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Gender Specific Addiction Treatment Programs

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

January 11, 2024

Table of Contents

The Benefits of Gender-Specific Programs

Addiction is a disease that affects both men and women. However, that doesn’t mean each gender benefits from exactly the same approach to treatment. Since the sexes have some inherent differences, it stands to reason that their experiences with substance abuse will differ. Gender-specific treatment programs, such as a men’s rehab program, have some definite advantages for addicts. They address the different experiences of the sexes, are sensitive to the needs of each group in treatment and provide a comfortable environment for healing without distractions. These experiences form part of the criteria considered when establishing a treatment plan. It’s possible to use some broad strokes when determining the best ways to offer drug and alcohol treatment to men and women.

Men and Women Experience Addiction Differently

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, there’s strong evidence to support addiction treatment programs that are tailored to one’s gender. Gender-specific treatment programs can be simply defined as those programs that are designed to treat only men or women. Undergoing substance abuse treatment in this specific type of treatment context helps to remove some of the distractions that may come from members of the opposite sex. This allows patients to feel more comfortable in their recovery programs. Gender-specific treatment programs also feature specific areas of focus that benefit either sex in regards to personal growth and achievement.

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How Gender-Specific Treatment Programs Help in Recovery?

While the effects of substance abuse and addiction may be similar among both sexes, the path to addiction and recovery tends to differ between the genders. Additionally, both men and women will face barriers that can be unique to their gender. This may require additional attention during the treatment process. In a gender-specific treatment program that is specifically created for men or women, those who are in treatment share not only many of the same issues directly related to their addictions, but they also share common general life experiences.

For example, common factors shared by peers in these types of programs might include experiences as a wife and mother or husband and father. Men naturally want to protect their image as being tough and strong when in the presence of a woman. That’s why, when it comes to opening up and sharing feelings, men relate to men better than they do to women. Of course, the same applies to women. They are more likely to open up and share their feelings with another woman or a group of women. With this in mind, many addiction treatment programs now offer separate men’s and women’s groups as part of their curriculum.

Why Gender-Specific Rehab Program for Substance Abuse?

Men and women are just as likely as one another to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Yet research has proven that in most cases, the genders use drugs differently, respond to drugs differently, and have their own, unique obstacles in completing a clinical drug treatment program. For these very reasons, it has been proven that gender-specific treatment programs can enhance the recovery process for both men and women alike.

At Renaissance, we believe the separation of genders gives our clients better opportunities to address core issues. These may include why they started using drugs or how they feel when using drugs. Also, factors such as their home life, relationships, and any co-occurring disorders may exist. Our gender-specific treatment programs encourage men to establish their own goals, their own road to recovery and reclaim their own identities without outside pressures.

Gender-specific treatment for substance abuse allows individuals to lend more focus to themselves and their healing process. In these programs, there are no distractions or pressures caused by the opposite gender. Oftentimes, young men and women in recovery form romantic relationships to replace any “voids” experienced during treatment. At Renaissance, we eliminate these distractions to create the safest, most supportive environment for each individual throughout the recovery process.

Gender-Specific Treatment for Young Adults

At a gender-specific, young adult drug rehab center, group therapies and support groups are also more tailored to the needs and comfort levels of males and females. For example, a program for men would not need to focus on matters such as abuse, relationships, and motherhood. In an all-female setting, young women are more likely to share personal, intimate information. This is because they’ll be surrounded by peers they can relate to, of their own age and gender.

Co-ed Gender Specific Rehabilitation Programs

In co-ed addiction treatment or mixed-gender settings, it is likely some men and women may not confront all of their issues in the presence of the opposite sex. And any issues left unaddressed can cause shame, guilt, and prevent a successful treatment outcome. Another benefit of gender-specific treatment facilities is that their staff is specifically trained to work with men and/or women. In these facilities, there is an overarching institutional knowledge that can be extremely supportive for men and women in recovery.

Relating Better

Men and women go through very different experiences when it comes to addiction and recovery. It can be difficult for individuals to relate to one another when they cannot connect with the issues, triggers, and emotions of the opposite sex. Fortunately, in gender-specific treatment, men and women are likely to relate much more strongly to more people in the group. As a result, members can take part in all discussions, offer their own advice or simply show their support for someone going through the same things. This kind of treatment may also be ideal for counselors and therapists. They might have personal stories of reflection to offer.

At Renaissance Recovery, we offer a variety of gender-specific treatment options, including:

There are many benefits of gender-specific treatment. Those looking for this kind of option should call a center ahead of time to ensure they offer this service. If you’re not sure which option is best for you, consider the benefits of gender-specific treatment. Contact Renaissance Recovery at 866. 268. 1208 today.866.330.9449



At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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