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Women’s Health

Women’s Health – mind, body and spirit are essential to recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism. Without any one, the other two will not be strong enough to achieve and sustain continuing recovery from the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol. This especially pertinent in women’s treatment, as women’s hormonal, emotional, and physical makeup is very different from that of men, and needs to be treated as such. This operating belief is one of the principle tenets of the Orchid Drug and Alcohol Recovery Center Program for substance abuse and chemical dependency.

Proper nutrition geared toward a woman’s body and unique nutritional needs (as compared with men) is essential to successful recovery and SUSTAINED recovery from drugs and alcohol, no matter what the primary drug of abuse or the drug user/abuser’s drug history. All drugs, whether they are opiate based (narcotics – heroin, morphine, methadone, vicodin, oxycontin etc.), stimulants (cocaine, amphetamines, crystal meth, prescription methamphetamines i.e. Benzedrine, Dexedrine, Adderall etc.), PCP, GHB, Ecstasy, marijuana (pot, hash, hash oil, hashish, THC pills etc.), alcohol – and the list goes on and on – all have one thing in common nutritionally… They keep they liver, kidneys, and systems of the body that process our nutrition busy all the time, trying to rid themselves of chemicals that don’t belong there and are naturally more difficult for the body to process, because it’s not built to do so:

That coupled with our treatment philosophy constitutes the focus of our Treatment Methodology.

It is the pioneering work of Dr. Karen Dodge that informs the core of our approach at Orchid.

As we have pointed out elsewhere, Dr. Dodge’s findings have led her to stress the importance of promoting what she calls “relational growth”, which is a treatment modality that fosters personal growth through the encouragement of a high degree of interdependence and trust among females during the treatment process.

Dr. Dodge developed her female oriented treatment approach as she completed her doctorate in social work at Florida International University in the late 1990’s. She began her work in addiction treatment over a decade earlier as a substance abuse counselor, and it is through this early practical experience that Dr. Dodge began to understand the urgent need for treatment modalities that were more focused on the needs of women.

As Dr. Dodge began her research into female substance abuse, she found that her intuitions as a counselor proved to be correct, namely that empirical studies on females significantly lagged behind those on males, and that what studies there were identified certain addiction consequences that correlate much more highly to female substance abusers.

Among these correlates were low self-esteem, lack of traditional job skills, depression and, by far the most important, lack of a social support network. Her work, based on the above research, explores how all of these characteristics interact to affect treatment outcomes for women in chemical dependency treatment, but especially the social support network aspect.

Dr. Dodge’s relational growth modality refers to the process whereby healing occurs as women are encouraged to closely rely on one another in treatment, building community, and, most importantly, trust. We at Orchid agree with Dr. Dodge about the effectiveness of this approach and believe that the interrelations built between women in treatment can form a nucleus around which recovery can be more effectively sought.

While adult daughters of alcoholics have received much help in ACOA, Dr. Dodge believes the fundamental concept of co-dependency used by this particular 12-Step group is problematic, because, when applied to females, the term “Co-dependent” has come to imply that dependency is entirely a negative quality. This view of co-dependence has become, it seems, commonplace throughout the recovery community.

At Orchid, we believe that the issue of dependency, especially when it comes to women in treatment, should be viewed more as a continuum, along which there is “normal”, or healthy, dependence at one end, and pathological, or unhealthy, co-dependence at the other.

At Orchid, we believe that fostering relational growth, or growth base on a healthy inter-dependence, is the bedrock upon which a woman’s treatment should be place. For more information, please give us a call at

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