Gender Specific Treatment

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Gender Specific Treatment

Substance abuse disorders and mental health disorders affect each gender differently. Studies have shown that treatment has the greatest success rates when these programs are tailored to gender-specific needs. Gender specific programs separate men’s treatment and women’s treatment. 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. Men and women have different feelings about seeking treatment, how their disorders affect their body, and the stigma associated with their conditions and 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. As a result, they may need to undergo trauma-informed care or EMDR therapy. Gender specific treatment provides a setting that is sensitive, supportive, private, and non-discriminatory.

AKUA Mind and Body combines the best of Western medicine and Eastern holistic approaches, making sure that our clients are treated not only physically but also psychologically. Our team of Doctor- and Masters-level clinicians have developed treatment plans that address the problems unique to each gender to 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.


Clients are more 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 men who have struggled with relationships because an alcohol disorder. Or a female client may be able to relate to fellow women in group therapy who battled an addiction while pregnant.


Treatment is more comfortable: Some individuals may feel uncomfortable sharing intimate, painful, or traumatic life experiences in a mixed-gender group setting. Gender specific treatment offers an environment that feels safer and more 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’s treatment center, more time can be focused on addiction in pregnancy, the battles of motherhood, and past trauma, for example. In a men’s treatment center, topics might include social expectations, abuse, and violence. Each treatment program will address the concerns specific to its residents.

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The Importance of Women’s 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 a commitment to the outpatient program. It is a choice to open up to a therapist and talk openly during group sessions. Sharing can be difficult, and facing problems can be painful, especially in front of strangers. It is important to discuss your treatment and care with trusted loved ones and your 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


Treatment for individuals in a gender specific program or sexual preference rehab program is sometimes includes an exploration of how the client’s gender or sexuality affects their substance abuse disorder or mental health disorder. For example, gender specific programs may help clients address the following issues that may not be prioritized or even mentioned in a non-gender specific treatment program:

  • Discrimination
  • Homophobia
  • Stigma or shame
  • Trauma
  • Possible rejection by family members
  • Social pressure and expectations