What Are The Benefits of Gender-Specific Treatment?
For years, addiction research was focused exclusively on the way drugs and alcohol affect men. Studies only involved male participants.
In many ways, this led to women facing certain issues in addiction recovery that were not amply provided for. Treatment programs were not originally prepared to suit or meet the needs of women in the program going through various gender-specific issues related to parenting, sexism, domestic abuse, and physical changes. However, over time researchers paid more attention to these things in order to create better experiences for women in recovery.
By the 1990s, women started participating in studies. Resultantly, researchers discovered some key differences in addiction for men and women. Substance use disorders can affect any gender from men, women, and others. From here, gender-specific treatment started springing up to deliver treatment tailored to the requirements of each sex.
The differences between the sexes uncovered are both biological and sociological. Biological differences revolve principally around average body mass and composition and hormonal differences – specifically the production of the hormones estrogen and testosterone.
Differences stemming from the impact of society include the stigma of addiction for females, the dynamics of relationships, and childcare responsibilities. All of these areas shape the addiction experience of men and women in different ways.
Men and women have different risk profiles for addiction, different recovery journeys, and different challenges for minimizing relapse. Gender-specific treatment takes this into account and delivers single-sex treatment stripped of all distractions and tensions.
Men: Substance Abuse
Men are almost twice as likely as women to abuse illegal drugs. 11.5% of males in the United States meet the criteria for substance use disorder, compared to just 6.4% of women, according to NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse). Meth treatment centers often contain many men in the program, opposed to women however it is not to say that women don’t also experience meth addiction.
Despite this heightened risk of developing substance use disorder, men are less likely than women to fatally overdose. They’re also less likely to visit the ER. If you or your loved one whether it is male or female experience meth addiction, be wary that women are more likely to suffer fatalities from meth overdose.
Roughly 5 million males in the US report misusing either drugs or alcohol during the previous year.
There are some areas where men are less likely to engage with treatment than women, with sleeping tablet dependency, for instance. Overall, though, men are more likely to seek treatment for both alcohol use disorder and substance use disorder.
Men are more likely than women to develop severe addictions, and they are also more likely to present with co-occurring disorders, as well as polysubstance abuse (the abuse of more than one substance). Each gender has unique needs when it comes to substance use disorder, drug abuse and its effects are varied hence the need for gender-specific treatment programs.
Men and women use drugs for different reasons, too. Men often take drugs for the perceived benefits, from using alcohol or marijuana as a social lubricant, or relying on stimulants like cocaine and meth for increased energy at work. Men also use drugs to enhance mood and for the high delivered.
The male body composition and metabolism means it takes more alcohol or drugs to intoxicate men than women. While men are more likely to develop addictions, then, it takes longer for substance use to become problematic. Men are more likely than women to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes. They are also more likely to smoke marijuana daily, and more prone to binge drinking. When it comes to stimulant use, it’s an even split between males and females.
Men’s Rehab and Aftercare
Since the addiction treatment model was based on treating men, regular programs are typically ideal for males with alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder.
There is some evidence to suggest that men benefit from longer treatment times. Aftercare should be tailored accordingly.
Women: Substance Abuse
Almost 16 million women in the United States reported using drugs in the previous year, with 4.6 million abusing prescription medication, according to NIDA data.
Women develop substance use disorders more rapidly than men. They are also more likely to experience panic attacks, and more likely to have a co-occurring anxiety disorder.
Women are more likely than men to seek help for the abuse of sleep aids than men. Overall, women are less likely to engage with addiction treatment, in part because of the stigma of female addiction that still lingers.
Typically, women abuse substances as a response to trauma, abuse, or pressure (both social and psychological).
Women are more likely than men to abuse stimulants as a weight loss aid. They are also more likely to abuse opioids, more likely to overdose, and more likely to end up in ER.
Females also start using substances earlier than males.
Fewer women than men abuse alcohol, but they become intoxicated on smaller amounts.
Women overall are more likely to experience adverse and severe health effects from drug abuse than men.
Women’s Rehab and Aftercare
Women are less likely than men to engage with addiction treatment, in part due to the stigma female addicts face, and in part due to commitments like childcare and responsibilities at home.
Once engaged with treatment, women can expect the same positive outcomes as males.
Women’s rehab will provide female-specific services, trauma therapy, social support, and help with parenting.
Especially in the event of trauma, women benefit from addiction treatment delivered in single-sex environments.
How Different Drugs Affect Men and Women Differently
Men and women can react differently to different substances. Here are some of the most common examples:
Adolescent girls have higher rates of binge drinking and underage drinking than adolescent boys.
Adult males, by contrast, are at heightened risk of developing alcohol use disorder.
For women, there’s more chance of developing an alcohol-related disease compared to a male drinking the same amount.
Women develop cocaine use disorder more rapidly than men.
Women are more likely than men to become addicted to opioid painkillers.
Men, on the other hand, are more likely to develop heroin use disorder than women.
Females are prone to taking more meth than men, and they become addicted to crystal more rapidly, too.
Women are more likely to experience depression after using MDMA (Molly) than men.
Men’s blood pressure becomes significantly higher after using Molly.
Gender-Specific Rehab at The District Recovery Community
Due to all of these subtle but important differences between the sexes, gender-specific rehab is proven effective for treating alcohol use disorder and substance use disorder.
If you’re ready to leave drink or drugs behind and you’d like to kickstart your recovery in a single-sex environment, we have men’s rehab and women’s rehab here at TDRC.
Benefit from inpatient or outpatient treatment, depending on the severity of your addiction. We deliver medication-assisted treatment in combination with psychotherapy so you’ll create a firm foundation for sustained recovery.
Move forward with life today by calling the TDRC team at 844.287.8506.