How Beneficial is Gender-Specific
Treatment for Addiction?
Being a disease, addiction affects women and men. However, no single treatment approach benefits both genders equally. Every sex has inherent differences. Therefore, it’s reasonable to argue that men and women experience substance abuse and addiction differently.
The experiences of men and women when it comes to substance abuse and addiction should be considered when creating a treatment plan. Broad strokes can be used when determining the best approach for treating alcohol and drug addiction among men and women.
Effective female and mens only facilities for addiction treatment programs are gender-specific. This ensures that they provide definite advantages to the addict because they address different experiences of the genders. They are also sensitive to each gender’s needs while providing a comfortable healing environment free from distractions.
Differences in Addiction between Men and Women
Research indicates that substance and alcohol use was predominantly perceived as a male phenomenon until recently. Over the past few decades, researchers have shifted attention to female alcohol and drug use, as well as, their effects on women. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, about 4.5 million U.S women were suffering from a substance abuse problem. 31 million women use illicit drugs regularly while 3.5 million abuse prescription medication.
The bodies of women weigh lower than those of men. Women have less water and more body fat. Therefore, women’s bodies retain alcohol in fatty cells than men’s bodies. That means the internal organs of women are exposed to alcohol and its effects longer than those of men.
Additionally, women have fewer enzymes that can break down alcohol in the liver and stomach than men. As such, their bloodstream absorbs alcohol faster thereby, increasing blood alcohol content rapidly than men that had the same amount of alcohol.
When addicted to alcohol or drugs, women progress faster than men. Recovery is also different between men and women. Women are also more likely to relapse than men and for different reasons.
When women use cocaine, heroin, or marijuana, they progress their use and reach dependency faster than men. Also, women experience greater severity and more consequences to their health faster than men.
Such differences are the reason why women and men-only rehab facilities exist. Due to these gender differences, treatment approaches should also be tailored to suit the unique needs of males and females.
Why Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment Matters
To start recovering from alcoholism or drug addiction, a patient should be honest with the staff at the rehabilitation facility. They should be honest with the counselors, therapists, and themselves. It’s crucial to take anything that may interfere with their healing process out of the way. This includes having members of the opposite gender.
Research has shown that gender considerations have implications when it comes to treating addiction. For instance, a man can be tempted to replace vulnerability and being lost with the promise of romance or even flirtation. This is understandable because both men and women are away and feeling vulnerable. Sharing feelings and thoughts in group therapy can make the patients feel connected.
Essentially, seeking treatment in a gender-specific facility eliminates issues of developing attractions when patients should focus on recovery.
How Gender-Specific Treatment Benefits the Patient
Addiction to alcohol or drugs varies between men and women. The reasons why men use alcohol and drugs are also different from those of women. As such, their goals and expectations in treatment are different. Going to women or men-only rehabilitation center can benefit the patient in the following ways.
When a man undergoes treatment in the company of other men, he feels like he won’t be judged than when he receives it around women. Some experiences with alcoholism or drug addiction can include instances when a man has acted aggressively both physically and verbally. Discussing such incidents can be challenging when a male patient is around females. When some women hear of such cases, they may react as if the incident has just happened.
No Expectation to be Strong or Tough
Society expects men to be strong or tough. They should keep feelings to themselves even when overwhelmed. Thus, some men are unable to seek help because society expects them to be strong and never accept to seek assistance. Men-only rehab programs eliminate this expectation. This enables the patients to focus on beating addiction and leading a sober life.
No Wasting Time Discussing Issues of Gender
When seeking treatment for addiction, women and men have gender issues. When in a specific gender group, men are unlikely to be stuck in a discussion of women’s issues. Instead, they will spend their time discussing the causes of addiction and pressures faced by fathers, husbands, and sons.
When receiving gender-specific treatment, patients are likely to share common experiences. Some patients can even have the same experiences even when their backgrounds are different. Common experiences make the patients develop a sense of belonging and understanding. They undergo treatment in a group where they understand each other. Thus, a patient realizes that he is not alone in the recovery journey. And, this can boost the healing process.
When a male goes to a facility that provides rehab for men, he is likely to feel more comfortable and relaxed than when in a mixed-gender center. As such, he can contribute to discussions more openly and be himself. Male-only treatment settings encourage patients to make new friends, bond and develop trust. As such, a man can discuss issues like their past relationships with family members and spouse, feelings of shame, embarrassment, anger, guilt, aggression, love, and anxiety, self-esteem, control, and fear.
The Bottom Line
Seeking treatment for alcoholism and drug addiction is not easy. It’s a process that entails finding the most ideal facility to provide the most effective treatment. A gender-specific facility provides a setting where a patient is likely to focus on recovery without interruptions. If you or a person you care about needs treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction, consider a gender-specific rehab facility.
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