Addiction is a chronic and progressive condition that significantly affects both men and women. While each sex may have similarities in how addiction impacts their lives, that may not benefit from a “one size fits all” treatment approach. Men and women have inherit differences, and they need to be considered when creating treatment plans. Gender-specific rehab addresses the different experiences of men and women. Additionally, gender-specific drug treatment is sensitive to the needs of each sex.
Why Offer Gender-Specific Rehab?
As already stated, men and women have different treatment needs that a “one size fits all” approach can fail to address. What most people may not know is that drug treatment programs were based depending on the needs of men. These programs were then used for women, even though women’s treatment needs are distinctly different.
Drug treatment programs that are gender-specific address two specific areas in which men and women differ. First, gender-specific rehabs address the specific reasons why both sexes use drugs and alcohol. For men, the reason why they use substances are the perceived benefits they hope to gain while drinking or using drugs. For women, substance abuse has its roots in the need to escape the painful emotions brought by victimization and/or sexual abuse. Additionally, women may start to drink or use drugs because of a spouse or partner in engaging in substance use or abuse.
Secondly, gender-specific treatment programs are sensitive to the feelings that are countered in early recovery. When a person enters drug treatment, the first thing they must do is they must be honest with themselves, counselors and staff. In a treatment setting that contains both sexes, the feelings of vulnerability may result in deeper connections and possibly romantic relationships. Gender-specific rehabs eliminate those variables and puts the focus on treatment and gaining recovery.
The Advantages of Gender-Specific Treatment for Men
For men who enter gender-specific treatment, the environment encourages men to develop a sense of trust and bonding with staff and their peers in treatment. In this supportive environment, men can talk about topics they may be hesitant to share in other treatment environments. They can share their feelings without feeling embarrassed and/or judged.
Men are this type of treatment setting have no expectations to act tough or strong. When men drop those facades and can be themselves, they can let their guard down and can discuss issues that impact their lives such as relationship, 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. Additionally, men can dig deeper into the roots of their addiction and can interact with each other and share similar experiences.
The Advantages of Gender-Specific Rehab for Women
Women-only drug treatment is a great option for several reasons. First and foremost, women-only rehab focuses on cultural issues they face on a daily basis. Traditionally, women are seen as nurturers and caregivers who take care of their family. Oftentimes women have a more difficult road in finding treatment because they don’t want to have the stigma of seeking treatment for themselves because of their “roles”.
Secondly, gender-specific rehab for women focuses on the concept of body image. A women’s view of themselves regarding their body is deeply tied to self-esteem, self-worth and overall value. A women’s treatment program provides an atmosphere where they can discuss these issues in a supportive environment.
Women-only rehabs would also benefit patients since they can address the fears they may have as far as treatment impacting their role as a caregiver. In a supportive environment, women can talk about their feelings of being an addict while trying to care for their children. Additionally, women can have a safe space in talking about physical abuse and sexual assault.
How Men-Only and Women-Only Rehabs Are Similar
Looking beyond the differences that separate men-only and women-only drug treatment, both share some similarities. Both feature medical detoxification programs to help addicts through the often-difficult withdrawal process. Experienced personnel will utilize medication, nutrition, and other interventions to minimize withdrawal symptoms and help patients achieve stability. Additionally, treatment staff will evaluate patients for any co-occurring mental disorders that may complicate the treatment process
Once physically and psychologically stable, patients of gender-specific rehabs enter intensive inpatient care. Counselors create individualized treatment plans that are tailored to each individual’s unique needs. Through counseling, peer support programs, and other interventions, patients get the tools and support they need to overcome their addiction. For those who may not need inpatient treatment, gender-targeted rehabs over outpatient treatment and day programs that can fit an individual’s work, school or family commitments.
Upon successful treatment, patients with gender-specific rehabs can attend intensive outpatient treatment where they learn how to avoid the cravings and urges to use which can result in relapse. Many of these treatment facilities offer sober living options where newly recovering addicts can apply the living skills needed to get and stay sober on a daily basis. Additionally, these facilities offer alumni programs in which past graduates act as mentors to those about to complete treatment.
Is Gender-Specific Rehab The Right Fit For You?
No matter the gender, choosing the right addiction treatment center is a difficult choice. Entering drug treatment is a major life decision and finding the right treatment facility can be overwhelming. If you need help or have questions, the treatment professionals at B-Hope can help. As a premier drug treatment facility, we have developed gender-specific programs that can be tailored to fit your needs. Our staff will provide you with the tools you need to be confident in your newfound sobriety.
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