This March,  as we celebrate Women’s History Month, let us not forget that millions of women in the United States struggle with substance use disorder and mental illness and face unique challenges and experiences in their journey towards recovery.

The Statistics on Women and Substance Use Disorder: Understanding the Scope

According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 31.5% (41 million) adult women had a mental illness and/ or Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and 9.5 million women had both an SUD and mental illness. Almost three quarters of women with SUD struggled with alcohol use and 1 in 7 (2.5 million) struggled with illicit drugs and alcohol.

Unfortunately, women with substance use disorders experience multifaceted barriers in accessing substance use treatment. According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2019 only 10.8% of women aged 12 or older with a substance use disorder (SUD) in the US received any treatment for substance use. 

Barriers to Women Seeking Treatment: A Closer Look

Women are often the caregivers to their families and friends, yet often overlook giving themselves the care they need. Mental health is essential to well-being and women must prioritize their own mental health to ensure that they remain healthy. However, the disproportionate amount of time providing childcare compared to men creates logistical obstacles to receiving needed treatment.

In addition to logistical barriers to treatment, women who use substances are more likely than men to feel stigmatized for seeking help. Pregnant women who use substances feel judged by healthcare professionals and fear the possibility of being reported to Child Protective Services.

Trauma-Informed Care: A Critical Need for Women in Recovery

Moreover, the lack of access to treatment programs that are specifically trauma-informed may be an additional barrier to women seeking treatment for SUD. Women with SUDs often need trauma-informed care for SUD. Around 40% of women in treatment for SUDs have children, and women with children vary significantly in drugs of choice, overdose history, health, domestic violence experiences, and SUD treatment outcomes compared to those without children.

Our Approach to Healing and Recovery

At Recovery at the Crossroads (RAC), we understand the importance of providing specialized support and resources tailored to women’s needs in addiction recovery. We are committed to creating a safe, inclusive, and empowering space. RAC is the top drug and alcohol rehab center in New Jersey that offers women-only treatment options at its 4.5-acre campus at Black Horse Acres.

Our Master’s level clinicians have extensive experience treating both type one trauma and type two trauma. Individual therapy, group therapy and other treatment options can all help clients understand how trauma has been contributing to their addiction and give them the tools they need to put the past behind them and start living in the present.

Many women with SUD also have co-occurring mental health disorders, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. RAC offers comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment ensuring they have the tools they need to manage their mental health and do the work necessary to recover from addiction.

Recovery is possible, and all women deserve to live a life of health, happiness, and fulfillment. During this month, celebrate the women in your life and ask them to prioritize their own mental health. If you or a woman you love is in need of drug addiction treatment — contact us today 888-342-3881. To learn more about our treatment modalities for women with SUD and co-occurring mental health disorders, visit: