Gender Specific Treatment
Substance abuse disorders and mental health disorders affect individuals of different genders in varying ways and studies have shown that treatment for substance abuse and mental health disorders has the greatest success rates when these programs are tailored to gender-specific needs. Gender specific treatment is designed to treat only men or only women. This removes some of the distractions and barriers that may arise from being around members of the opposite sex. It also allows clients to feel more comfortable and focused as they recover around peers of the same gender, enabling them to relate over experiences specific to their gender.
In many cases, individual barriers to recovery are gender-specific and therefore men and women have very different feelings about seeking treatment, how their disorders affect their body and stigma associated with their barriers to treatment. For example, men are almost twice as likely to abuse illicit substances compared to women, but women are more likely to feel shame and guilt for seeking help for an addiction, to the point that these feelings create a huge barrier to treatment.
Women are also more likely to have undergone trauma leading to their mental health or substance abuse disorder and therefore may need to undergo a program that focuses on a trauma component such as trauma-informed care or EMDR. Gender-specific treatment either substance abuse or mental health disorders can address these and other differences in a setting that is sensitive, supportive, private and non-discriminatory.
Our unique treatment methods combine the best of East and West, making sure that our clients are treated not only physically but also psychologically. With the help of our team of Master level clinicians, we have developed treatment plans that address the problems unique to the genders and thus help our clients achieve lasting sobriety, regain self-confidence and lead a drug-free life.
Benefits of Gender Specific Treatment Programs
There are fewer distractions: In some cases, a member of the opposite sex may prove to be a distraction and hinder an individual’s progress while in therapy. While in recovery, men and women should be focusing on their own health, self-improvement, and growth, instead of focusing on the opposite sex.
Clients are more likely to be able to relate to each other: Peer support is a large part of addiction recovery. Having shared life experiences with other individuals in group therapy encourages sharing and helps people relate to one another with greater ease. A male group therapist may be able to relate to a room full of males who have failed in their marriages because of their alcohol disorder that leads to violence. Or a female client may be able to relate to a fellow female client in group therapy who battled an addiction while pregnant.
Treatment is more comfortable: Some individuals may feel uncomfortable sharing intimate, painful or traumatizing life experiences in a mixed-gender group setting. Because of this, gender-specific treatment often offers an environment that feels more safe and welcoming. This encourages openness and honesty, which leads to more healing and progress throughout addiction treatment.
More time is spent on gender-specific issues that are relatable to that gender: In a women-specific treatment center, more time can be focused on addiction in pregnancy, the battles of motherhood, and past trauma whereas these issues may be deemed unimportant in a gender-mixed treatment program.
The Importance of Women Specific Treatment Programs
- Women in treatment programs are more likely to have experienced sexual or physical abuse.
- Women in treatment programs are less likely than men in treatment to have a high school diploma or employment.
- Women in treatment are more likely to deal with the child welfare system and the advanced complications of alcohol and drug use during pregnancy.
Ultimately, successful, long-term sobriety and mental health wellness stem from your commitment to the outpatient program. It is your choice to open up to your therapist and talk openly during group sessions. Opening up can be difficult and facing your problems can be painful, especially in front of strangers. It is important to discuss your treatment and care with your loved ones and treatment team to decide if outpatient treatment is the correct level of care for you, at this time.
Gender Specific Issues that are Addressed in Treatment
- Stigma or shame
- Possible rejection of family members
- Pressures of societal expectations