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Addiction Treatment for Women in Illinois

Addiction Treatment for Women in Illinois

Addiction affects men and women, but gender-specific treatment for women can help them reach their recovery goals effectively. Women’s treatment programs offer safe spaces for women to talk openly about their experiences, seek support from others they can relate to, and address specific challenges to prevent relapse. 

Addiction Treatment for Women 

When women recover in gender-specific programs, they engage in group therapy with other women in recovery and receive care for female-specific challenges. While individuals may spend some time in mixed-gender groups, they complete the majority of their treatment with other women.

Benefits of Women-Specific Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment tailored for women has the following benefits:

Addressing Women-Specific Disorders and Challenges

Addressing Women-Specific Disorders and Challenges

Women-only recovery programs address specific experiences and challenges young adult women and adult women may face during recovery. Substance use disorder often occurs with or as a result of other disorders, conditions, and traumatic experiences women are more likely to experience than men. Women in recovery often need support addressing challenges and topics such as the following:

  • Sexual abuse and trauma
  • Eating disorders
  • Body image
  • Life fulfillment
  • Motherhood
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-injury
  • Mood-dysregulation
  • Female empowerment
  • Chronic pain
  • Childcare

Women are more likely to leave their treatment program before they are ready when they face childcare challenges. Women-specific recovery can appropriately support women who lack familial support systems at home. 

With the right support, women can face distressing situations such as seeking childcare and addressing potential state intervention regarding their children. Assisting women with these challenges can help them remain in recovery until they are ready to return home or begin outpatient treatment. 

Allowing Women a Safe Space to Talk About Gender-Specific Challenges

Addressing experiences, challenges, and emotions in group or individual therapy with other women provides a safe space to discuss gender-specific topics. Women might be more open to talking about female-specific challenges one-on-one with another woman or in a group therapy setting with other women

It can be challenging to explore sensitive topics in a co-ed group, so women-specific recovery provides a safe space for women to discuss these topics comfortably. 

Offering Community and Friendship

When women work through recovery with other women, they gain friendship and community. Gender-specific treatment programs give women opportunities to bond and build lifelong friendships. Recovering with other women experiencing similar challenges helps women foster honesty, trust, and compassion as they support one another.

Providing Specific Medical Support

Providing Specific Medical Support

Gender-specific treatment can also offer more support for women as they recover physically from substance use. Women can become addicted to a substance and experience physical side effects of substance use and withdrawal faster than men. 

Women with substance use disorders can also experience health complications related to fertility, menopause, pregnancy, hormones, their menstrual cycle, and breastfeeding. Drinking also carries a higher chance of breast cancer in some women. Substance use disorder professionals with the clinical experience to address these factors are invaluable in women’s recovery. A women-specific recovery program can effectively care for women’s health as they recover.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction in Women

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction in Women

If an individual is experiencing a substance use disorder, they may exhibit some or all of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Changes in behavior, mood, and personality
  • Lack of motivation and poor hygiene
  • Agitation, aggression, or irritability
  • Frequent bloody nose and bloodshot eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Insomnia or trouble sleeping
  • Tremors and shaking
  • Financial difficulties and unexplained need for money
  • Changes in activities and friends
  • Continuing to take a prescribed drug when it is no longer needed or recommended
  • Building a higher tolerance to a drug
  • Excessing sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches, confusion, and delusions
  • Appetite changes and weight fluctuations
  • Defensiveness regarding substance use
  • Poor school or work performance
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart rate and high blood pressure

Women are more likely to experience certain symptoms from different substances than men. For example, women are more vulnerable to cardiovascular effects when they use cocaine than men are, but they are less likely than men to experience cocaine’s detrimental effects on the brain. 

When women use methamphetamine, they tend to become addicted faster than men and develop a stronger dependency on methamphetamine use. However, women are typically more receptive to methamphetamine treatment than men. 

After using MDMA, women usually experience stronger hallucinatory effects than men, and they are more likely to feel depressed days after using it. Women are also more likely to experience brain swelling from drinking too many fluids while under the influence of MDMA. 

Women have a higher overdose death risk than men when using injectable heroin. This increased risk may be due to using prescription drugs at the same time as injecting heroin. Women are also more at risk of experiencing the long-term effects of alcohol use. 

In some cases, women may experience more drug cravings in treatment and recovery, and they have a higher risk of relapse following treatment.

Gateway is Here to Help

Call us today for a consultation at 877–377–2027 or contact us online to learn more.

What Causes Addiction in Women?

What Causes Addiction in Women?

Various experiences and mental health conditions can cause addiction in women. Individuals often use drugs to cope with emotional distress, meet social expectations, or temporarily perform better at school or work. Women often report using substances for unique reasons, such as the following:

  • Coping with pain
  • Losing or controlling weight
  • Increasing energy to fight exhaustion
  • Self-medicating mental health conditions

Occurrences such as divorce, domestic abuse, loss of child custody, or the death of a loved one can also trigger substance use. While each individual has a different reason for trying a substance, addiction develops in the brain similarly for every person. When someone uses a substance, it activates the brain’s pleasure and reward center. Over time, the substance changes the brain and makes the individual feel as if they need the substance to feel good and survive.

Short- and Long-Term Effects of Addiction on Women

Addiction can affect a woman’s life in the short and long term. 

Short-Term Effects

Substance use disorder can weaken the immune system, which increases a woman’s risk of developing infections or illnesses. Substance use can also cause the following short-term health conditions and complications:

  • Liver damage
  • Abnormal heart rate and heart attack 
  • Nausea and abdominal pain
  • Difficulty paying attention, remembering information, and making decisions

Long-Term Effects

Long-Term Effects

  • Liver failure
  • Lung disease
  • Stroke
  • Brain damage

Substance use can also affect pregnancy and cause birth complications. Using substances during pregnancy can increase the following birth risks:

  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Birth defects
  • Sudden infant death syndrome
  • Small infant head size

How to Know When It’s Time for Treatment

Recognizing when you have an addiction and exploring your treatment options is the first step toward recovery. Knowing when to seek help can seem challenging at first, but knowing which signs to look for can help. You should consider treatment options if you or a loved one experiences any of the following habits or behaviors:


Dishonesty is a sign that substance use has become a problem. If someone is addicted to a substance, they may deny their actions or create excuses for why they are using the substance. They may also make great efforts to hide their substance use from loved ones.

Harmful Self-Medication

Harmful Self-Medication

Using substances such as drugs or alcohol to self-medicate is another sign of addiction. If you use harmful substances to cope with feelings such as anger, sadness, anxiety, depression, or frustration, addiction treatment can help. Using a prescribed medication as a doctor recommends is safe, but using any substances outside of a doctor’s recommendations is unsafe and a sign that treatment is necessary. 

Continuing to Use Substances Despite Negative Consequences

Substance use often causes negative consequences such as job loss, school expulsion, financial difficulties, and health complications. It’s important for an individual to seek addiction treatment if they continue using substances even when they experience negative consequences. Effective treatment can help you stop using substances when negative consequences are affecting your life. 

An Inability to Function Without Substances

Addiction hinders a person’s ability to function without drugs or alcohol. Someone with an addiction may find it difficult to attend social gatherings, spend time with family, get through their day, or sleep at night without using substances. If you often use substances to make it through your days or nights, addiction treatment can help you find freedom from addiction.

Losing Relationships Because of Substance Use

Losing Relationships Because of Substance Use

Losing relationships is another sign it may be time for addiction treatment. If using substances strains relationships with your family, friends, coworkers, or significant other, entering treatment can help you pursue recovery and work toward repairing lost relationships. 

Types of Treatment Available for Co-Occurring Disorders, Addictions, and Conditions

Types of Treatment Available for Co-Occurring Disorders, Addictions, and Conditions

Various mental health disorders often occur simultaneously. Some individuals use substances to cope with or self-medicate mental health conditions, and addiction can also cause mental health disorders to develop. Approximately 9.2 million U.S. adults experience co-occurring disorders with substance use disorder. Substance use commonly occurs with the following conditions:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Conduct disorders
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Codependency
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Treating co-occurring conditions alongside addiction treatment and recovery is helpful, as specialized treatment can help women address co-occurring disorders, increasing positive recovery outcomes. We offer several treatments that can support co-occurring needs: 

  • Group and individual therapy: Both group and individual therapy address challenges in recovery and the co-occurring disorders that can contribute to addiction.
  • 12-step facilitation: With 12-step facilitation, individuals can effectively stay involved in an evidence-based 12-step program such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
  • Trauma-informed therapy: Trauma-informed therapy helps people address traumatic experiences and how they influence mental health and substance use.
  • Mindfulness-based sobriety: Mindfulness therapy focuses on acceptance and teaches individuals how to focus on what is happening in their lives at the moment.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): DBT helps individuals manage emotions that affect their behavior.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of psychotherapy that helps people identify their negative thoughts and beliefs so they can challenge them and change their behavior.
  • Motivational interviewing: Motivational interviewing increases an individual’s motivation and involvement in their recovery.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy: Acceptance and commitment therapy teaches people how to accept realities and take action toward a new life direction.
  • Coping skills therapy: Coping skills therapy helps individuals build coping skills for co-occurring disorders, challenging situations, and negative experiences. 

Programs that offer dual diagnosis and co-occurring treatment effectively treat two or more conditions at one time. Combining mental health treatment and addiction treatment prevents relapse and helps women break free from addiction.

The Process of Treating Addiction in Women

An effective women’s rehab program tailors treatment to each individual woman’s needs. Custom treatment plans can address the severity of a woman’s substance use disorder and any co-occurring disorders she may experience. Each rehab center for women offers various levels of care based on individuals’ needs. Gateway Foundation offers the following levels of care:

Detox and Withdrawal Management

Detox and Withdrawal Management

Many individuals begin their recovery journey with detoxification and withdrawal management. A safe detoxification process safely addresses the mental and physical symptoms people experience after they stop using an addictive substance. 

Withdrawal management eases withdrawal symptoms and treats any health complications that may arise as a result. After women receive medical attention and their physical symptoms dissipate, they can transition into other phases of treatment.

Residential Inpatient Treatment

Residential inpatient treatment provides women with medical supervision and 24/7 care in a safe, substance-free space where they can continue recovery. Residential treatment offers a structured environment and routine to prevent relapse so patients have the support they may not have available at home. Residential inpatient treatment provides women with the following benefits:

  • Frequent program and therapy sessions
  • Safe and supervised detoxification
  • Evidenced-based services and research-based treatment
  • Around-the-clock access to medical and staff support 
  • Distance from triggering people and locations
  • Structured routine
  • Access to various therapy programs and recreational activities
  • Comfortable and safe environment
  • Healthy meals

Partial Hospitalization

Partial Hospitalization

Gateway Foundation’s partial hospitalization program (PHP) combines residential and outpatient treatment. Women in the partial hospitalization program can receive safe supervision throughout the day and return home at the end of each day. 

The partial hospitalization schedule is similar to a school or work-day duration. This type of treatment is best for individuals who have a high risk of relapse but also have a healthy support system at home. 

In the partial hospitalization program, women can safely transition back into their life outside of treatment while continuing to receive professional support and services. This program offers extensive care services, daily treatments with mental health and medical professionals, the freedom to return home every evening, and a smoother transition to life outside of treatment.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient Treatment

Women can receive treatment that fits their schedules when they enter an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Intensive outpatient programs allow individuals to manage school, work, or family responsibilities while receiving treatment. This type of treatment is similar to the partial hospitalization program but offers patients more flexibility. In this type of program, women can schedule treatment sessions at any time of the day and attend shorter appointments.

Intensive outpatient treatment is beneficial for individuals who do not need or qualify for residential treatment or individuals who are further along in recovery. It can also help people transition from partial hospitalization or residential treatment. Full-day and half-day outpatient program options are available. 

Half-day outpatient treatment provides three hours of treatment and support per day for approximately three to five days a week, and patients can reduce their treatments as their symptoms improve and they progress in their recovery. Full-day outpatient treatment is a full-day schedule and is more intensive than half-day treatment. Women can also receive general outpatient treatment, which provides weekly individual and group treatment sessions. 

Alumni Engagement

Gateway Foundation is dedicated to supporting individuals for life. Recovering from a substance use disorder is a lifelong process that requires continuous support and focus. Through alumni engagement, individuals can receive lifetime support following their treatment. 

Gateway foundation offers continuous support resources such as educational programming, individual counseling, group therapy, and social activities. Remaining active in the recovery community helps individuals maintain focus during recovery.

Early Intervention

Early intervention is a service that benefits individuals who are at risk of developing a substance use disorder. Individuals who do not meet the diagnosable criteria for substance use disorder but show signs of it can seek help through early intervention. This treatment addresses substance use disorder risk factors and helps people learn skills and habits for living a healthy lifestyle. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Addiction Treatment for Women

Addiction treatment can help you begin your path to a healthier life. If you want to learn more about addiction treatment, you can refer to the following frequently asked questions:

What Medications Can Women Receive in Addiction Treatment?

Both women and men can use Vivitrol or Suboxone in addiction recovery. These medications can help individuals avoid relapse by partially activating opioid receptors. When medication partially activates these receptors, it eases physical withdrawal symptoms and decreases discomfort during detox. 

What Type of Addiction Treatment Is Available?

What Type of Addiction Treatment Is Available?

Gateway Foundation offers treatment for various addictions such as alcohol, process addictions, and the following drugs:

  • Stimulants
  • Opioids
  • Depressants
  • Dissociatives
  • Cannabinoids
  • Empathogens
  • Steroids
  • Kratom
  • Synthetic drugs

How Can I Start the Treatment Process?

You can call Gateway Foundation and talk with our experienced staff to begin treatment. We will walk you through each step of the admissions process by asking you questions about your unique needs and answering any questions you may have. Your conversation will be entirely confidential, and you can make the process even quicker and easier by having the following items ready when you call:

  • Insurance information
  • A description of your substance use
  • Your counselor or therapist’s name, if applicable
  • Any mental health or medical conditions you have that you are aware of
  • A list of any medications you are taking

How Do I Know Which Treatment Level I Need?

How Do I Know Which Treatment Level I Need?

Care providers will help you determine the level of care you need based on several factors. Medical professionals conduct initial assessments to learn about patients’ needs, addictions, lifestyles, health and co-occurring disorders. During your initial assessment, your care provider will talk with you and determine which level of care is most effective for you. 

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) provides criteria to help care providers develop the safest and most effective treatment plan for each patient. ASAM criteria allow medical professionals to accurately evaluate clinical information, initial interviews, patient goals and field knowledge to determine which treatments will benefit patients the most. 

Start Your Recovery Journey With Gateway Foundation

Start Your Recovery Journey With Gateway Foundation

Gender-specific addiction treatment is an integrated approach that helps women reach their recovery goals. Sharing experiences in women-only groups makes it easier for individuals to talk openly about their challenges, and it allows women to bond and form lasting friendships.

Gateway Foundation offers various types of substance use treatment for women, providing them with the environment, support and community they need to recover from substance use disorder. We tailor treatment to meet each individual’s unique needs, and our experienced staff compassionately help women reach their goals. 

At Gateway Foundation, we are with you for life. Contact Gateway Foundation to learn more about our women’s recovery services and how we can help you or a loved one find freedom from addiction.