Opiate Addiction and Women

The experience of opiate addiction is an individual one that can have serious implications for patients and their families. There is no arguing that there are gender specific concerns that need to be addressed. Men and women often become addicted for different reasons. They also can benefit from tailored treatment that takes into consideration their own experiences and goals.

Opiate addiction for women has the ability to restore life and productivity for countless wives, mothers, sisters, aunts and friends. It takes a great amount of courage for anyone to admit they have a problem and to take the steps necessary for recovery.

Underlying Issues of Opiate Addiction Should Be Taken Into Account

Each woman has her own story for how and why she became addicted to opiates such as OxyContin and heroin. While underlying causes should be addressed in order to facilitate complete healing, the most important thing is to provide these women with support and encouragement at the beginning of their journey.

Some of the specific areas that need to be addressed for women in opiate treatment programs include:

  • The emotional toll
  • Past traumatic events that may have played a role
  • The guilt and shame associated with this problem
  • The implications that opiate addiction has on families and motherhood


Opiate Treatment Options For Pregnant Women

Opiate addiction and pregnancy is of special concern for all opiate treatment programs because of potential complications for mothers and unborn children. Women in this position are encouraged not to try and abruptly quit opiates because the shock of withdrawal can be devastating for a fetus.

It's not a wise idea for these women to continue down a path of opiate abuse either. The only recommended treatment for opiate addiction among pregnant women is methadone. This is called opiate replacement therapy, as the methadone, an opiate, replaces more powerful opiates in the system. This is administered through clinics and outpatient facilities, and is generally thought to be much safer than other alternatives. Opiate treatment that includes detox, abstinence or rapid opiate detox is not meant for pregnant women.

Continuing Care And Therapy Can Help Women Make The Transition

One a woman has been properly detoxed in a medically-monitored facility, she will likely want to participate in some sort of transitional or aftercare program. Opiate withdrawal can be a difficult time, but the right program can manage this phase effectively so women are physically comfortable.

Once stabilized, the medical staff can then help women to explore possible underlying issues and design a plan that sets clear goals and prepares women for a life free of opiate addiction. Continuing care in the form of therapy may also be necessary for women to move forward.