The Brentwood House: Upscale Residential Addiction Treatment For Women Only
Many treatment centers are co-ed; some are men only, and some are men only with branches for women. Searching for women-only treatment centers at this link:
The SAMSHA “treatment locator” feature turns up 226. It’s a small number compared to the total, but they appear to be very much needed.
A recent essay in The Wall Street Journal found that more women are drinking, and drinking more now, than ever before. For one thing, the writer says, they buy and drink the majority of wine sold in the U.S. Along with that, in recent years, the number of women who have been arrested for drunk driving, and who have appeared in ERs for being dangerously intoxicated, has risen. Also, in both cases, the numbers were greater than for men.
References to these women in social media are rampant, according to the article: “Nearly 650,000 women follow ‘Moms Who Need Wine’ on Facebook, and another 131,000 women are fans of the group called ‘OMG, I So Need a Glass of Wine or I’m Gonna Sell My Kids.’”
We’ve known for some time that women metabolize alcohol differently than men do. They become intoxicated faster and suffer from liver and brain damage more quickly. But what’s also important that’s not often noted is that many women seem to prefer women-only treatment programs over those that are coed, and this approach seems to be effective.
Dr. Katya Techentin, one of the Brentwood House therapists, said there are two reasons for this. First, when dealing with addiction and recovery, women often have underlying emotional issues, and for these to be resolved, they need to be in a safe environment. “We’ve found that a number of females have suffered trauma, some more severe than others.
“A co-ed setting could feel unsafe and be re-traumatizing,” she explained. Also, women often have body image issues, eating disorders, and sex addiction. The presence of males during treatment can be distracting; women may actually focus more on the men and a possible romantic relationship.
“The second reason a women-only program offers a positive experience,” says Dr. Techentin, “is that a number of women in treatment have difficulty developing relationships with other women. This could stem from a childhood attachment disorder relating to the mother-child relationship, or a middle school or high school environment that makes a woman distrust other women. In this case, women in co-ed treatment may wrongly perceive themselves as safe. They feel more in control, although they’re not; they mistake control for manipulation. When they’re with females, they’re forced to be more vulnerable,” Dr. Techentin explains. “Issues come up and we can work on them. They’re not camouflaged.”
All of which is in the way of announcing that Malibu Beach Recovery Center’s The Brentwood House, which opened last year, has become a recovery center for women.
The Brentwood House joins a number of other esteemed women-only centers: Harmony Place in Los Angeles, The Orchid Recovery Center in south Florida, and The Providence Women’s Recovery Center, a Christian organization in North Georgia, to name just three. Good luck to all the women who walk through the doors of Brentwood House.