster than men due to lower body weight.  With respect to alcohol, women are particularly disadvantaged. Because the female body produces lower levels of Alcohol Dehydrogenase, the enzyme that metabolizes alcohol, they reach a higher blood alcohol concentration than men after the consuming the same amount of alcohol (even when differences in body weight are accounted for).  Studies also show that women become addicted to alcohol and drugs more quickly than men, and that women are likely to experience alcohol-related diseases like cirrhosis of the liver at a younger age than men with comparable drinking histories.  When comparing the physical effects of addiction and alcoholism in men and women, drug and alcohol abuse undoubtedly leaves women with the short end of the stick.

Addiction also takes a psychological toll on the many women affected by the disease.  Though depression is often a side effect of addiction for both men and women, drug and alcohol abuse is more likely to cause severe depression in addicted women.  Low self esteem, a mental condition which can easily create a self-perpetuating cycle of destructive behavior, is also disproportionately experienced by female alcoholics and addicts.

Studies also report differences in the circumstances which led to alcoholism and addiction for men and women, drug and alcohol abuse presenting a welcome escape from family violence and incest for a large percentage of female addicts.  These tragic circumstances tend to repeat themselves in the adult lives of addicted women, who report extremely high incidence of physical and sexual abuse by romantic partners.

Rehabilitation for Women: Drug and Alcohol Treatment at Safe Harbor

Once alcohol and drug addicted women come to terms with the fact that they need help,  they face new obstacles in committing to treatment.  A profound social stigma against coming clean about addiction faces women, drug and alcohol abuse being viewed traditionally as a problem that affects men.  Domestic duties as wives, mothers and caregivers present barriers between women and the prospect of entering a treatment program.  It is important for these women to face the fact that they cannot live up to their responsibilities in any of these roles if they do not address their addiction first.

All of these distinct aspects of addiction as it affects women make clear the dire need for treatment geared specifically toward the female experience of addiction.  Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women in Costa Mesa, California is a rehabilitation program designed especially for women who want to leave alcohol and drugs behind them and begin a new and healthy life.

Through a multilateral treatment program, Safe Harbor works to help women heal the wounds inflicted by addiction, as well as the wounds that persist from long before the first drink or drug.  Structured therapeutic groups, individual counseling, life skills development and uplifting social activities allow women at Safe Harbor Treatment Center to subtract alcohol and drugs from their lives, while simultaneously adding new healthy and enriching elements.

For Safe Harbor’s courageous family of women, drug and alcohol dependence and the profound desire to overcome them are the fibers that hold the community together.  With alcohol and drugs out of their lives, many women who complete Safe Harbor’s 90-day treatment program choose to dedicate themselves to being of service to newly sober women in the community, making use of their natural talent as caregivers.  Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women understands the tumultuous lives that female alcoholics and addicts lead, and is dedicated to providing a safe haven in which these women can heal and rediscover themselves in sobriety.

Women Recovery Center

Addicted Women: Recovery Center Treatment Programs

Addiction is a grave disease that has a devastating affect on all who suffer from it.  For both men and women, recovery center programs offer addicts and alcoholics the best odds of success in recovery.  For women, recovery center programs are especially beneficial, providing a safe and nurturing setting in which they are able to explore the underlying core issues behind their drug and alcohol problems.

The disease of addiction:

In order to understand the importance of treatment, it is necessary to first understand the disease of addiction.  Addiction and alcoholism, two forms of the same chronic disease, affect not only the body, but also the psyche.  The general public has a fairly accurate concept of what physical addiction looks like.  With regular intake, the body grows accustomed to the presence of a drug, adjusting its definition of normality to include the effects of the drug.

This physical adjustment is responsible for the two most notable physical characteristics of addiction: tolerance and withdrawal.  When the body is used to a certain level of intoxication, more and more drugs become necessary to achieve the same high.  This phenomenon is known as increasing tolerance.  Withdrawal stems from the same principle, causing the body to panic when drugs cease to enter the system.  Withdrawal symptoms range from unpleasant to extremely painful and dangerous.  The withdrawal process should be medically supervised for all men and women – recovery center programs ensure that patients are safe during this period.

The mental component of addiction is less widely understood, and is often denied completely.  Alcohol and drug addiction is dismissed by many people as a symptom of poor decision-making, when in fact it is a complex mental condition that drives a person to use drugs in excess.  The initial motivation to use alcohol and drugs is often the desire to numb some type of psychic pain.  Depression, severe anxiety, past trauma, and many other mental conditions can make escape through substances an appealing prospect.  Most addicts are dual-diagnosed with drug addiction or alcoholism as well as another psychological condition.  On top of these coexisting conditions, there are numerous psychological problems that can develop as a result of prolonged drug abuse, such as paranoia, low self esteem, suicidal thoughts, and dissociation.  The psychological component of addiction is undeniable and must be addressed if treatment is to be successful.  At a long-term treatment facility like Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, recovery center programming addresses not only substance abuse, but all psychological issues that relate to addiction.

Treatment for women: Recovery center programs

Female addicts and alcoholics have many of the same experiences as their male counterparts, but there are certain aspects of a woman’s experience as an addict or alcoholic that are unique.  All too often female addicts come to treatment with a history of physical and/or sexual abuse, experiences that make their recovery contingent on feeling secure enough to work through trauma.  An all women recovery center setting offers women who come to Safe Harbor the safe and nurturing environment they need during this difficult period of self-exploration.  Female addicts and alcoholics also tend to struggle with body image, eating disorders, and sex and love addiction, all vulnerable topics which cannot be addressed in the presence of men.

As an added benefit of keeping treatment exclusive to women, recovery center programs that offer all-female settings eliminate the distraction the opposite sex can create in early sobriety.  The first stage of recovery is a vulnerable time, where women normally experience insecurity about the changes their bodies undergo as they transition into a healthy lifestyle.  Concern about appearance is multiplied tenfold when men are present, as attention from the opposite sex is an easy form of validation.  By isolating women. recovery center programs like Safe Harbor’s provide clients with a temporary home in which they can focus on what is really important: learning how to live clean and sober.

For Safe Harbor’s women, recovery center life is based on self-discovery.  Some of this self-discovery happens within the structured therapeutic groups that make up the bulk of the daily schedule, but much of it also takes place in the in between moments where Safe Harbor’s women communicate with one another casually.  Sometimes women learn about themselves by discovering common experiences that they have gone through, and sometimes they learn about themselves through the very act of trying to relate to one another effectively.

At Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, recovery center programming is made up of therapeutic groups, individual counseling, 12-step work, life skills development, and uplifting social activities.  Structured groups cover topics like relapse prevention, healthy relationships, nutrition, body image and eating disorders.  Daily group counseling sessions function as a space for women to process interactions and emotions that arise naturally during the recovery process.  Particularly important for women with past trauma, group hypnotherapy and experiential therapy provide opportunities for clients to explore aspects of their psychology that they may not be able to access voluntarily.  Safe Harbor’s multilateral program of recovery is designed with the intent of healing the wounds caused by drug and alcohol abuse, and simultaneously spurring mental, emotional and spiritual growth.

What sets Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women apart from other facilities of its type is its incredibly strong and unified community.  Unlike other 90-day treatment programs, Safe Harbor encourages its clients to move into one of the associated sober living homes upon completing the treatment program.  The majority of women who come through Safe Harbor’s treatment program take this opportunity, choosing to live in Safe Harbor sober living until they have accomplished a year of sobriety.  While in sober living, these women make a daily commitment to act as mentors to Safe Harbor’s newer generations of women, spending time at the treatment center on a regular basis.  Many of Safe Harbor’s alumnae go on to become support staff, and all of the case managers and resident managers are women in recovery from alcoholism or addiction, making them relatable role models for women beginning the journey into sobriety.

Safe Harbor is a one-of-a-kind community of women working together to leave alcohol and drugs behind them as they walk into a sober and healthy life.  Any woman looking for a new beginning has a home waiting for her at Safe Harbor.

Womens Trauma Recovery Program

Overcome PTSD in a Women’s Trauma Recovery Program

For women suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, finding help in a women’s trauma recovery program is nothing less than an opportunity to begin a new life.

What causes PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition that causes those it affects to live in perpetual fear of re-experiencing past traumatic events. Traumatic experiences can take an infinite number of forms, but tend to involve either a physical violation or a violation of an individual’s understanding of the world. Many who suffer from PTSD are survivors of physical or sexual abuse, but there are also many individuals whose PTSD results from verbal or emotional abuse (including neglect). PTSD can also be caused by involvement in natural disasters or other situations of mass chaos, as well as witnessing acts of violence committed against another person.

Though there are certain types of experiences that tend to result in post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma is an individual plight. This means that one person may develop PTSD after enduring the same situation as another who is able to continue life normally. By the same token, there is no guarantee that a certain experience will result in PTSD. Regardless of the specific traumatic events that cause PTSD, those who suffer from the condition find their lives greatly encumbered by the constant threat of reliving their most horrific experiences.

Though PTSD affects both genders, the majority of the population that suffers from PTSD is female. For these women, treatment in a women’s trauma recovery program is essential to finding happiness and serenity. In order to understand why treatment is so crucial, it is necessary to first understand the specific ways that PTSD manifests in women’s lives.

As previously discussed, the primary symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder is the continuous re-experiencing of traumatic events. This phenomenon, commonly known as a “flashback,” can be triggered by any sensory input that brings to mind the circumstance in which the original traumatic experience took place. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and physical sensations can all trigger a flashback. Many times, the individual will be unsure of what triggered a flashback. This is because sensory memories tend to be stored deep in the subconscious, and are not necessarily available to us at will. They arise when they are called forward by familiar situations, as in the case of a flashback to past trauma.

It is very common for women with PTSD to experience recurring nightmares about past traumatic experiences, which makes sleep a threatening prospect, often resulting in insomnia. Because re-experiencing trauma is such an emotionally exhausting feat, the brain of a trauma victim sometimes learns to shut itself off entirely from stimuli that might cause flashbacks. The mind does this as a means of self-preservation, but the result puts the individual in a constantly dissociative state. Trauma victims who tend to dissociate may appear “zoned out” or disconnected. Though it may seem that this numbed out state is less harmful than the alternative (i.e. continuous emotional turmoil), dissociation is also a life-altering barrier that can only be broken down in a women’s trauma recovery program.

How does a women’s trauma recovery program treat PTSD?

PTSD is a complex affliction that affects a woman on many levels. For those whose trauma involved a physical violation, PTSD tends to have significant physical manifestations. Even when trauma did not involve direct physical assault, PTSD can cause fear of physical closeness or intimacy, as these situations by nature make people vulnerable. In all cases of PTSD there are profound psychological effects – some which the trauma victim may be aware of, and others that dwell far beneath the surface of consciousness. Because PTSD causes disturbances in so many areas of life, an effective women’s trauma recovery program takes a multilateral approach to treatment.

One of the many aspects of an effective women’s trauma recovery program is working to identify potential triggers, gradually cultivating strategies to avoid them when possible and cope with them when they must be faced. The gradual nature of this process is very significant. Because trauma is essentially a violation, trauma treatment must happen on the patient’s own terms. If patients are forced into exploration of traumatic experiences before they feel comfortable treatment will not only be unproductive, but can constitute further trauma.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the generally accepted standard treatment for PTSD, and is therefore a typical part of any women’s trauma recovery program. The cognitive-behavioral approach to PTSD treatment essentially functions by working with each patient individually to assess common triggers, thoughts and feelings during and after a flashback, and the specifics of other symptoms that may be troubling her. After working one-on-one with each patient, allowing her to become more aware of the form her PTSD takes, cognitive-behavioral therapists develop a personalized plan for intervening and changing the problematic patterns. This plan will generally include practicing coping mechanisms such as relaxation and distraction techniques.

Hypnotherapy, experiential therapy, equine therapy and art therapy are less direct treatment techniques, but can be extremely helpful for women who are not yet ready to face their trauma head-on. A comprehensive women’s trauma recovery program will make use of these alternative therapies with the knowledge that they can act as catalysts for self-discovery and healing.

Another alternative therapeutic technique that is used in PTSD treatment is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, commonly known as EMDR. This technique, like cognitive-behavioral therapy, seeks to open up patterns of thought and restructure them. EMDR utilizes a highly structured protocol to transform memories of traumatic experiences by creating new connections within the brain between these memories and fresh positive information. If therapy is successful, the brain is fundamentally altered so that memories of trauma are no longer distressing and can be processed mentally without panic.

Life beyond trauma:

PTSD is a debilitating condition to live with. Unfairly, it results from situations for which the victim has no culpability. Still, no one but the individual who suffers from PTSD can absorb the responsibility of recovering. With the help of a women’s trauma recovery program, a new life is available to any woman who chooses to leave PTSD behind her.

PTSD in Women

PTSD in women, usually caused by abuse, is a life-impeding mental condition. Women who suffer from PTSD live their lives in constant fear of reliving their most horrific memories, an experience that happens regularly and can be triggered by almost anything. PTSD in women is persistent and will not subside until it is properly treated. Treatment for PTSD is a long-term process, and does not yield immediate results.  It may also involve a great deal of emotional work on the part of the patient. However, entering treatment is the only strategy proven effective as a cure for PTSD in women.

WHAT EXACTLY IS PTSD?

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental condition that arises in many individuals after exposure to or involvement in profoundly disturbing situations. These situations, which can be referred to as traumatic events, can be dramatically diverse. One woman may develop PTSD after an incident of sexual or domestic abuse. Another may experience PTSD as the result of long-term neglect as a child. Still others may struggle with the disorder after surviving a natural disaster or near-death experience.  Because trauma is an internal phenomenon, it is not dictated by the actuality of an experience, but by the individual’s reaction it.  For this reason, two people may develop equally severe cases of PTSD as the result of experiences, which seem from the outside to differ significantly in degree of trauma. Similarly, two people who survive the same traumatic experience may have different psychological reactions, one of them developing PSTD while the other continues to live normally.

PTSD in women manifests by way of persistent flashbacks to past traumatic events. These flashbacks can be triggered by any sensory input that resembles the environment where the original event occurred.  Essentially, this means that a woman with PTSD must be constantly vigilant of her surroundings, else she be suddenly transported back to the most terrible experiences of her life. Because this prospect is so threatening, PTSD in women can also cause reclusiveness and social anxiety. Many women attempt to keep flashbacks in check by simply remaining at home, where surroundings are controlled and predictable.  No person should have to live this way.

The other extreme symptom of PTSD in women is dissociation. Dissociation, a disconnecting of the mind from any emotional register of a person’s surroundings, functions as a protective barrier against stimuli that might trigger a flashback. The mind dissociates as a means of self-preservation, but it does not have the capacity to predict the problems this coping technique can cause in the long run. While PTSD sufferers who have a tendency to dissociate are able to leave their homes without risking unexpected flashbacks, they face the serious risk of completely losing the ability to access emotions and memories that are stored within their own minds.

TREATING PTSD IN WOMEN

When treating PTSD in women, dissociative patterns are a huge barrier that must be overcome before any real progress can be made. Gradually and carefully, the emotions and memories that these women have buried for so long must be excavated. This process is inevitably painful, and can traumatize a person further if executed poorly. Because trauma is essentially a violation, trauma treatment must proceed in a manner that does not compromise the patient’s sense of safety. Though some parts of PTSD treatment will be emotionally uncomfortable for those who have grown accustomed to lack of emotion, it is extremely important that this discomfort is limited by a slow and steady treatment progression. If a patient is forced into emotional or mental territory where they do not feel secure, they will once more shut down emotionally, nullifying any progress that has been made up to that point.

METHODOLOGY IN TREATING PTSD IN WOMEN

There are several methods of treating PTSD in women that have proven success, especially when applied in conjunction with one another. The standard model for PTSD treatment is the cognitive-behavioral model.  In this type of therapy, a trauma victim works one-on-one with a psychologist to inventory and assess traumatic experiences and their affects on the patient’s ability to function in the present. Once this thorough assessment is complete, the therapist begins to provide coping techniques that the patient can implement when she is exposed to stimuli that have the potential to trigger a flashback. Through breathing patterns, self-affirmation mantras, distraction techniques and other tools, the patient begins to rewire her own brain in such a way that flashback-triggering stimuli lose their power.

The cognitive-behavioral model of PTSD treatment is proven to work, but many trauma victims come into treatment in such a state of collapse that they are completely unprepared to begin the first segment of the process, which involves extensive communication about traumatic experiences. For these patients, alternative therapies like art therapy, experiential therapy and equine therapy are incredibly productive.  These practices allow patients to explore the memories and emotions surrounding past trauma in an indirect fashion. Because trauma is a profoundly visceral experience, memories of trauma often fail to fit cleanly into a verbal description.  Expression through alternative means can help patients come to terms with their history of trauma, preparing them for the next step in recovery.

Other types of therapeutic practice that have proven successful as components of a PTSD treatment program are hypnotherapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).  These two practices utilize distinct methods to access trauma in the subconscious mind, and aim to reprogram the brain so that stimuli, which once induced panic, will instead trigger rational and calming thoughts.

LIFE BEYOND PTSD

Trauma victims who develop PTSD are in no way culpable for the the events that led to their mental disease, however they are the only ones who have the power to change it.  Unlike physical illnesses, PTSD can only be treated by means of the patient’s willingness to engage in an emotionally and mentally painful process.  In order to experience life beyond PTSD, a patient must have the courage to first endure the vulnerable period that constitutes the first phase of recovery.  Any woman suffering from PTSD will know that the prospect of freedom from past trauma is more than worth the journey.

At Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women and Safe Harbor’s Capella, these issues and others, such as sex and love addiction, are addressed based on the client’s needs. Safe Harbor is a loving community of women that grow together in sobriety. If you, or someone you know, are suffering from the grips of PTSD, drug and alcohol abuse, or any of the aforementioned mental health disorders, call us today at 877-660-7623. We are here to help.

Women with Eating Disorders

Women with Eating disorders are a big health care problem in the United States. Becoming a woman is filled with many challenges, especially in this day and age. We are often faced juggling school, family, friends, work, financial challenges, and, to top it all off, our own personal struggles within. All of the daily stressors are compounded by internal feelings of inadequacy, control, self-esteem while the world seems to dictate to us how we should look, act and respond to stress.

We live in a society (peers, school, religious group, work, doctors and the media) that tells the world that the ideal woman’s body should be rail-thin, even though very few women fit this “representation”. How can women with eating disorders escape these images and messages without having women shape their own perceptions of how every woman should look? The world seems to think that women can completely control their own body size and it is in a woman’s power to achieve this ideal body image. It is normal for some women to have feelings of inadequacy and not feel completely confident with our bodies. To some, though, these thoughts can become invasive and obsessive leading to low self-esteem for women with eating disorders.

Women with Eating Disorders take many forms, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and compulsive overeating. Women with eating disorders who suffer from anorexia restrict their food intake and may regularly engage in binge-eating or purging behavior (i.e. self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas). Women with eating disorders who suffer from bulimia have recurrent episodes of eating a larger quantity of food than most people in a given amount of time and feeling a sense of lack of control during these episodes. Women who suffer from compulsive overeating have recurrent episodes of eating a larger quantity of food than most people in a given amount of time and feeling a sense of lack of control during these episodes.

Women with eating disorders have the obsession with food and gaining weight can take over their life. Their thoughts and life controlled by feelings of a need to control their body image and control their intake of food.

What would seem to be normal everyday experiences for women become challenges for women with eating disorders: How can I eat out with friends and family? How can I restrain what I eat today? Where can I hide my food? How do I hide purging from everyone? This is all compounded by feelings of guilt, being less than, and isolation. These diseases can be overwhelming for the individual and seem impossible to understand by the outside world. The severity of this disease can lead to long-term health problems, mental deficiencies and even death. The difficult part of this disease is that despite knowing these consequences of the behavior, it seems impossible to change the relationship with food and body image.

Women with eating disorders have become an epidemic, especially among teenage girls. Fueled in large part by the media’s promotion of thinness as a physical ideal for young women, experts say that the problem of women with eating disorders has escalated over the past few decades. Girls are beginning to diet in elementary school and may be binging, purging, or starving before they are ten years old. This is one reason why some schools assign teachers breakfast and lunch duty; to make sure those students- not just little girls- are eating what they should be. Because women with eating disorders reflect complex psychological issues, there is no clear cause or solution to the problem. However, experts do agree that there are clear connections between women with eating disorders and media influence.

The media is often quoted as a scapegoat for the increase in women with eating disorders. In Catherine Oxenberg’s opinion: “Women (with eating disorders) don’t set out to become anorexic, they begin by thinking they’re too fat because everywhere they go, the media is telling them that they are right” (www.CatherineOxenberg.net). This assumes that the causes of women with eating disorders are simply triggered by an individual feeling overweight, which is not the case. Women with eating disorders have many causes; some evidence suggests that eating disorders can exist without this pathological fear of being overweight. If these effects of the media are obvious, then why is it that only 1-3 percent of women suffer from an eating disorder? Or, are women with eating disorders a part of something deeper, a bigger problem?

Some experts do agree that women with eating disorders tend to be the symptom of larger psychological distress, and they are often accompanied by severe depression, self-mutilation (as in “cutting” practices), and other addictions. While many teenage girls eventually recover from their eating disorders to live a healthy lifestyle, many others continue their disordered eating habits. Some, up to 15 percent, will die. While women with eating disorders affect a large portion of the population, especially in the United States, most sufferers are, indeed, adolescent women. Again, due to a variety of factors, including peer pressure and exposure to mainstream fashion magazines, teenage girls seem uniquely susceptible to developing one of the manifestations of disordered eating. But remember the research; only 1-3 percent. Just as there is no agreed upon single cause for women with eating disorders, there is no exclusive cure for anorexia, bulimia, or compulsive overeating, but treatment usually includes some form of psychotherapy. Psychological treatment helps to align the mind back to what we refer to as “normal”.

For women with eating disorders, binge eating used to be thought of as gluttony; eating just because there was food to eat. Unlike binge drinking, binge eating is also classified as a psychological disorder. A binge eater eats for comfort, according to some sources. Other experts explain that binge eating begins when a person eats until they’re full. After a while, women with eating disorders feel that they require more food to become full. This feeling is not entirely psychological, as the physiology of the stomach expanding assists the person to fall deeper into binge eating, which sometimes leads to obesity. Binge eating can also lead to bulimia, as the afflicted person will recognize that they are eating too much but do not wish to gain weight. It is not uncommon to diagnose a person with more than one eating disorder (www.health.gov).

For women with eating disorders to recover, a woman needs to make a decision to do whatever it takes to change her relationship with her eating disorder including eating healthfully, attending meetings and finding a support group. At Safe Harbor Treatment Center for women, which specializes in dual-diagnosis and co-occuring addictions, we realize that this is a difficult task, and we do not ask that you do this alone. We understand the pain and frustration that can come with recovery and know that recovery itself can seem impossible. The women at Safe Harbor are here to help you and guide women with eating disorders through the recovery process and help you sustain a health lifestyle and body image. We are here to help women with eating disorders make a true commitment to health and move women along some of those difficult recovery roads.

We at Safe Harbor will help guide you from morning until night starting with a health breakfast and creating a food plan. We understand that eating properly can be the most difficult part of recovery for women with women with eating disorders, so we offer other aspects to help such as individual sessions and group therapy with women with eating disorders who are walking through the same difficulties and trained staff. Our clinical staff is trained to work with young women who suffer with eating disorders and work with their clients on the underlying issues so that clients are able to break free from their disordered eating. We are here to help women with eating disorders get on a good cycle with food and yourself.

Orange County Treatment Center

ORANGE COUNTY TREATMENT CENTER: Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women

Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women is the premiere Orange County treatment center for women suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction. At Safe Harbor, women have the opportunity to heal the wounds inflicted by addiction and move forward into a healthy and rewarding new life.

Safe Harbor’s 90-day rehab program constitutes the beginning of this new life. The first month of treatment, an extremely difficult period for a newly sober addict or alcoholic, is highly structured, ensuring that clients absorb a plethora of information about how to succeed in recovery. After the initial discomfort of being in new surroundings wears off, clients find themselves amongst a loving and nurturing family of women, all fighting to better their lives. As members of this warm community, clients begin to engage in their own program of recovery by making commitments to help out at 12-step meetings and becoming active mentors to women newer to sobriety than themselves.

WHY CHOOSE AN ORANGE COUNTY TREATMENT CENTER?

It is extremely helpful in early recovery to place some geographical distance between the addict and her drug-using network. Relocation alone is not enough to ensure sobriety, but it can be a significant factor in successful recovery. Taking people, places and things that addicts associate with using out of the picture for a while insulates them from potential triggers and allows them to focus on recovery. Selecting an Orange County treatment center does just that for women from all over the country.

Since addicts and their families often decide that relocation is a good idea, many of them choose California for its combination of reputable rehabilitation options and uplifting weather. An Orange County treatment center has the added appeal of the ocean, which has long been viewed as a soothing and healing natural force. Located just a bike-ride from the beach, Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women offers an idyllic backdrop for recovery.

Safe Harbor’s Costa Mesa location is also the prime location for a second reason. The Newport – Costa Mesa area offers the most 12-step meetings of any single region in the world, New York and Los Angeles included. The recovery community is everywhere in the city, giving Costa Mesa something of a small-town feel. Women who move into Safe Harbor’s sober living houses after completing the 90-day treatment program will find that they know a barista in every Starbucks, a cashier in their favorite local shops, and a server at all the neighborhood restaurants – all through the 12-step network. Only an Orange County treatment center can offer this amazing resource.

WHAT MAKES SAFE HARBOR UNIQUE?

Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women is not the only Orange County treatment center, but its strong and connected community sets it apart from all others. Women who complete the 90-day treatment program find that their peers become some of the closest friends they have ever had, and the staff become inspiring role models. More often than not, women who come through the treatment program choose to move into one of Safe Harbor’s sober living houses, and many continue on to become staff members themselves. The bonds formed within the Safe Harbor community are incredibly strong, and hold fast through thick and thin. Any woman who goes through the treatment program will always have a home at Safe Harbor, and a family of sober women to support her.

WHAT KIND OF TREATMENT WILL BE RECEIVED AT SAFE HARBOR?

As the premiere Orange County treatment center, Safe Harbor’s 90-day treatment program employs a combination of structured groups, individual counseling, uplifting social activities and opportunities to practice life skills. Educational groups focus on a wide variety of topics, including relapse prevention, healthy relationships, body image and eating disorders. In these groups women have the opportunity to share their experiences, and counselors help them learn how to approach these areas of their lives with healthier thinking.

More psychologically provocative groups like hypnotherapy and experiential therapy are also a part of the program. These groups, in combination with individual therapy, help to unearth and address core issues that preempted alcohol and drug abuse. For most alcoholics and drug addicts, there was an identifiable condition or experience in childhood or adolescence that made escape via drugs and alcohol such a tempting prospect. Preexisting psychological conditions like anxiety disorder, chronic depression and PTSD are common examples. Loss of a family member, physical or sexual abuse, and ostracism by peers at school are also common reasons that a woman will turn to drugs and alcohol. These experiences themselves are not what makes a person an alcoholic or drug addict, but the inability to cope with them in a healthy manner is one of addiction’s defining characteristics.  By using therapy as a tool to begin working through these repressed issues, addicts and alcoholics can achieve the freedom that they tried to access through substances.

Though it is sometimes ignored as an aspect of recovery, learning (or re-learning) practical life skills is crucial.  For younger women who may never have learned some of these skills, buying groceries, cooking for themselves, doing laundry, and keeping track of their own money are new and unfamiliar tasks.  Learning how to do these things helps these younger women feel confident about stepping into a sober adulthood. For women who did at one point possess these life skills, drugs and alcohol often stood in the way of self-sufficiency, making it useful to re-learn them in a controlled setting.

Relaxing social activities punctuate all of this difficult “growing,” making sure that the women in Safe Harbor’s treatment program understand that sobriety has plenty to offer in the way of fun. Hikes along the cliffs of the Newport coast, afternoons at the beach, family dinners, and bi-monthly trips to the spa for manicures and pedicures keep life enjoyable at Safe Harbor’s Orange County treatment center.

For women who need to put down roots in a new location, an Orange County treatment center offers the ideal setting, and Safe Harbor offers a multifaceted program of recovery coupled with unparalleled community support.

Drug Rehab For Women

ADDICTION: THE GREAT EQUALIZER

Drug addiction is a chronic disease that, if untreated, destroys the lives of those it affects. The disease of addiction pays no mind to gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or any other outside identifier – it affects people from every walk of life.

Despite the fact that these identifying factors do not decide who becomes an addict, they can subtly influence the way that addiction affects a person. In the case of gender, the differences are pronounced.  Drug and alcohol addiction has a detrimental effect on both men and women, but the specifics are distinct, making drug rehab for women a separate endeavor than drug rehab for men.

THE FEMALE ADDICT

Women who have a long history of drug abuse generally have not led easy lives. Studies indicate that 70 percent of such women have suffered physical or sexual abuse, some of which may have led indirectly to the initial use of drugs, and other of which may have resulted from the unhealthy lifestyle that tends to come with drug addiction.  Low self-esteem and depression, which are also prominent in women who abuse drugs, are similar in that they manifest as both causal agents and consequences of drug abuse. Women also report more often than men that one or both parents suffered from drug addiction or alcoholism. The psychological impact of living as a female drug addict is extreme, and is something that female addicts have the opportunity to work through in drug rehab for women.

Physically, the female body is at a disadvantage when it comes to drugs and alcohol. Research shows that women become addicted to certain drugs, such as crack cocaine, much more quickly than men. On a basic level, women tend to be smaller than men, meaning that the same amount of drugs or alcohol will cause more destruction in the female body than it will in the male body. Furthermore, the female body is comprised of a significantly larger percentage of fat cells, which store substances for long periods of time, increasing the damage sustained by the body. Physical consequences of long-term drug use in women commonly include poor nutrition and low weight, and often span to serious medical conditions like high blood pressure and heart rate, and infectious diseases like hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.

DRUG REHAB FOR WOMEN

Too often, drug-addicted women do not receive the help they desperately need, in part because the prospect of entering drug rehab for women can be intimidating. Women often feel that they have responsibilities they would be neglecting by going into treatment – they feel bound to the home by their role as a wife or mother. They may also fear rejection by spouses or boyfriends who continue to use drugs, oftentimes the very people who introduced them to their lifestyle of drug abuse. As with all addicts, coming out into the open as a person who needs help feels vulnerable, and poses the risk of judgment by friends, family, coworkers and community members.

Though the disease of addiction is grave, and it is difficult to admit to needing help, women who have lost control over their lives due to drugs and alcohol have the chance to start over by entering drug rehab for women. Safe Harbor Treatment Center, located in Costa Mesa, California, utilizes a multilateral approach to help drug-addicted women get their lives back. Through a combination of structured therapeutic groups, individual counseling, 12-step meetings, and opportunities to cultivate healthy life skills, Safe Harbor’s treatment program allows women to heal and reinvent themselves.

GENDER-SPECIFIC TREATMENT: WHY IT WORKS BEST

Until recently, it was presumed that drug rehab for women was essentially the same process as drug rehab for men. The body of individuals seeking drug treatment tends to be 60 percent male and 40 percent female, which makes it tempting to generalize programming to suit both sexes, defaulting to the male perspective. Refusing to acknowledge aspects of addiction that are exclusive to women makes women feel that certain emotions and ideas that are not openly discussed are cause for shame. By neglecting the opportunity to talk about the female experience of drug addiction and alcoholism, treatment programs give women the impression that issues like abuse, eating disorders, and sex and love addiction are separate problems. This is not the case. All unhealthy behavioral patterns are linked to the disease of addiction, a disease which causes unhealthy modes of thinking and action.

Safe Harbor Treatment Center aims to fully embrace its role as a drug rehab for women and women only.  Safe Harbor’s treatment program addresses not only substance abuse, however the multitude of ways that addictive thinking can sabotage a woman’s life.  In most cases, addictive thinking shows itself early in life, long before a woman ingests her first drink or drug. Group and individual therapy sessions help women to identify early patterns of unhealthy thinking and behavior, helping them to understand that the disease of addiction needs to be treated from the roots up. It is only by acknowledging and working through core issues that thought patterns can be reformed, and it is only by reforming thought patterns that a woman can hope to eliminate drugs from her life forever.

Successful drug rehab for women does not stop abruptly after the completion of a 30 or 90 day program. A continuing relationship with mentors and peers that a woman grows close to in treatment will help her stay sober as she begins to transition back into the real world. The majority of women who complete Safe Harbor’s 90-day program of drug rehab for women choose to move into one of Safe Harbor’s sober living homes until they accomplish a year of sobriety. The sober living program allows women to move back toward a normal lifestyle, taking on employment, schooling, and other responsibilities, while maintaining a familiar support network.  As life changes drastically it is more important than ever to have these constant elements of strength in recovery.

A NEW LIFE AWAITS…

When a woman decides she has had enough of the degradation drugs and alcohol have caused, she can find help, hope and companionship in a women’s drug rehabilitation program.  At Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, a sisterhood of women who strive to overcome the disease of addiction together. Any female addict who wishes to better her life will find that she has a place in the family.

Womens Addiction Treatment

Women’s addiction treatment begins with understanding the importance of drug and alcohol treatment in a gender-specific environment. Gender-specific recovery programs are especially important when treating drug addiction and alcoholism in women.

UNDERSTANDING DRUG ADDICTION

Drug addiction is a complex illness characterized by intense and, at times, uncontrollable drug craving, along with compulsive drug seeking and use that persist even in the face of devastating consequences. While the path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs, over time a person’s ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised, and seeking and consuming the drug becomes compulsive. This behavior results largely from the effects of prolonged drug exposure on brain functioning. Addiction is a brain disease that affects multiple brain circuits, including those involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and inhibitory control over behavior.

Because drug abuse and addiction have so many dimensions and disrupt so many aspects of an individual’s life, women’s addiction treatment is not simple. Effective women’s addiction treatment programs must help the individual stop using drugs, maintain a drug-free lifestyle, and achieve productive functioning in the family, at work, and in society. Because addiction is typically a chronic disease, people cannot simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured. Most patients require long-term women’s addiction treatment center or repeated episodes of care to achieve the ultimate goal of sustained abstinence and recovery of their lives.

WOMEN’S ADDICTION TREATMENT: GENDER-SPECIFIC ENVIRONMENTS

Research has shown that women exhibit more depression and suicidal tendencies when battling with drug addiction and alcoholism and also may suffer from co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, panic attacks, eating disorders and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). They also have a higher rate of exposure to domestic violence, whether in their childhood or current relationship. For many women, alcohol is the way to medicate to avoid these issues. For the female alcoholic to have a significant chance at recovery, she must first uncover the reasons she uses or drinks.

The rate of co-occurring drug addiction and other psychiatric disorders is relatively high for women. For example, data from a study on female crime victims showed that those suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) were 17 times more likely to have substance abuse problems than non-victims. For women a high correlation appears also to exist between eating disorders and drug or alcohol addiction (as many as 55 percent of bulimic patients are reported to have drug and alcohol use problems). Conversely, 15-40 percent of females with drug addiction or alcohol problems have been reported to have eating disorder syndromes, usually involving binge eating.

The 90-day women’s addiction treatment program at Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women provides a safe environment where a woman can address her drug addiction, alcoholism or her co-occurring mental disorders without the shame and stigma usually felt in a co-ed environment. Another advantage of gender-specific women’s addiction treatment programs is that they allow a woman a secure and nurturing environment where she can learn about herself, why she drinks, why she uses and why she avoids. At Safe Harbor’s women’s addiction treatment program, each woman is put on an individualized recovery path and is supported through the process of finding the core of her emotional and spiritual self.

Medication and behavioral therapy are also important elements of the overall therapeutic process in the women’s addiction treatment program at Safe Harbor. The process may need to begin with detoxification, followed by treatment and relapse prevention. Easing withdrawal symptoms can be important in the initiation of treatment; preventing relapse is necessary for maintaining its effects. Behavioral treatments help our women engage in the treatment process, modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse, and increase healthy life skills.

WHY WOMEN’S ADDICTION TREATMENT?

The addiction faced by individuals who find themselves in such a predicament is twofold – its grip is both physiological and psychological.  With regular consumption of any foreign substance, the mind and body adjust their definitions of normality so that intoxication becomes the expected default state. If addicts attempt to suddenly discontinue using the substance to which their mind and body are addicted, they will experience frightening reactions from both of these systems.  The body will respond, depending on the substance in question, by producing feelings ranging from discomfort to severe pain.  With some substances, such as opiates, alcohol, and benzodiazepines, detoxification of the body is extremely dangerous if not done under medical supervision. In women’s addiction treatment, LA and elsewhere, medically regulated detoxification is provided as the first segment of treatment.

Mentally, a similar panic takes place upon rapid cessation of substance intake. Accustomed to a state of intoxication, the mind is unsure of how to read and interpret signals without the substance it has grown used to.  Dopamine and serotonin levels are also skewed.  These phenomena add up to a high likelihood of emotional imbalance and intense fear in the initial phase of detoxification.  Mental and emotional instability will persist until the mind reestablishes equilibrium, another reason that addicts are safest sobering up in addiction treatment.  LA and surrounding areas offer the finest treatment programs, which allow addicts a safe detoxification process as well as the strong rehabilitative curriculum they need in order to cultivate a healthy new beginning.

CHOOSING A WOMEN’S ADDICTION TREATMENT CENTER

Once the female alcoholic or addict has made the decision that she is ready to accept help, a second important decision must be made: What program should be chosen for addiction treatment?  LA and Orange County offer an unrivaled selection of top-of-the line treatment programs, and have the added appeal of year-round sunshine. Many of these California women’s addiction treatment facilities are located in beach communities, utilizing the naturally uplifting weather and the healing power of the ocean to set the tone for recovery.

The leader of the pack in Southern California women’s addiction treatment, Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women offers a deeply nurturing program of addiction treatment. Utilizing a multi-lateral treatment program of structured therapeutic groups, individual counseling, 12-step meetings, and life skills development, Safe Harbor affords women the opportunity to dive head-first into recovery, placing unlimited resources at their fingertips.

Call us today. We are here to help.

Women Drug Abuse

WOMEN: DRUG ABUSE ON THE RISE

Today there is a subtle epidemic striking young American women: drug abuse. Drug use may begin as a seemingly recreational behavior, but the powerfully addictive substances that young people presently experiment with, have the potential to render a person addicted in an extremely short period of time.

This epidemic is distinct from other illnesses, but is a disease every bit as deadly as cancer. A physical illness degrades a person’s body, but the mind is the primary source of illness for addicted women. Drug abuse, the excessive and damaging ingestion of substances, is a symptom of the disease of addiction.  The mind is a key player in the way this disease destroys an individual, for it is the mind that tells an addicted person to continue using a drug even when it is wreaking physical havoc on the body.

WOMEN: DRUG ABUSE AND ADDICTION

Women use drugs initially for a variety of reasons, but those who make it a recurring behavior tend to be women who find mental escape in drugs. For troubled women, drug abuse is a way out.  Whether the cause of mental unrest is depression, anxiety, past trauma, or any other condition, the high provided by drugs functions as a numbing agent which allows these women to distance themselves from painful thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, drugs never solve the problem – they only distance these women from it.

Life may be more livable when they do not have to cope with constant internal struggle, but these issues to not evaporate. With time, they burrow deeper inside the psyche, making them more difficult to access and work through.

Gradually, addicts develop a physical and mental tolerance to drugs. Physically, this means that the body becomes accustomed to the presence of a drug, redefining its normal state to include the drug. Therefore, the drug ceases to provide a “high,” and functions merely as a stabilizer. In order to get the same effect, the addict must use constantly increasing amounts of the drug. Mentally, a tolerance develops in the same manner, so that the addict does not achieve the same mental effect from the same dose. With most drugs, even increasing the dose will not provide an addict with the same effect they got from using it initially.

The same principle that causes mental and physical tolerances to drugs to develop is also responsible for the phenomenon of withdrawal, another signature characteristic of drug addiction. Withdrawal is essentially mental and physical panic upon ceasing to ingest a drug that the mind and body have become accustomed to.  Psychologically, withdrawal symptoms can be traumatic, and physically they can be dangerous and extremely painful. When an addict decides to get sober, withdrawal is the first barrier she must cross. Treatment facilities ensure that addicts have appropriate medical supervision during this period.

WOMEN, DRUG ABUSE AND THE PSYCHE:

Once substances no longer provide relief for addicted women, drug abuse leaves them to deal with their original mental issues as well as the added burden of addiction. Upon getting sober, the psychological problems that have been stuffed up for so long tend to come rushing out, which can be an incredibly overwhelming experience for a newly sober addict. In the case of traumatized women, drug abuse leaves much to be dealt with upon sobering up. Dual-diagnosis treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and drug addiction is necessary to ensure that memories of traumatic experiences that emerge are dealt with in a healthy manner.

The sad fact is that drugs, often the self-prescribed medication of emotionally broken women, only make their suffering greater in the long run. However, addicts in recovery must understand that their drug use the only method of self-preservation they knew at the time. In recovery they must look forward and have no regrets, as their experiences led them to this point in their lives, the point at which they start anew.

LOOKING FORWARD: RECOVERY

The aim of successful treatment is to help people cultivate the emotional and mental stability and comfort that they attempted to create with drugs, thus enabling them to live happily and healthfully. This means reexamining many areas of life for women addicted to drugs. Drug abuse is often the most blatant problem, but it is seldom the only behavior that needs to be reformed.  Chances are, there are other indulgent behaviors that provide a similar sense of escape for any addict.  These are commonly things like risky sexual behavior, eating disorders, self-mutilation, compulsive gambling or shopping, and severe codependency.  A successful drug addiction treatment program addresses these co-occurring addictions as well as the addiction to drugs.  In order to become healthy, women must rid themselves of addictive thinking.  It is not possible to do this while engaging in any addictive behavior.

For women, drug abuse is often tied to issues of self esteem, body distortion, and physical and sexual abuse.  Because these are vulnerable topics that relate to being or feeling intimidated or dominated by men, they are issues that can only be worked through in an all-female environment.

Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women, located in Costa Mesa, California, is a 90- day drug rehabilitation program that helps women overcome not only their addictions to substances, but also co-occurring addictions and psychological conditions.  Through a multidimensional treatment program comprised of structured therapeutic groups, individual counseling, 12-step work, life skills development, and uplifting social activities, Safe Harbor provides women with the opportunity to heal and grow.

Safe Harbor Treatment Center sets itself apart from other programs of its kind by its incredibly tight-knit community.  Safe Harbor’s residents, staff and alumni constitute a sisterhood of women in recovery from addiction, striving together for better lives.  For all of these women, drug abuse is a memory that draws them together as they build happy and fulfilling lives.  Any woman looking to leave drug addiction behind her and step into the future has a home waiting for her at Safe Harbor.

Alcohol Rehab for Women

ALCOHOL REHAB FOR WOMEN: SPECIALIZED RECOVERY

Within the United States alone, 14 million individuals abuse alcohol or suffer from alcoholism.  That comes out to one out of every thirteen adults.

The disease of alcoholism is widespread, and the epidemic is not hindered by the plethora of evidence that the misuse of alcohol can have devastating consequences. The physical results of heavy drinking include increased risk of certain cancers, cirrhosis of the liver, immune dysfunction, and brain damage.  The situational results are increased risk of tragic events like automobile-related deaths, homicides and suicides.

If alcoholism were a matter of logic or willpower, these facts would be more than enough to inspire alcoholics to control their drinking. Unfortunately, for an individual who suffers from the chronic disease of alcoholism, moderation does not exist.

If you believe that you or someone you love may be an alcoholic, do not let shame discourage you from approaching the problem as you would any other medical situation. Alcoholism is not universally understood, and misconceptions about its validity as a disease give rise to the social stigma it bears.  Do not mistake alcoholism for a moral inadequacy in yourself or your loved one.

WOMEN AND ALCOHOL

Though traditionally viewed as men’s problems, alcoholism and alcohol abuse affect women equally, albeit with subtle differences. Approximately 200,000 women will lose their lives to alcohol-related illnesses this year, a number which dwarfs the death toll breast cancer will take by four times.

Women suffering from this deadly disease must not lose hope. Recovery is not easy, but it is accessible with the help of an organized program of alcohol rehab for women. Alcohol treatment programs that are gender-specific, like Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women in Costa Mesa, California, employ treatment methods that are ideally suited to women, and offer a safe and nurturing environment.  In alcohol rehab for women, residents focus not only on eliminating alcohol, but also on healing and regaining control of their lives. The self-worth gained in a program of this variety in combination with a restored sense of balance form a strong foundation on which to build long-term sobriety.

The disease of alcoholism, though equally serious for both genders, tends to manifest in different ways for women than men.  Women are more likely than men to suffer from depression and low self-esteem as a result of prolonged drinking.  They also tend to lose connection with any kind of social support network as their alcoholism progresses.  Alcoholic women often come to view themselves as victims, completely losing any sense of self.  An effective alcohol rehab for women takes these patterns into account, customizing the treatment program to specifically address the female alcoholic experience.

ALCOHOL REHAB FOR WOMEN

A residential alcohol rehab for women, like Safe Harbor Treatment Center, utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to recovery.  Women are supported medically and therapeutically through the process of detoxification and withdrawal, and are then encouraged to explore co-occurring issues that they may face, for example eating disorders, sex and love addiction or post-traumatic stress disorder.  Bringing these other problems into view in a safe all-female setting can relieve some of the shame and guilt that often causes women to drink.  An effective alcohol rehab for women will also work with each client to develop an aftercare plan, which often involves continuing on to an all-women sober living home.  Safe Harbor’s program offers a year of residence at one of five sober living houses following completion of the 90-day treatment program.

The core elements of treatment in alcohol rehab for women are detoxification, therapeutic interventions, and 12-step support groups.  The first leg of the journey is the initial detoxification period.  Alcohol rehab for women is medically supervised during this stage, as withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and painful.  Medication may or may not be used to facilitate the detoxification process.  Once the body has been rid of alcohol and had a few days to re-acclimate itself to sobriety, the client can be relocated to the residential facility where the remaining treatment will take place.

As a top-of-the-line alcohol rehab for women, Safe Harbor Treatment Center employs a variety of therapeutic techniques that help clients work through their alcoholism as well as other related issues that may contribute to their alcohol abuse.  Group counseling constitutes a large portion of the curriculum at Safe Harbor, with groups focusing on topics like relapse prevention, experiential therapy, healthy relationships, body image and eating disorders.  Though some of the topics discussed in group therapy are universally applicable to any alcoholic, many important issues that arise are exclusive to women.  By keeping the treatment program gender-specific, Safe Harbor ensures that women feel comfortable engaging in these vulnerable discussions, which helps them release repressed emotions and thoughts that compound the problems created by alcoholism.

Individual therapy is also an essential component of a successful treatment program in alcohol rehab for women.  Safe Harbor Treatment Center offers women the chance to benefit from two types of therapy.  Psychotherapy focuses on exposing and working through core issues like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and other psychological conditions.  Cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to identify irrational thought patterns and reform them into healthy ways of thinking.  Through the combination of these two distinct types of therapy, Safe Harbor provides each woman with a unique and individualized treatment program.

Crucial for maintaining a strong support system after treatment is completed, 12-step support groups allow residents in alcohol rehab for women an opportunity to extend their sobriety network.  Safe Harbor’s treatment program is 12-step based, encouraging women to maintain strong sobriety and spiritual satisfaction through reaching out to other alcoholics in need.  Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step groups provide an opportunity for women in Safe Harbor’s treatment program to find mentors.  Once they have gathered a little more time sober, they can come to these same meetings to become mentors.

NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT

Alcohol rehab for women allows female alcoholics an opportunity to regain control of their lives.  At Safe Harbor Treatment Center, women suffering from the disease of alcoholism can plant the seeds of change and nurture them as they grow into a vibrant recovery. Make the call for help today. We are here to help.

Women Substance Abuse Treatment

WOMEN: SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT

Alcohol and drugs devastate the lives of many women. Substance abuse treatment can help these women regain control.

ADDICTION AND GENDER

Because addiction and alcoholism manifest in distinct ways for men and women, substance abuse treatment must be similarly tailored to suit each gender. Just as the physical effects of drugs and alcohol differ in men and women, so do the psychological, emotional and situational side effects of prolonged substance abuse. Because all of these differences are pronounced, female alcoholics and drug addicts find the most nurturing recovery experience in treatment programs designed specifically for women. Substance abuse treatment for women addresses gender-specific aspects of addiction and alcoholism, and creates a safe intimate space where women can rediscover themselves.

WHAT IS ADDICTION LIKE FOR WOMEN?

Addiction and alcoholism are two forms of the same chronic disease, a disease that has devastating effects on both the mind and body. Addiction is often conceived as a behavioral pattern that stems from a lack of moral fiber. In reality, it is a behavioral pattern that results from mental illness coupled with physical dependence on a substance. For women, substance abuse treatment addresses both the physical addiction and the gender-specific mental, emotional and situational aspects of drug and alcohol abuse.

Alcohol and drug abuse has different effects in men and women. Substance abuse treatment must take these differences into account if it is to be comprehensive and successful. On the most basic level, drugs and alcohol debilitate a woman’s body at a significantly quicker pace than a man’s. There are several factors that contribute to this phenomenon. The higher percentage of body fat in the female body is significant because fat cells are the locale where the residue of foreign substances stockpiles. With regards to alcohol, the female body is ill-equipped to process excess amounts, due to the small amount of alcohol dehydrogenase (the enzyme that breaks down alcohol) produced by a female’s body in comparison to a male. There is also the issue of sheer body mass. As women tend to be smaller than men, the same amount of substances will generally have a greater effect on women, consequently causing greater damage.

More difficult to summarize, but much more important, are the psychological and emotional differences between addicted men and women. Substance abuse treatment, when effective, brings all of these subtle distinctions to light. Women who develop alcoholism and drug addiction are likely to be people who struggled mentally even before they began to drink or use. Chronic depression, severe anxiety, and bipolar disorder are some of the most common mental conditions female alcoholics and addicts bring to the table. Often these women also struggle with low self-esteem, distorted body image, and codependency. Though some of these mental issues can affect both men and women, substance abuse treatment for women can delve into those that apply mostly to the female gender – namely self esteem, body-related issues, and codependency and love addiction. Because these are fundamental insecurities that predate alcohol and drug use for most women, addressing them is crucial to building a strong foundation in recovery. If an individual attempts to get sober without working through and resolving her core issues, she is likely to find sobriety miserable or impossible.

Long-term drug and alcohol abuse is also different situationally for men and women. Substance abuse treatment programs designed for women understand that sexual and physical abuse is common for women whose lives are steeped in drugs and alcohol. Many women who suffer from alcoholism and drug addiction experienced abuse at a young age, which likely contributed to their desire to escape themselves via substances. Whether these traumatic events occurred in childhood or during the height of substance use, they can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychological condition which required cautious and intensive treatment. The combined burden of both substance addiction and PTSD is a great deal to tackle for women. Substance abuse treatment programs for women must be equipped and ready to handle dual-diagnosis situations such as these.

ALCOHOL AND DRUG TREATMENT FOR WOMEN

A well-designed rehabilitation program for women encompasses all of the aforementioned aspects of alcoholism and addiction and provides treatment for each of them. Safe Harbor Treatment Center, one of the nation’s premier dual-diagnosis treatment facilities for women, offers such a program. Safe Harbor’s curriculum treats alcoholism and addiction comprehensively, working through not only drug and alcohol problems, but also core psychological issues and any peripheral topics that are relevant for an individual client.

Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women and Safe Harbor’s Capella – a new, state-of-the-art facility specifically designed to help women with PTSD and trauma – are multifaceted treatment centers for women, utilizing a combination of structured therapeutic groups, individual therapy and counseling sessions, 12-step meetings, life skills development, and uplifting social activities to create a full and balanced treatment experience. Therapeutic groups cover topics like relapse prevention, body image, eating disorders and healthy relationships, as well as delving into more experiential therapeutic techniques like art therapy, hypnotherapy and psychodrama. Through these various avenues women who come to Safe Harbor jettison unhealthy old behaviors while simultaneously cultivating new ones.

Safe Harbor sets itself apart from other top-of-the-line treatment centers by its strong sense of community. Far from feeling like an institution, the residential location of Safe Harbor’s treatment center feels like a home, and the case managers and support staff like family. Many of the women who complete the 90-day treatment program choose to move into Safe Harbor’s sober living houses until they accomplish a year of sobriety, after which they often relocate permanently to the Orange County area. The result is a rich sisterhood of Safe Harbor women, always looking for an opportunity to reach out a hand to the newest member of the family.

Located in Orange County, California, Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women has the added benefit of the richest 12-step community in the world. Orange County, in particular the Newport-Costa Mesa area, holds more 12-step meetings of all varieties each week than any other neighborhood on the planet. Surrounded by this vibrant recovery community, and bathed in perpetual sunshine and ocean breezes, Safe Harbor is a haven where female addicts and alcoholics heal their wounds and rediscover themselves.

We are here to help. Call us today.