While men and women are equally likely to develop a substance use disorder, the nature of their addiction, the factors that underlie it, and their responsiveness to treatment can be different. For this reason, gender-specific treatment can be helpful.
According to an article in the United States National Library of Medicine, some of the fundamental cultural and biological differences between men and women regarding substance use disorders include choice of substance, rates of dependence, and how the brain is affected by specific drugs or alcohol. Typically, men and women have different reasons for beginning to use drugs or alcohol; they also often have different relapse triggers.
Gender-specific programs address issues that are unique to men or women in a supportive, safe, and segregated environment.
Benefits of Gender-Specific Treatment for Addiction Recovery
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism explains several ways both women and men benefit from gender-specific treatment programs.
A More Comfortable Feeling
In a mixed-gender group setting, some people may feel anxious or uncomfortable about sharing painful, intimate, or traumatizing life experiences. Gender-specific treatment provides an environment that feels welcoming and safe. It also encourages honesty and openness and fosters progress and healing.
Easier to Relate to One Another
An important part of recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction is peer support. In group therapy, individuals share their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and concerns. The vulnerability of this process can feel difficult or overwhelming, especially in a mixed-gender group. In gender-specific groups, men and women may feel more at ease talking, for example, about the pressures of society’s expectation for their gender or about abuse they may have suffered.
The main focus for men and women in recovery should be their own growth, self-improvement, and health. Sometimes having a member of the opposite sex in a group or treatment setting can be a distraction that can slow down the progress of individuals or the group as a whole.
More Time for Gender Issues
When a treatment program is gender-specific, recovery specialists, clinical counselors, or other professionals are able to spend more time discussing or addressing concerns and issues that apply to that gender. For example, a women’s group may spend more time talking about issues of pregnancy and motherhood than if the group included men.
If You Need Help
Gender-specific treatment programs can benefit both men and women. By separating men and women, everyone has a better opportunity to address their core issues. Individuals can focus more on themselves and the process of healing.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, English Mountain Recovery is one of the few addiction treatment centers that offers gender-specific programs. Our addiction specialists use evidence-based techniques in group and individual therapy sessions to help heal your body, mind, and spirit. Give us a call to learn more about our programs and how you can begin your journey to living a clean and sober life.