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.

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 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.

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.

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 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.