The Importance Of Gender-Specific Treatment For Substance Abuse

Men and Women experience different symptoms, cycles and often abuse different drugs. These factors make gender specific care beneficial.

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Men and women often use drugs differently and face different obstacles in addiction recovery.

Gender differences include rates of dependence, substance of choice, and how the brain reacts to substance use.

Gender-specific addiction treatment programs address these differences and the unique needs of
each gender to allow both men and women to heal in a supportive environment.

The Role Of Gender In Substance Abuse Treatment

Substance abuse treatment is deeply personal, and many people find themselves discussing sensitive issues like domestic violence, relationships, trauma, and the struggles of parenthood.

While men and women often experience similar complicating factors, they may not always be comfortable discussing these issues with a member of the opposite sex.

Although males tend to abuse drugs more often and at an earlier age than females, females tend to become addicted to drugs after a shorter interval of use.

Women also relapse at higher rates than men after treatment and tend to suffer more serious consequences to their relationships, finances, job situation, and health.

Gender-specific programs are designed to be aware of these statistics and provide treatment based on these factors.

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Men’s Addiction Treatment Programs

There are many benefits of men-only programs.

Treatment services may include motivational techniques, behavioral health treatments, detoxification, inpatient treatment, or outpatient treatment.

The benefits of men’s addiction treatment programs include:

  • the ability to bond with men in similar circumstances
  • addresses the stigma of men’s drug addiction
  • more comfortability with the same sex
  • the ability to treat co-occurring disorders
  • the ability to focus on the specific struggles of men
  • the ability to improve communication skills
  • the ability to grow a support network

The most important benefit of male-focused addiction treatment programs is the ability to address the specific needs of men in addiction treatment.

As a result, many programs will address the ways the modern definitions of masculinity make it harder for men to seek treatment and provide anger management support.

Women’s Addiction Treatment Programs

There are several benefits to women-focused treatment programs. Women’s addiction treatment programs may include counseling, evidence-based therapies, family therapy, parenting programs, etc.

When women’s specific needs are addressed at the start of treatment, improved treatment
engagement, outcomes, and retention results.

The benefits of women’s addiction treatment programs include:

  • gender-specific counseling
  • peer support
  • educational resources
  • individualized treatment plans
  • the ability to address co-occurring disorders
  • comfortability with the same sex
  • focus on women-specific experiences such as pregnancy and motherhood
  • the ability to create long-term friendships
  • safety for domestic violence victims

Understanding the nature and extent of a woman’s substance use and how it has affected the various areas of her life is crucial for successful treatment.

Women’s addiction treatment programs provide specialization in understanding these issues.

LGBTQ+ Friendly Gender-Specific Programs

There are limitations to treating addiction with a binary view of sex and gender. However, there are gender-specific programs that pride themselves on being LGBTQ-inclusive.

Experiencing psychological or physical abuse due to one’s non-conforming gender identity or expression is associated with eight times higher odds of drug use, and LGBTQ+ individuals are four times more likely to have substance abuse issues in general.

Fortunately, LGBTQ+-friendly programs offer services customized to meet the specific challenges these individuals face and provide support with trauma, stigmatization, violence, and harassment.

Locating Gender-Specific Addiction Recovery Programs

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) can help you find gender-specific addiction recovery programs through or their helpline at 800-662- HELP (4357).

States that have addiction services offices may also have useful tools and resources to help you locate gender-specific addiction recovery programs.

Many addiction treatment programs also offer gender-specific group therapy, even if the facility isn’t gender-specific.

Ask About Addiction Care In Massachusetts

If you are looking for addiction care in Massachusetts, we can help. Contact Bedrock Recovery Center today to learn more about gender-specific addiction treatment.

  1. Grand Valley State University
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  4. National Library Of Medicine: Bookshelf
  5. National Library Of Medicine: Bookshelf
  6. National Library Of Medicine: Bookshelf
  7. National Library Of Medicine: PubMed
  8. The United States Department of Health and Human Services

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: December 8, 2023

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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