One of the great challenges of treating substance abuse is the fact that every addict has their own unique and specific needs when it comes to addressing their addiction. A “one-size-fits-all” approach will simply not benefit addicts in the long run if they hope to maintain a meaningful long-term recovery. Fortunately, there are many different types of addiction treatment services that are available that can be individually tailored to meet each client’s specific recovery goals. A great example of this diversity found in drug treatment is gender-specific treatment. This article will further explore what gender-specific treatment is and how it can benefit both men and women in their respective quests towards lifelong sobriety.

If you are looking for gender-specific treatment, or if you have questions on whether a gender-specific approach will best suit your needs, call Guardian Recovery Network today at (888) 693-1894 and find out our programs.

What is Gender-Specific Treatment?

gender specific

Gender-specific treatment programs can be simply defined as those programs that are designed to treat only men or women.  By men and women undergo substance abuse treatment in this specific type of treatment context, it help to remove some of the distractions that may come from members of the opposite sex, allowing patients to feel more comfortable in their recovery programs. Gender-specific treatment programs also features specific areas of focus that benefit either sex in regards to personal growth and achievement.

How Gender-Specific Programs Help in Recovery?

gender specific

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 and require additional attention during the treatment process. In a treatment program that is specifically created for a specific gender those in treatment not only share 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.

Benefits of Women-Specific Drug Treatment

women in recovery

In recent history, there has been an increasing focus on the needs of women when they seek drug treatment. Women face unique barriers when searching for treatment, which can include the following:

  • Sexual or physical trauma with resulting post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is more common among females in treatment than males.
  • Females are more likely to access treatment through a mental health provider or general doctor.
  • Females are less likely than men to be financially independent.
  • Females have additional medical concerns–especially with pregnancy-related issues.
  • Females are usually the primary caregivers; therefore, they may have child care needs or concerns.

Given these concerns, traditionally-based drug treatment models may not adequately meet a women’s specific needs. While women do face significant hurdles in finding treatment, when they do find treatment that meets their specific needs they are just as likely as men to complete treatment. With gender-specific treatment especially with their needs in mind, women can experience the following benefits:

  • Onsite assistance with childcare, as well as other forms of financial assistance.
  • Emphasis on group therapy in which women feel a sense of support and empowerment.
  • Emphasis on therapies which stimulate creativity such as art and music therapy
  • Emphasis on mental health intervention and increased attention on co-occurring disorders.

Benefits of Men-Specific Drug Treatment

men in recovery

While it is important to focus on the specific needs of women who seek treatment, men also have specific needs that need to be addressed in a treatment setting. While research on substance abuse and addiction traditionally focused on males and many “traditional” treatment center models can be considered “male models”, there seems to be little research done on the specific needs of men in drug treatment. When compared to women, men and twice as likely to meet the criteria for alcohol and drug dependence. It is also estimated that men are three times as likely to become alcohol dependent or alcoholic.

There are also differences that need to be taken into consideration in regards to the reasons men and women abuse drugs and alcohol. In general, men tend to use substances to try and increase positive moods and as a coping mechanism in dealing with social and behavioral problems whereas women tend to abuse drugs and alcohol as a means of  self-medication in an attempt to deal with emotional and psychological issues.

When men can find gender specific treatment, they can benefit from the focus on the following issues:

  • father/son relationships
  • anger and aggression
  • emotional isolation
  • spiritual disconnection
  • sexual issues

These key issues often lie at the root of substance abuse in men. Additionally, men who undergo gender-specific drug treatment can also benefit from programs that focus on the causes of stress in their everyday lives. Men may develop major depression and later substance abuse issues as a result of work-related stress.

Despite Their Differences, Gender-Specific Treatment Has Many Similarities

When we look beyond the specific needs of each sex in gender-specific drug treatment, these treatment facilities have the same underlying structure when it concerns the progression of treatment. From the medical detoxification process, counseling and therapy, life skills and relapse prevention training and through to aftercare programs, gender specific drug treatment helps addicts get the tools and support they need in order to achieve long-term recovery.

Do You Have Questions About Gender-Specific Drug Treatment? Guardian Recovery Network is Here to Help

Drug and alcohol addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer of people’s lives. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman, rich or poor and it doesn’t matter where you come from or what do do for a living. Anyone can develop an addiction to substances and it slowly can tear you life apart and can throw the lives of your family and friends into dysfunction. If you are looking for gender-specific treatment that will meet your unique and specific needs, call Guardian Recovery Network today at (888) 693-1894.

Our intensive outpatient programs are geared to meet the diverse needs of all of our clients and our experienced staff is able to create individualized treatment plans from a wide variety of effective therapies that are proven to work. Make you recovery a reality and call Guardian Recovery Network today.


Reviewed for accuracy by:

Anna earned her Masters of Social Work at Barry University in Miami, FL in 2017 and completed her internship in co-occurring disorders. Anna has a Bachelors of Art in Religious Studies from Naropa University and is a certified yoga and meditation instructor. Anna has received specialized training in somatic counseling with an emphasis on body-centered psychotherapy.