Do You Need Gender Specific Treatment?

Some people may have specific needs or issues that they are more comfortable sharing with a group that is the same gender. Recovery is challenging and takes courage no matter what gender you are or what drug you use. However, many people find that gender-specific treatment options allow them to be more comfortable in settings such as group therapy. For this reason, gender-specific treatment options are becoming more available as an option for those seeking recovery.

Are There Really Any Differences for Females in Rehab?

Addiction professionals that advocate for female-specific rehab say that females often have different specific needs in compared to their male counterparts. For example, women who become addicted to drugs may have unique trauma-related triggers that require a specialized treatment approach.

Trauma is not uncommon for people with addiction and co-occurring disorders.1 Research shows that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is commonly found among females with addiction issues. PTSD can be the result of mental, physical, or sexual abuse, childhood neglect, or other events.

Even the way in which men and women seek out help for their addiction or co-occurring disorders is a bit different. Women are also more likely to seek help through their doctors or a mental health provider. Some women are pregnant when they hit their bottom and seek out help. These unique issues often require women, often as their family’s primary caregiver, to take care of the needs of others even as they seek out help for themselves.

What Unique Needs Can Male-Only Rehab Programs Address?

An effective drug treatment program for men will not simply separate males from the females, it will also offer a specialized approach. Men also have their own specific needs that can be addressed by male-only rehab. Like women, men are likely to have a co-occurring disorder that needs to be addressed while in treatment. Research shows that men with demanding jobs or careers are more likely to experience depression, and men are also at a higher risk of stress-related health complication such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Many men who have a history of trauma or feel they have trust issues may also feel more comfortable in a setting with other men. Men who are married or have children often feel empowered to share their experiences with other men in similar circumstances. For many men, the stigma, shame and isolation of childhood abuse may be difficult, or even impossible, for them to talk about in a co-ed setting. Because of this, male-only treatment centers can offer a therapeutic staff of trained professionals who are experienced in helping men in recovery with such issues. Groups, or one on one therapy, may be recommended to men who are struggling with trauma issues.2

What About LGBT People?

For LGBT individuals who identify closely with a subgroup, the choice to enter an all-male or all-female treatment, or remain in a coed setting is largely up to the individual. The key is for the individual to choose a setting where they are comfortable and feel safe. An addiction specialist can help you decide what’s best for your individual circumstance.

Can Gender-Specific Treatment Keep Clients From New Relationships?

One reason some people may consider gender-specific rehabilitation programs is that they think it can provide a buffer to the temptation of relationships among the newly clean or sober. When a person goes to a treatment program, whether they are there for substance abuse or co-occurring disorders, the general consensus is that  you are there to work on yourself, and a relationship can cloud your judgment when it comes to making decisions. Of course, it would be best if all the people in the program are able to put relationships, and the gender they are attracted to, out of their mind. However, clients are only human, and sometimes they end up substituting a pre-occupation with drugs with a pre-occupation for members (or a certain member) of the opposite sex.

While separating genders may be a practical way to remove temptation for people who are heterosexual, the truth is that nowadays programs are very inclusive, irrespective of sexual identity and gender. There’s no way to stop clients from becoming distracted by the gender they’re attracted to. Addiction specialists highly discourage people who are just getting clean from getting into relationships, and most programs have strict rules against it. However, there’s no 100% way to enforce this rule. (When clients are caught having a sexual affair, they will usually be discharged from the program.)

Choose The Program That’s Right for Your Situation

 If you are more comfortable going to a substance abuse program that is sensitive to the needs of your gender, or separates genders, then that’s what you should ask for when you’re seeking information about specific programs. We have a professional time of trained professionals that can help assess your needs and fit you with the right path to recovery.

Please pick up the phone and give us call.

It’s 100% confidential and we’re happy to help you get started in reclaiming your life.

1.Women and substance use: Specific needs and experiences of use, available here.
2.Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help, available here.