When undergoing addiction treatment, especially when a co-occurring or dual diagnosis is involved, a person doesn’t always want to enter treatment programs where the opposite sex is in attendance. Or, they may not want an opposite-sex therapist. There are many reasons why someone would choose gender-specific therapy, and there are many benefits for enrolling in this type of addiction treatment. At Zelus Recovery, we provide a women’s therapy program and a men’s therapy program that can be effective for people who want to end their dependence on drugs or alcohol.
What Is Gender-Specific Addiction Therapy?
Gender-specific addiction therapy is a therapeutic approach for drug and alcohol use disorders specifically designed to treat men and women separately. Because there are biological and cultural differences between men and women, this can be quite helpful.
Not only are men and women different biologically and culturally, but they also differ in:
- The way they use drugs
- Motivations for entering recovery
- Needs and obstacles during recovery
- Drugs of choice
- How the brain responds
- Rates of dependence
- Reasons they might relapse
Differences in Drug Use by Gender
When looking at how men and women relate to drugs, some patterns emerge. Men are more likely to use marijuana and alcohol, while women report more non-medical use of prescription drugs.
Men approach drug use optimistically. They want better concentration, improved sex drive, and increased social opportunities. On the other hand, women’s drug use is more often related to trauma or abusive relationships. They are self-medicating to escape or cope with the emotional pain. Also, women are more likely to use because of a partner using or having a family history of drug abuse.
Often, women start with lower amounts of drug use, become addicted quicker, and enter treatment sooner than men. They are also more apt to have co-occurring disorders. Men feel more shame about the stigma around getting help.
Benefits of Separate Men’s Therapy and Women’s Therapy
With so many differences in men and women regarding their drug use, it’s easy to see why gender-specific therapy might be beneficial. All people can benefit from gender addiction therapy in numerous ways, including:
- Reduced sexual tension because men and women are separated.
- Increased comfort about bonding with fellow clients.
- Increased trust for those in the same situation.
- The ability to openly communicate about social and cultural pressures that lead to substance use.
- Specialized treatment for the specific gender-related physiological, emotional, and relational issues.
- There are often fewer distractions overall.
Recovery and Women’s Therapy
There are even more specific benefits for each gender, with women and men benefiting in different ways from same-sex therapy groups. In women’s therapy sessions, they must confront stereotypes, especially if they have children at home or are pregnant. They often have less family support. A woman’s need for relational expression can be threatened when a man is in her treatment program. It is also helpful if she struggles with seeing herself as independent and separate from the men in her life because it increases her power and beliefs around equality.
Recovery and Men’s Therapy
For especially hormonal young men, having a woman in their program can be a distraction, especially since relationships are discouraged during and after recovery. Men have specific issues surrounding privilege, misogynistic attitudes, and other men-specific tendencies that would hinder the recovery of the women and themselves if grouped together. Men are also more left-brained by nature and process things differently, often with less emotion.
When therapy is targeted to a person’s individual needs, their gender must be considered as well, which is where gender-specific addiction treatment programs come in.
Explore Zelus Recovery’s Gender-Specific Therapy
Even teens and young adults can benefit from gender-specific therapy. If you know a teen or young adult that is struggling with addiction, we want to help. Our early intervention, outpatient, and family programs help teens and young adults up to age twenty-five using a multi-systemic family approach. Reach out to Zelus Recovery at 208.518.0797, or contact us online