Three Determining Factors for Choosing Gender-Specific Treatment

An individual’s gender often has a potential to affect several critical factors along their path towards seeking substance abuse treatment. Often, identification of the problem is often the first step towards treatment, whether it is by the individual themselves, a loved one, health care professional or employer. The likelihood that one’s substance abuse problem is identifiable seems to differ by gender in some specific settings.

Many studies have found that women in particular are less likely to seek treatment but overall fare better when seeking sobriety when compared to men. Women often feel more stigmatized and feel they have a lack of time to fully complete treatment due to family obligations.

Addicts, whether men and women, often feel that even if they seek treatment they are still subject to the stigmas they have tried so hard to overcome. Because society often lacks information on addiction and addicts, the public may look negatively on those struggling with addiction and often cast judgment prior to understanding. Recovering addicts can spend years trying to convince others of their sobriety, when the truth is many will never understand the struggle and hardships they had to overcome.

Reasons to Choose Gender-Specific Treatment

Although overall gender-specific treatment has not been proven to be more successful than other forms of treatment for some, having the option to be surrounded by the same sex can increase the odds of successfully completing treatment. Due to the vast varieties of treatment options, one should fully research what form of treatment is best for them. Included in the following are three reasons individuals choose gender-specific treatment:

  • Less distraction from the opposite sex
  • A more comfortable atmosphere
  • Able to relate to others in treatment better

Maintaining focus is one of the most important aspects of treatment. Being focused can help addicts think clearly, engage in treatment and listen and absorb the information they are being taught. For some, having the opposite sex within the same facility can be distracting, leaving them unable to get the most out of their treatment. Some may find that they are tempted by the opposite sex through the need to fill the void that their drug of choice once consumed.

Treatment facilities often have a set of rules and regulations that all the attendees must sign, acknowledging that they have read and agree to abide by the rules. These rules may forbid sexual relations with employees or other individuals in treatment. Many times, not following the regulations set by the facility can end in a termination of the contract, ultimately causing the addict to leave treatment prematurely.

Being relaxed and comfortable in treatment enables addicts to heal and get the most out of their treatment. For some this may mean being in an environment surrounded by members of the opposite sex. While others may have experienced a traumatic event with a member of the opposite sex and might be hesitant to open up around them. This reticence could hinder one’s treatment progress and may even lead to them to dropping out of treatment early.

Women may find it easier to relate to other women who are also overwhelmed by their family responsibilities – responsibilities that may have caused them to turn to drugs or alcohol for escape or to cope. Having this common bond can help addicts establish relationships, which they can build on. Being able to relate to others in treatment can help foster productive feedback and teach addicts how to build trust again. Many addicts struggle with building trust again, even with loved ones. They often feel judged and this judgment is often enough to cause them to retract and stop trusting others, however, treatment can give them the tools to rebuild this trust.