Gender-Specific Groups Treatment

Steps Recovery Center recognizes how vital the mind, body, and spirit are in their connection to the whole person. We take a holistic approach to treating those with substance abuse and relatable disorders that may contribute to their substance abuse; this includes treating the whole person, and find that it tends to be more successful, especially since addiction affects every aspect of a person’s life. With a customized and individualized program, a holistic approach just makes sense. It affords an opportunity to meet the patient’s physical and psychological needs and allows them to engage physically, emotionally, and mentally.
What is Gender-Specific Treatment?
There are fundamental biological and cultural differences between the sexes regarding substance abuse—this from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). This is why gender-specific addiction treatment is specially designed to treat men and women separately. These differences exist in rates of dependence, substance choice, and the brain’s response to substance abuse. Women and men have differing reasons and circumstances for substance abuse, which can affect relapse. When a recovery center implements gender-specific treatment programs, it allows for sensitivity to all of the issues. It addresses the unique needs of the sexes in a comfortable and supportive environment.
How Addiction Affects the Genders Differently
As mentioned above, addiction affects the genders differently, so it’s essential to design treatment programs to reflect those differences. Here are some differences between men and women. Men
  • More likely to report marijuana and alcohol use
  • Start engaging in substance abuse because of benefits they perceive will help them achieve better concentration, increased sociability, and improve or enhance their sex drive and performance
  • Use at higher doses
  • Typically won’t seek help or treatment
Specific elements in addiction treatment for males typically revolve around male cultural roles and stereotypes. This results in men feeling overly judged or viewed as weak when talking about themselves. Being around other men helps them feel more accepted and comfortable. Men also may need more time than women to open up and voice their struggles or emotions. Gender-specific treatment for men focuses on the physiological, psychological, and emotional needs of males. Also, male sexual abuse is another sensitive issue that needs serious addressing and may be overlooked in traditional treatment methods.
  • More likely to report non-medical use of prescription drugs
  • Start using drugs as a way to deal with traumatic experiences or abusive relationships
  • Self-medicate to escape painful emotions caused by victimization or abuse
  • Have a family member or spouse/partner who uses it, therefore start using it themselves
  • Begin at lower doses
  • Enter treatment sooner, but have more co-occurring psychological distress like mood and anxiety disorders
Women-specific treatment programs are a good option for women who desire to connect and communicate with others of the same sex in which they feel they can relate: motherhood, relationships, workplace dynamics, and family life in a safe and supportive environment. Women also benefit from being with other women, especially when they have experienced verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual assault from a man. Since abuse can lower a woman’s sense of self-worth and value, they likely won’t feel comfortable discussing these topics in groups with men. 
Benefits of Gender-Specific Treatment
Gender-specific programs offer multiple benefits, including:
  • Increased comfort as gender-specific treatment inspires a sense of trust and bonding among other same-sex clients
  • Customized treatment for gender-unique emotional, physiological, and relational issues
  • Encourages open communication about social and cultural pressures–possibly resulting in substance abuse–via supportive gender-sensitive therapy groups 
  • Reduced sexual tension and distractions between male and females
By tailoring the needs of the sexes with gender-specific treatment, overcoming substance abuse and other related disorders becomes more comfortable and more rewarding.