Women can feel very vulnerable when they enter treatment for addiction. Mentally and emotionally, you are focused on your substance use disorder (SUD) and do not need any distractions. Sometimes, just being in a program with men can feel triggering for women who have suffered past trauma, or there may be actual romantic advances, welcome or unwelcome, from men in your treatment program. The last thing you need to worry about is becoming the victim of someone else’s emotional, physical, or sexual abuse while in treatment. Is addiction treatment safe for women?
Why Treatment Can Make You Feel More Vulnerable
The treatment process creates a situation where your emotions are all over the map. Beginning with the physical changes in detox, your mind and body experience chemical changes that can leave you feeling emotionally volatile. Certain substances can even cause intense sadness or depression during the initial withdrawal period, which can make you feel more vulnerable.
Psychologically, you are enduring intense changes as well. Not only is your brain’s reward system being forced into withdrawal from substances, but you are also going to be looking deep inside yourself during therapy to find answers about why you began using substances. You will tear down emotional walls, find who you are, and rebuild your self-esteem. The emotional and psychological transformation during this process can create a state of extreme vulnerability.
How Past Trauma Can Leave Women Feeling Unsafe
Women who have experienced trauma, particularly those with unresolved trauma, may feel unsafe in situations that remind them in any way of their traumatic experiences. For example, women who have experienced trauma at the hands of men may feel mistrustful or unsafe around all men. Certain people, places, sounds, smells, or other reminders might bring back memories of their trauma and leave them feeling unsafe, even when they are in a perfectly safe situation. Therefore, when choosing a treatment facility, it is essential to consider your specific needs surrounding past trauma and select an environment that will help you feel safe.
Why a Trauma-Informed Facility Can Make You Feel Safe
A trauma-informed facility offers care that is supportive and collaborative, care that is specifically designed to avoid re-traumatizing you as a patient. Traditional treatment often uses confrontational methods designed to “break down” a person with addiction, which can cause more harm to a woman who has experienced specific forms of trauma. The basic principles of trauma-informed care are:
Facilities that are trauma-informed are acutely aware of the impact that trauma and violence have had on the lives of many of their patients. They will continue to strive to create a space that is non-judgmental and will do everything to reduce re-traumatization during your healing process. This sensitivity and attention to your needs will help you to feel safe during your healing process.
Why Safety Is Essential for Your Healing
When you feel safe, you are able to relax and heal and trust in the treatment process. This allows you to focus on your healing. Trauma-informed care is crucial for you to feel safe after experiencing traumatic experiences as it facilitates the healing of trauma and empowers you in the recovery of your addiction as well.
When you do not feel safe, and your trauma is constantly being re-triggered, you are continually living in that fight-or-flight state and are focused primarily on protecting yourself. When you can move past the trauma and feel safe enough to address deeper emotional issues, that is when the healing can begin.
Women’s-Only Treatment: A Place for You to Feel Safe Again
One of the keys to trauma-informed care for women is to find a women’s-only treatment facility. Not only can a women’s treatment facility address the specific needs of women regarding addiction treatment, but it is the only place for a woman to receive truly trauma-informed care. Due to the prevalence of violence and sexual assault against women by men, many women seeking treatment risk being re-traumatized when they are in treatment with male peers. A women’s-only facility keeps you safe from those experiences.
Additionally, a women’s-only facility offers you the other principles of trauma-informed care, including being empowered by other women. Patients often report feeling safe to share emotionally with other women, feeling safer to be vulnerable and truly open up in group therapy, and safer being empowered by one another’s experiences. Treatment for addiction can feel safe when you find an environment that supports your needs and honors your past experiences. Finding a women-specific, trauma-informed facility may help you feel safe for the first time in years.
Women can feel particularly vulnerable in treatment, and women with past trauma can feel unsafe in many situations. Finding a facility that offers trauma-informed care is essential to avoid re-traumatization and feeling safe while supporting your healing process. The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women is a safe place for you to find your way again. Our detox and residential treatment facility is exclusively for women and offers truly trauma-informed care. Our Costa Mesa, California facility is a peaceful, calm refuge for healing from addiction with a compassionate, non-judgmental staff ready to support you. We offer evidence-based therapies and truly individualized treatment plans. We offer access to She Recovers meetings, where women empower women in a truly safe environment. What can we do to help you feel safe during your treatment process? Call The Ho Tai Way at (714) 581-3974 today.