In many cases, the challenges and past experiences faced by women require specialised treatment that can only be accomplished within a women-only rehabilitation centre.
Many women dealing with addiction have experienced domestic violence and sexual assault during their lifetime, instilling a sense of fear and mistrust around men. A women-only rehab centre can also make it easier for women to receive treatment centred around other responsibilities such as work and childcare, with outpatient programmes available in many centres.
While addiction does not discriminate between men and women, these additional challenges mean that women may feel more comfortable in an environment specifically designed to accommodate their gender-based needs.
What may prevent women from seeking help with an addiction?
Women are often reluctant to seek treatment for a substance or behavioural addiction, particularly when they have children. However delaying treatment will only serve to increase the detrimental effects that addiction can have on themselves and their families, so it is important to seek help as soon as a problem becomes apparent.
Common factors that may prevent women from seeking help include:
1. Concerns about money
Rehab can be expensive, particularly if the individual opts for a longer stay at an inpatient facility in order to increase their chances of long-term recovery. This can invoke feelings of guilt and worries around money – they may simply not be able to afford it, or may believe that the money is better spent on their children or household repairs.
2. Difficulty finding childcare
Most traditional rehabilitation centres do not provide provisions for childcare, so a number of women may feel they are unable to seek help for their addiction due to a lack of support in this area. They may be a single parent or have a partner who works full-time and is unable to take time off, and contact with other family members may be minimal.
3. Family responsibilities
Many women shoulder the brunt of household responsibilities including cooking, cleaning and childcare. They may feel concerned about the idea of letting their family down if they choose to enter rehab, as these tasks will add to the burden of other family members or simply not be completed.
4. Fear of losing children
Concerns about how they are viewed by other people may prevent women from seeking help for their addiction, particularly if they are worried about the impact that it will have on their children. A number of women fear losing their children if they acknowledge their substance or behavioural addiction and check into rehab, and worry that they will be seen as unfit mother.
What can cause women to develop an addiction?
There are a number of circumstances that can cause women to develop an addiction. While many of these experiences can also affect men, such as becoming victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, women are statistically more likely to experience these events.
Common factors that may cause women to develop an addiction include:
1. Being in an abusive relationship
Experiencing domestic violence and any form of physical, mental and emotional abuse within a relationship can cause many women to develop a substance addiction, with one study showing a clear link between domestic violence and substance abuse before and during pregnancy. 
An abusive spouse may force their partner into using drugs and alcohol, or they may turn to them as a form of escapism. If the women experienced a childhood filled with domestic violence and substance abuse, they may see this as a normal lifestyle and begin to fall into the same patterns within their adult life.
2. Experiencing sexual abuse
Women are statistically more likely to experience a sexual assault, and the trauma associated with this event can be a major factor in developing an addiction. In fact, 3.4 million women in England and Wales have experienced a sexual assault from the age of 16 as opposed to 631,000 men. 
Only 15% of these assaults are reported to the police and many women suffer in silence for years after the event, prevented from seeking help due to feelings of shame and guilt. It is common for women to turn to drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication after a sexual assault as they seek to escape the painful memories and emotions associated with the event.
3. The pressure of gender roles
Although there has been immense progress in the way we view gender roles over the past few decades, there is still a large amount of pressure placed on women. They are often expected to keep the household running smoothly, take care of the children and look a particular way all while holding down employment and providing support and companionship to their spouse.
This pressure can take its toll, and many women turn to stimulants in order to stay productive throughout the day and accomplish the many tasks that they have set for themselves. They may also abuse stimulants in order to suppress their appetites as a form of weight management.
4. Self-medicating for anxiety and depression
While men are statistically more likely to use drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication, women also often exhibit these behaviours when suffering from anxiety and depression.  It may begin as a glass of wine as a way to unwind after a long day but can quickly spiral into a devastating addiction.
Prescription medication has also become a common treatment for anxiety and depression over the years, and as a result, the number of women who have developed a dependency on these drugs has increased.
What are the benefits of women-only rehab?
When entering rehab for a substance or behavioural addiction, it is important that patients feel safe and comfortable in the environment that they have chosen.
The journey from addiction to recovery often comes with many challenges that are unique to women, and a women-only rehab centre can be the ideal environment to discuss these experiences and build a supportive, understanding community of like-minded women.
Common benefits of women-only rehab include:
1. Safety and security
Many women entering rehab have experienced physical, sexual, mental and emotional abuse at the hands of men during their lifetime. Being surrounded by men who are dealing with substance and behavioural addictions may cause these women to feel unsafe, which could potentially hinder their recovery progress.
In these cases a women-only rehab centre can provide a sense of safety and security free from the idea of abuse and violence, allowing women to focus solely on their recovery.
2. Surrounded by female staff
It can be difficult for many women to trust male staff due to prior traumatic experiences, and this may prevent them from opening up and speaking honestly about their emotions and addiction.
Women-only rehab centres are populated by entirely female staff, allowing the addiction to become the focus of the conversation instead of being hindered by a lack of trust. Many women also feel more comfortable speaking to female staff members about experiences such as sexual assault and domestic violence.
3. Provisions for children
When a parent requires treatment for a substance or behavioural addiction, it is likely that their children will also be affected. While young children will not be able to receive treatment within a rehabilitation centre, many women-only rehab centres provide outpatient support for children in the form of family counselling.
This can help them to come to terms with their experience and understand that they are not responsible for their parent’s actions, and ensure that they are receiving the help and support that they require.
4. A strong community
Building a strong support network to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness is a key aspect in addiction recovery, and a women-only rehab can provide a strong sense of community and friendship.
The atmosphere of these centres can foster feelings of acceptance and compassion, as women are often able to relate to each other and the issues that they face. These friendships can continue even after treatment is complete, and many women are able to provide support for each other as they continue their daily lives outside of rehab.
5. Discussion of women’s issues
A number of issues that lead to addiction are experienced primarily by women, and a women-only rehab centre is a safe and non-judgemental environment in which women can discuss the issues that affect them with the knowledge that almost every other women in the room can understand and relate to them.
These issues can include eating disorders, gender roles, sexuality and the pressures of motherhood. Many women feel uncomfortable discussing these topics with men, so a women-only rehab centre is an ideal environment to bring these issues to the surface.
Where can I find a women-only rehab?
Here at OK Rehab, we understand the unique circumstances that women face throughout addiction and recovery. We are committed to providing support and guidance for anyone dealing with a substance or behavioural addiction and ensuring that they receive the most effective treatment.
With our experience, resources and dedicated team, we can connect you to a number of women-only rehabilitation centres to suit your location, lifestyle and budget. Get in touch today to start your recovery journey along with other women who share your experiences and goals.