Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that can affect people from all walks of life. When an addict seeks drug treatment, a “one size fits all” approach will not address their substance abuse adequately. Each addict may also have unique differences that must be considered in treatment. This is especially true when it comes to gender differences in addiction and recovery. Men and women have specific differences in how they become addicted to substances and how they respond to treatment. A gender-specific treatment program can address the unique needs of both men and women and give each the tools and support they need to find long-term recovery. This article will further define gender-specific treatment and will outline the benefits of gender-specific addiction treatment programs.
How Does Gender Affect Addiction?
You may wonder how gender plays a role in how men and women experience addiction. A 2017 article published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research explains how each gender experiences substance abuse differently:
Men often start taking substances to feel like they are part of a group. They will begin to increase the quantity of substance use at a more gradual pace, and will reach dependence and addiction at lower doses or quantities. Compared to women, men will experience a greater variety of withdrawal symptoms. When men receive treatment, they generally will have more extended periods of abstinence.
Women often will have more pleasurable experiences when using substances when compared to men. The escalation of drug use from casual use to addiction happens at a much quicker rate. In general, women experience more significant side effects and will experience withdrawal symptoms more intensely than men. Women will experience relapse more frequently than men, but these relapse periods are more sporadic.
What is Gender-Specific Treatment?
A gender-specific treatment program is specifically designed to address the unique needs of men and women. As outlined earlier, men and women have different entryways into substance use and have different goals when it comes to treatment and recovery. Programs and services in men’s only or women’s only drug treatment facilities are evidence-based and provide the tools and support needed for men and women to experience long-term recovery.
Gender-specific treatment for men is designed to foster trust and support with staff and their recovering peers. In this supportive environment, men can talk about topics they may be hesitant to share in other treatment environments. Men-only treatment centers allow clients to be themselves, and they can discuss issues that impact their lives, such as relationships, sex, self-esteem, and control. Gender-focused treatment for men also addresses issues of aggression and violence which often lie at the root of substance abuse.
Gender-specific treatment for women focuses on the cultural issues they face on a daily basis. Traditionally, women are seen as nurturers and caregivers. Because of these roles, women have a more difficult road in seeking treatment due to the prevailing stigma. Women’s drug rehabs also focus on body image since it is intrinsically tied to self-esteem and self-worth. Additionally, the supportive environment of these rehabs allows women to talk about their feelings about being an addict while trying to care for their children and their loved ones.
Many women’s rehabs offer childcare on-site, and the majority of staff employed in these facilities are women. Additionally, there is a focus on group therapy and other programs that focus on groups since women tend to be more receptive to sharing and receiving help when they have group support.
What are the Benefits of Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment?
If you are looking for drug treatment for yourself or a loved one, there may be some benefits of gender-specific addiction treatment that may give you the best chance to find long-term sobriety. First, gender-specific treatment is specifically designed for each gender’s unique needs. Secondly, the topics covered in a gender-specific treatment program are geared towards the needs of each gender.
For example, men will focus more on anger management and frustration, while women may focus more on trauma. There are fewer distractions in gender-specific treatment programs—especially potential physical attraction.
Peer support is another one of the tremendous benefits of gender-specific addiction treatment. When men and women interact with their same-sex support network, they are more comfortable and open to discussing their feelings. Additionally, relapse prevention and aftercare programs are most specific in their focus in gender-specific treatment. For example, women’s relapse prevention programs focus on specific triggers such as relationship issues, while men’s programs can focus on co-occurring disorders.
How to Find a Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment Program
Finding a drug treatment program that best fits your needs can be challenging. Fortunately, an increasing number of facilities are offering gender-specific programs. If you are looking for a men’s sober living program in Southern California that provides a supportive and non-judgmental environment, call Living Now Recovery toll-free today. We offer quality aftercare, sober living, and outpatient treatment services that are geared towards the specific and unique needs of men.
We employ a dynamic and multi-modal approach to recovery that helps you heal in mind, body, and spirit. With 10+ years of proven experience in the addiction and mental health treatment field, Living Now Recovery will provide you with the tools and support you need to transform your life to become healthy, happy, and sober. With sober living and mentoring programs in Venice, CA, Living Now Sober Living is a fantastic choice for your treatment needs.
Call us today and begin that transformation!