SOURCE: Cumberland Heights

Cumberland Heights

November 12, 2013 11:55 ET

Cumberland Heights Reports on the Disease of Addiction in Women

NASHVILLE, TN--(Marketwired - Nov 12, 2013) - In the United States, women make up about half of the population. They also make up one quarter of all alcohol or drug abusers. According to the Federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, about 2.7 million American women abuse alcohol or drugs, making women the fastest-growing population of abusers in the nation.

"The disease of alcoholism in women is different than in men. Brain and liver damage happen faster, and women generally reach inebriation more quickly," says Dr. Terrance Alley, a rehabilitation specialist at Cumberland Heights, a well-regarded drug and alcohol treatment center in Nashville, Tenn. "Women also produce less dehydrogenase, an enzyme that breaks down alcohol."

Not only is the physiology of addiction different for women, so are the social implications regarding treatment.

"Our society doesn't have time for women to be sick. Wives and mothers are supposed to be there 24/7," says Alley. "As a result, women often neglect themselves."

Treatment should also take into consideration gender differences. For example, in group therapy, women, natural caretakers, sometimes spend more time making other people feel comfortable than on their own recovery. Furthermore, woman who were abused, raped or traumatized in other ways aren't likely to share those things with male patients. Because of these critical factors, women suffering from addiction need specialized treatment.

"Our goal is to provide a treatment plan that takes into consideration all the pressures women in treatment face... marriage, parenting, body image and trauma," says Melissa Hudgens, director of the Women's Program at Cumberland Heights. "Tailoring our women's program renders better chances for long-term recovery."

Loved ones can help by reaching out, discussing the problem and being an advocate for treatment. "Often women just need to be reassured that their families will survive and need them to take time to take care of themselves," said Dr. Alley. "If they commit to treatment, they can recover and return to living happy, productive lives with their families."

Cumberland Heights, open since 1966, has helped more than 170,000 patients through treatment programs. The nationally recognized treatment facility offers programs for adolescents and adults and has a unique program for those in high-stress professions. Cumberland Heights' proximity to Music City makes it uniquely equipped to provide rehabilitation services to patients who are creatively inclined. For more information, visit www.cumberlandheights.org.

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