Gender-Specific Treatment

Deciding to enter recovery is an extremely important undertaking, and it requires a lot of thought and consideration. A person has to decide what type of treatment program to enter, determine how long they need to step away from their lives and make sure it has everything they need to focus on healing and recovery. For many people, the best option for all this is a gender-specific rehab program.

Many drug and alcohol rehabs are for men and women, but some people depending on their circumstances, may require care that calls for a rehab center for just their specific gender. Gender-specific programs offer unique benefits and create a unique setting that many people find beneficial. It’s an important option to consider when thinking about the best possible environment for your journey to recovery.

At Laguna Shores Recovery in Dana Point, California, our co-ed treatment center provides our clients with gender-specific rehab programs to cater to the unique needs of men and women struggling with addiction and mental health disorders.

How Does Addiction Impact Genders Differently?

Addiction can happen to anyone, no matter their age, background, or income level. However, statistics bear out that people of different genders experience substance abuse differently. Gender-specific rehab programs take these differences into account and offer treatment options that take these differences into account.

Statistically, people who identify as women are more likely to use addictive substances to cope with trauma. Men-identifying people are more likely to use them (and become addicted) because of social pressures or to boost their confidence.

Women are more likely than men to have a dual diagnosis of a mental health issue that interacts and coincides with their addiction, such as anxiety. They are also more likely to develop any addiction if they have been physically or sexually abused.

Men are more likely to develop an alcohol addiction or use illicit drugs. Women are more likely to develop addictions to prescription drugs. Men are also more likely to consume multiple substances at once.

Due to having a (typically) smaller body size, women are affected by addictive substances in smaller amounts. This can lead to women progressing to the later stages of addiction sooner than men after trying the substance for the first time. Women can also experience the effects of addictive substances differently than men depending on where they are in their menstrual cycle.

How and why a person will relapse into addictive patterns depends most on the individual’s triggers and life stresses. However, statistics show that women are more likely to relapse when around a romantic partner, and men are more likely to relapse when alone.

People who are the children of addicted individuals are much more likely to become addicted themselves. However, the correlation is even more pronounced when the addicted parent is of the same gender.

If someone has an addicted parent who belongs to the same gender, that person may unconsciously emulate that parent in their addictive parent. This is especially true if they look to that parent for approval or guidance on gender identity, such as young men learning “how to be a real man” from their fathers.

Gender-based differences in substance abuse don’t mean that one gender is inherently better at achieving recovery than the other. All that this means is that some individuals may feel more comfortable discussing their addiction with others they feel “get it.”

For other people, being vulnerable around a certain gender may hamper their recovery. This isn’t the fault of the other people in the program. But not everyone may feel comfortable opening up about anxieties or trauma centered around a parent if they’re surrounded by people who belong to the same age group or gender as that parent. What matters most is finding an environment where a person is most likely to seek out support.

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Why is Gender-Specific Treatment Important?

It’s important to know that statistics are not always true for individuals. Plenty of people who identify as men become addicted to prescription medications, and many women begin using addictive substances to bolster confidence in social situations. Of course, transgender individuals and members of the LGBTQ community will face unique struggles and may have different needs than cisgender individuals (i.e. people who identify with the sex they were assigned at birth).

But for many, receiving treatment and undergoing programs designed with their gender in mind can be very empowering. They may feel less pressure to present themselves in a certain way, or more free to tell personal stories. What matters most is seeking and completing treatment that helps an individual achieve and sustain recovery.

Why Choose A Gender-Specific Rehab Program

Most recovery programs will offer treatment options that focus on individual therapy, relapse prevention, and the development of healthy coping mechanisms. Some treatment programs may have special offerings like trauma-focused therapy, which may be more approachable to some if offered in a gender-specific setting.

It’s most important to select a rehabilitation program that best supports your recovery and has the tools you need to succeed. For many people, the focus and comfort of a program designed for their gender helps them best achieve this end.

The Benefits of Gender-Specific Treatment

Receiving holistic treatment in a gender-specific rehab program can be beneficial for many seeking in-depth recovery treatment. Benefits of this type of treatment may include:

While LGBT services are important and exist for individuals who need them, the vast majority of individuals will not be attracted to people of the same sex. A gender-specific rehab program eliminates the possibility of romantic attachments forming and distracting from the effort to achieve sobriety.

Every individual has their reasons for addiction, and rehab programs are designed to bring together individuals from different walks of life. But certain gender-bound problems, such as feeling pressure to appear tough or to have children before a certain age, maybe more universally understood within a gender-specific rehab program. Individuals may feel more secure and free to express themselves if they feel their problems will be inherently validated.

A key aspect of addiction treatment is group therapy, where people from very different walks of life (united only by addiction) come together to discuss their struggles and encourage each other. People may find it easier to open up about difficult topics in front of others of the same gender.

The Differences in Treating Men vs. Women For Addiction

While the main principles of recovery are the same across genders, there are differences in addiction treatment for men and women. Gender-specific rehab programs may differ in the following ways:

Programs targeted toward the needs of a specific gender may be better able to anticipate the needs of attending individuals.

Members of the same gender may have similar life pressures upon exiting rehab, and thus be better able to help each other strategize.

Men may have different preferences for when and how they are vulnerable, and thus may prefer spaces designed with them in mind.

Gender-specific issues, including domestic abuse at the hands of the opposite gender, may be more openly discussed in gender-specific rehab programs.

Many rehabilitation centers feature supportive and safe detox programs. However, a rehab program designed for women will be more likely to have medical professionals knowledgeable about the effects of birth control or menstrual cycles on the process. Men will enjoy access to medical specialists who will be able to dose medications based on how they affect men, which doesn’t take hormonal fluctuation into account the same way.

It’s important to note that not all gender-specific rehab programs will offer the same activities or treatment programs, even across those designed to serve the same genders. It’s most important to select a program that serves their needs and helps them develop relapse prevention skills.

Overcome Addiction at Laguna Shores Recovery

No matter your gender, age, or life experience, it’s possible to recover from addiction. Recovery can be a difficult process, but it’s always worth it. It’s always easier when you’re surrounded by people invested in your recovery and ready to provide the services you need to thrive and succeed.

At Laguna Shores Recovery, we’re dedicated to helping people from all walks of life build a life of sobriety that they can sustain and be proud of. With classes in life skills, evidence-based treatment, and medication-assisted treatment to support healthy detox, we’re here for you. Contact us today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs and start your journey to recovery.

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