When a modern society puts so much emphasis on gender inclusion, it seems strange that gender-specific treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs) and other addictions would be more effective for those in recovery. Studies indicate that when men and women receive treatment for SUDs in separate groups, they can focus on issues that are unique to each gender which ultimately leads to better outcomes for both sides. Since the path to recovery is never the same for any two people, it makes sense that a treatment approach tailored to these unique gender barriers would be beneficial.
At GateHouse Treatment, we designed our gender-specific treatment to offer clients the best-in-class drug abuse treatment. Regardless of your identity, our programs share the same core focus: leading individuals out of addiction and into long-term recovery. Continue reading to learn why gender-specific treatment is surprisingly beneficial and how GateHouse Treatment can help get you into the program you need for a meaningful recovery.
1. Gender-Specific Treatment Allows for an Open Conversation
Men and women tend to feel more comfortable discussing their problems regarding addiction with others of the same sex and gender. While this notion doesn’t apply to everyone in recovery, many individuals may feel unwilling to discuss specific concepts in coed group therapy sessions. For instance, a conversation in a men’s treatment program may tap into how addiction has impacted their sexual capabilities; such sensitive topics are more practical to discuss with those who can see from your point of view. In turn, these gender-specific environments add much-needed comfort that helps people get the most out of their treatment.
An open conversation should be meaningful and impactful, and no one should ever feel restricted when delving into personal stories or anecdotes. While this rings true for the speaker, it also relates to the receiver of such stories. A therapy session attendee will have a better and more valuable time taking in these anecdotes if they can relate rather than be put off or bothered by them.
2. Gender-Specific Treatment Reduces Distractions
Individuals suffering from addiction often use substances to find an escape from themselves; this can lead to them seeking out a relationship or intimate partner where they can channel that focus elsewhere and potentially force a dependence. Since recovery strives to conceptualize self-discovery, individuals should always keep that focus where it belongs.
Studies show that sexual compulsions employ the same brain pathways activated by substance abuse – this isn’t to say that a love addiction will co-exist with a substance use disorder, but keeping such distractions to an absolute minimum in a treatment program will always be advised. Those recovering from addiction are much better off without unnecessary complications, especially if they become interested in someone in their group. If these circumstances arise, they may become overly conscious about what they say and less likely to open up about experiences and personal topics.
3. Gender-Specific Treatment Creates a Safe and Secure Environment
Individuals in recovery are often there as a result of trauma – be it domestic violence, sexual abuse, PTSD, and other complications that can give rise to addiction. Discussing such topics is significantly easier when in a safe and secure environment without the possibility of judgment. For instance, if a woman wishes to deliberate years of domestic violence that contributed to a bout with alcoholism, she may be more willing to speak in front of other women instead of men.
The need for a safe and secure environment in therapy goes beyond simply allowing individuals to speak without judgment. Sometimes the most concise way to find the root cause of addiction is by discussing sensitive topics, even in a one-on-one setting. Individuals are setting themselves up for success in all future programs and therapies by developing the necessary communication skills to find these root causes within a gender-specific setting.
4. Gender-Specific Treatment More Efficiently Targets Relapse Prevention
One primary goal of any treatment center is to help patients devise a plan for relapse prevention, and this usually requires addressing common triggers specific to each gender. When individuals with substance use disorders receive treatment in a relatable environment where their triggers may align with those around them, they have a greater chance of learning relevant prevention techniques.
The severity of such triggers also plays a prominent role in the effectiveness of gender-specific therapy. Women tend to develop an addiction more quickly than men, and their issues are often more severe. Meanwhile, men are more prone to addiction due to co-existing mental health conditions for which they are less likely to seek treatment. A viable relapse prevention plan is unique to the specific triggers for relapse that vary from person to person.
5. Gender-Specific Treatment Caters to Varying SUDs
Men and women initiate substance misuse for varying reasons, but studies indicate that some SUDs are much more prominent depending on gender. For example, men are twice as likely to develop alcohol use disorders and addictions to marijuana and cocaine than women. In contrast, women are more likely to abuse prescription medications such as opioids or benzodiazepines. Gender-specific therapy allows these individuals to receive treatment with others who may share the same substance use disorder.
Treatments specific to one type of SUD allow for a more comprehensive discussion. AA meetings are a shining example of this consideration since, statistically speaking, men are the more prominent gender in these programs. A woman in a male-dominant AA meeting may not benefit as she would in a women-only meeting and may feel intimidated when sharing her thoughts and emotions.
6. Gender-Specific Treatment Shatters Stigmas
Stigmas regarding the discussion of mental health are unfortunately still prevalent, particularly in men who may believe that facing addiction is “unmanly.” To avoid perceived scrutiny, men often conceal their emotions and believe they can fix their problems alone. In turn, this neglect only worsens symptoms and increases the chance of suicidal ideation in many individuals.
Gender-specific treatment works well to break these stigmas within the male community. When men can come together and learn that they are not the only ones facing mental health and addiction issues, they can look at their hardships in a different and more productive light as they progress through recovery.
GateHouse Treatment Focuses on Issues Unique to Each Gender
Our approach to addiction treatment relies on a unique mix of modalities that provide the life skills and development needed to get clean and sober. GateHouse Treatment offers both women’s gender-specific treatment programs as well as men’s for a tailored approach made to last. We offer partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, gender-specific mental health therapies, family programs, and other comprehensive services.
If you believe gender-specific therapy is the right option on your recovery journey, don’t hesitate to call us today at (855) 448-3707 or by visiting our website. We are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Let GateHouse help you find the treatment plan that is best for you.