Gender-specific addiction treatment is designed to treat men and women separately based on their fundamental biological and cultural differences. Gender differences are present in the rates of dependence, choice of substance and how the brain responds to the abuse. There are also differences in why men and women start using substances in the first place, as well as varying reasons for relapse.
If you are considering gender-specific treatment for yourself or a loved one, this could be the best step towards a healthy and complete recovery. Let’s learn more about how addiction affects men and women, the benefits of gender-specific treatment and how to find this individualized care in a holistic recovery center.
How Addiction Affects Men and Women Differently
Men and women experience addiction differently. There have been a number of national studies done on this issue to help us understand why this is the case. With more research and education, outpatient treatment centers in Phoenix are able to offer more effective personalized treatment solutions.
Below are some of the main differences on how addiction affects men and women.
- Types of drugs abused. Men are more likely to use marijuana and alcohol, while women prefer prescription drugs.
- Motivations for using. Men tend to engage in substance use because they want to be more sociable, perform better at sex and have improved concentration in school or sports. Women, on the other hand, tend to abuse drugs and alcohol to escape negative feelings from previous trauma.
- Addiction progression. Women typically start using lower doses of drugs and alcohol but progress more quickly than men. They find it more difficult to quit and are more likely to relapse following abstinence.
- Starting treatment. Women tend to enter treatment sooner than men. At the same time, they often have more obstacles in terms of childcare, a lack of health insurance and lower paying jobs.
- Co-occurring disorders. Women are also more likely to have co-occurring mental illness when seeking treatment, particularly mood and anxiety disorders.
What are the Benefits of Gender-Specific Treatment?
In addition to the differences in substance abuse, men and women tend to have different expectations for treatment. This is why it’s helpful to offer gender-specific treatment programs, as men and women can work with the staff to develop a recovery plan that meets their unique needs. These plans can also take into account potential barriers to recovery, such as childcare, education and work.
Here are some benefits of gender-specific holistic outpatient treatment:
- Specialized attention. With gender-specific treatment, both men and women receive attention towards their unique physiological, emotional and relational issues.
- Trust and bonding. Women, in particular, respond best to gender-specific treatment. They’re able to develop stronger bonds with their same-sex peers and open up about past traumas.
- Fewer distractions. Being in a same-sex environment creates fewer distractions for clients. Rather than getting caught up in sexual tension, clients can focus entirely on their recovery.
- Supportive therapy. The group therapy sessions in gender-specific treatment are generally very positive and constructive, encouraging men and women to talk about social and cultural pressures that can result in substance abuse.
Considerations for Gender-Specific Outpatient Treatment
Female-only treatment programs are not for everyone, but they can be extremely helpful to women who have had negative experiences with men, as well as women who want to open up about motherhood, workplace dynamics, relationships and family life. These safe, supportive environments facilitate open discussions.
Because many women who struggle with addiction are also victims of sexual assault or trauma, these topics can lead group conversations. Women tend to feel more comfortable discussing these sensitive and personal issues in a room without men. All-female treatment centers also address mental health issues, as many women struggle with co-occurring disorders as well.
Women aren’t the only ones who have sensitive needs. Men, too, can benefit from all-male treatment programs. For example, the reasons for using drugs and alcohol often have to do with cultural roles and stereotypes. Men tend to feel judged or viewed as weak in certain situations, and drugs and alcohol can give them the illusion that they’re powerful.
Are there Times When Co-ed Treatment is Better?
No two people in the world are exactly the same. For as many people who may benefit from same-sex addiction treatment, there are just as many people who would prefer co-ed treatment. What’s important is that you weigh the pros and cons to both gender-specific and co-ed treatment and determine the best fit for your personality, background and recovery goals.
That said, there are benefits to co-ed treatment. Here are some considerations:
- Greater diversity. Living alongside people of the opposite gender can help both sexes become more comfortable with one another. This can be especially helpful for trauma victims who are learning how to trust others.
- Easier transition into daily living. Obviously, society is not a single gender. When treatment is over, you’ll be back to dealing with both genders again. Co-ed counseling can help you prepare for these interactions.
- Establish healthy connections. One bad experience with the opposite doesn’t mean that everyone is that way. In a co-ed setting, you can interact with men and women in a safe environment. This can help build healthy connections and debunk common gender stereotypes.
Where to Find Gender-Specific Treatment
If gender-specific treatment sounds like something you would benefit from, you’ll want to find a rehabilitation center that offers these services. Some treatment centers offer female-only or male-only addiction treatment, while others serve both men and women but take gender into consideration. The best way to know what programs are offered is by calling the treatment center directly and asking how they can adapt their services to your unique needs.
Are you ready to heal in a safe and supportive setting? Continuum Recovery Center offers individualized treatment programs based off your initial assessment and your continued progress in recovery. Through our individual and group counseling sessions, behavioral therapies and holistic practices, you will receive a multi-layered approach to treating your addiction, with your specific gender in mind.
To learn more about our holistic recovery center, contact Continuum Recovery Center today.