What Is Gender-Specific Care?
According to an article in Psychiatric Services Journal, gender-specific care provides support in recovery for the specific needs of women. Moreover, as stated in SAMHSA’s book, Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 51, a holistic gender-specific approach to care for women based on acceptance, hope, and support is instrumental in developing retention and resilience in recovery.
As noted by Partnership to End Addiction, numerous biological and societal factors contribute to the differences in the way men and women experience substance use disorder (SUD). While historically, substance use among men is higher, women are statistically more likely to experience co-occurring mental health disorders, trauma, and stigmatization. Therefore, treatment modalities have been developed to examine the specific needs of women for long-term recovery.
Why Is Gender-Specific Care Important?
Gender-specific care considers what support services are needed to help cisgender women and non-binary people assigned female at birth, heal in body, mind, and spirit. When biological and social differences are not considered in care approaches, it can create barriers to successful long-term recovery.
Barriers to Recovery
According to an article from the Harm Reduction Journal, women experience extensive internal and external barriers to recovery:
- Internal barriers
- Denial or downplaying substance use
- Dread over stigmatization
- Fear of losing custody of children
- Concerns about leaving children behind during treatment
- Feelings of guilt and shame
- External barriers
- Hostility and judgment from family and friends
- Lack of economic resources
- Overt and covert gender-based biases in society
- Insufficient access to gender-specific care
- Undertrained healthcare professionals
As noted in the Psychiatric Services Journal, gender-specific care is important as it helps create an environment based on comfort and support.
Opportunities for Care
A curated environment can support cisgender women and non-binary people by addressing these important factors in the treatment process:
- Reflection on caretaking roles
- Impact of interpersonal relationships with partners
- Exposure to trauma
- Examining reasons for relapse
- Addressing a co-occurring mental health disorder
The Needs of Women in Recovery
When women have access to gender-specific care, a wide range of their needs can be supported in recovery. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), gender-specific care should address significant cultural identifiers in the lives of women as they are interconnected to their SUD and mental health. The needs of women in recovery intersect with their roles as women, moms, partners, and daughters in society.
Approaches to Gender-Specific Care
Some approaches to meeting women’s needs in recovery include:
- Promote a safe and caring treatment environment by addressing the positive and negative influences of partner and familial relationships
- Maintain integrated treatment plans that care for the whole person in conjunction with their familial relationship responsibilities
- Utilize trauma-informed care that considers the impact of trauma on SUD and co-occurring mental health disorders
- Focus on addressing mental health concerns and their interrelated relationship to SUD
- Design treatment plans to support the physical, mental, and emotional needs of pregnant women with SUD.
- Form a therapeutic alliance with clinicians who recognize the impact of cultural expectations of womanhood on women in recovery
To learn more about our approaches to care, visit our Programs page.
Resilience Factors for Women in Recovery
An article from Integrative Medicine notes that the development of SUD and mental health disorders impacts personal resiliency. For women trying to recover, numerous financial, accessibility, and trauma disadvantages make recovery difficult. However, assisting women in the development of self-care tools and strategies has been beneficial in building resilience in recovery. Moreover, the support elements that aid women in recovery the most include access to support services, support from family and friends, community support, and self-care. Additionally, in some cases, religious and spiritual support has been a source of healing for women in the recovery process.
Supporting Women at Emerge Recovery TX
At Emerge Recovery TX, we believe in the need for women-focused care and support. In the recovery community, women are disproportionately underrepresented and underserved. Most recovery services and programs have been built around the needs and experiences of men. According to TIP, women find gender-specific care services to be beneficial to their recovery because there is more freedom to share difficult things like abuse and experiences as women, mothers, daughters, and wives.
In mixed-gender support groups, women often feel uncomfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings in front of men. Women in these groups can also have concerns about the issues stemming from romantic distractions and unwanted romantic or sexual attention from male group members. SAMHSA also notes that the gender of support staff can play an important role in the recovery process for women. For instance, many women feel more comfortable building trust and alliance with female clinicians and staff members.
Emerge Recovery TX is run by women for women with care approaches designed to meet the needs and individual experiences of women. In this way, women supporting women can lead to healthier outcomes in long-term recovery. Moreover, at Emerge Recovery TX, we are proud to provide a diversity-affirming environment and programs to support the needs of underserved groups. As long as the client is clinically appropriate for our programs, we can provide support with our individualized treatments, holistic modalities, and transitional living services for cisgender women and non-binary people assigned female at birth.
To learn more about our mission to support women in recovery, visit our About page.
Gender-specific care services are designed to meet women where they are and support their specific needs on their journey to long-term recovery. At Emerge Recovery TX, the fellowship and therapeutic alliance formed in women-only recovery programs can support women in building self-care tools and strategies, healthier relationships with family and friends, and improved thinking and behavior patterns. Call us today at (737) 237-9663 to learn more about how our women-only recovery services can support your healing in body, mind, and spirit as you emerge as a healthier version of yourself.