Addiction is a disease that does not discriminate based on age, sexual orientation, race, or gender. It is a disease that has both biological and environmental elements that affect people of all kinds in many similar and different ways. Oftentimes, gender-specific treatment is necessary to address specific needs. When it comes to men and women, there are various shared issues that are experienced as a result of addiction, but there are also many challenges they come across because of their gender.
Gender-Specific Risk Factors for Addiction
No matter what your gender is, however, if you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, getting help is absolutely vital to your wellbeing. Continuing to be active in your addiction will only create more destruction in your life, as well as threaten it. Thankfully, there are options for treatment that can address the needs of both men and women separately, allowing for more profound recovery.
Some of the most common risk factors associated with addiction include issues such as family history of mental illness and/or substance abuse and childhood trauma, which both men and women can experience equally. But in many cases, men and women experience different risk factors as a result of their gender that can contribute to their likelihood of abusing drugs or alcohol. Consider the following:
Risk factors that are common among men can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- History of behavioral issues
- Anger management problems
- Peer pressure
- Difficulty expressing emotions
Risk factors that are commonly found in women who are addicted to drugs or alcohol can include:
- Societal pressure
- History of abuse
- Mental illness (more common in women than in men)
- Hormonal changes (due to menopause, childbearing, etc.)
Traditionally, women are faced with the pressure of having to appear a certain way to others. Everything from the way they look physically and how they raise their children to how they behave in the workplace and how they keep their home is often highly critiqued by members of society. Men experience a similar pressure, but the pressure they feel tends to come from the pressure to hide their feelings and be successful, for example. Additionally, women are more likely to develop a mental illness like anxiety or depression than men, however men tend to struggle more with controlling their anger and impulsivity.
Both biologically and environmentally, men and women comes across several different challenges simply because of their gender. This unfortunately creates an additional set of risk factors for women and men outside of the basic set of risk factors they both share. Thankfully, though, men and women can obtain treatment that is specific to their unique needs through gender-specific care.
Benefits of Gender Specific Treatment
Gender-specific treatment can be life-changing for men and women, especially if they have been experiencing many of the common effects that addiction inflicts on them as a result of their gender. The focus that can be applied on clients of a gender-specific program plus the level of care provided can make this type of treatment highly effective and beneficial. Some of the greatest benefits of gender-specific treatment include the following:
- No fear of judgment — It is a natural reaction for men and women (straight men and women, specifically) to want to appear attractive to one another. Unfortunately, addiction is far from attractive. Treatment is designed to unearth all of the ugly parts of one’s addiction in an effort to address them and move forward. Men and women can benefit from doing this work in a gender-specific space as they do not have to feel as if they being judged by the opposite sex.
- Emotional comfort — Women and men have a wide range of varying emotions to work through when in treatment, and doing so in the presence of one another can be emotionally uncomfortable. For example, a woman who was in a physically abusive relationship may be uncomfortable sharing her experience in the presence of a man. A woman in this position might also get uncomfortable if a man begins getting angry while in treatment. Conversely, a man may focus more on fighting back tears or showing any “soft” emotions so that he is not perceived as less than by the women in the room. Treatment needs to be conducted in a place where everyone can feel comfortable enough to fully express themselves.
- Less distraction — One of the most common things that people who enter into rehab are told is to not get into any new relationships anytime soon. This can be hard for some, as they may struggle with codependency issues or fear of being alone. They might also be more drawn to a member of the opposite sex because they are both going through something so profound at the same time. Gender-specific treatment eliminates this issue, allowing for men and women to continue to focus on themselves in order to establish a solid footing in recovery.
- Improved bonding — Because of the exclusivity of gender-specific treatment, men and women get the opportunity to bond with several members of the same sex. Of course members of separate genders can form strong bongs with one another, however there is something to be said about the bonds that can form between men and the bonds that can form between women. When men and women develop a bond with members of the same gender, they create a support system of individuals who can relate to one another in unique ways. These relationships can be an excellent source of trust, accountability, respect, and enjoyment for the men and women who foster them.
When men and women participate in gender-specific treatment, they are afforded the opportunity to focus on issues specific to their gender as well as challenges that are commonly shared by everyone who develops the disease of addiction. The benefits of this are priceless, as many studies have shown that people who participate in gender-specific treatment are more likely to remain in recovery for longer periods of time.
Discovery Place offers Gender-Specific Treatment in Nashville, TN
If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol and need help, do not wait another minute to reach out for help. Doing so can save your life. By calling Discovery Place in Nashville, TN today, you can safely stop your active addiction and get started on the road to recovery. Let us help you overcome your battle with addiction so that you can live a happy, healthy life.