addiction treatment

Gender Specific Addiction Treatment

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Anyone who has suffered from substance abuse or addiction knows how essential it is to reach out and get help before the problem worsens. Everyone reacts to addiction, and to its treatment, in their own individual way. Men and women have many basic cultural and biological differences, they relate to the world differently and have different physical, social, and emotional needs. When it comes to substance abuse and addictions, men and women also have their differences. Both men and women can, and do, suffer from addiction, but it affects each gender in different ways. 

Gender specific addiction treatment is:

  • Easier
  • More effective, and
  • Longer-lasting

than mixed treatments while catering to the unique needs of the male or female population.

Avenues Recovery, leaders in addiction rehabilitation, tailor make treatment plans to ensure each client has the easiest, smoothest and most supportive recovery possible. Join us as we explain gender specific addiction treatment and its benefits in addiction recovery.

Why Different Genders Benefit From Gender Specific Addiction Treatment



Men and women are different on many different levels; biologically, genetically, culturally, and socially, they have different needs and a whole different makeup. Because of their innate differences, men and women are affected by alcohol and substance abuse differently.

Genetically, you are more likely to inherit a susceptibility to addiction from the parent that is the same gender as you. That means that a female will be more likely to struggle with addiction if her mother also did, and a male will be more susceptible to his father’s genetic disposition to addiction.

Biologically, alcohol has a stronger and longer-lasting effect on women than men [1] because of the different levels of blood, fat, muscle, and water in their bodies.

Developing an addiction is easier and happens faster in the male population. However, women are more likely to face greater challenges within the condition, and within addiction treatment. For women, an addiction usually starts more slowly, but the cravings for alcohol or drugs are higher and stronger than for men. Hormonal changes in women affect mood, which is a big trigger for alcohol dependence and relapse during recovery.

Women are more likely to drink or turn to drugs to reduce stress and negative emotions, while men drink to increase positive feelings, or for the benefit they hope to gain from it.

Given these gender differences, gender-responsive treatment has been proven to work in the fight against addiction.

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Benefits of Gender Specific Treatment

Studies have shown that gender-specific addiction treatment is a smoother and faster way to recover [2]. Because gender differences in substance use disorders manifests in rates of dependence, choice of substance, and in the way the brain responds to substance use, it's important to address gender specific issues in the treatment of addiction. Studies also show that women and men have different reasons for substance use in the first place and differing reasons for relapse. Gender specific treatment programs are sensitive to all of these issues and address the unique needs of both men and women individually in a comfortable and supportive environment. There are usually fewer distractions in gender specific treatment, and there is the benefit of companions who are more relatable and have the ability to provide a unique level of support and understanding.

This addiction recovery method focuses exclusively on relevant issues, making the recovery process smoother and potentially faster. Gender specific addiction treatment is also more effective because it engenders more comfort, and a sense of trust and bonding leads to more open communication.

Research shows that addressing risks unique to gender may improve the chances clients will stay in the rehab program and complete the whole process, which is important for long-term recovery and reduces the risk of relapse.  Genderspecific treatment also improves the process of treatment and the outcomes for both men and women.

Addiction Treatment for Men

Males have their own specific set of physical, emotional, and cultural needs when it comes to addiction treatment and recovery. They are typically more reluctant to open up and show raw emotion. They may be embarrassed or even unable to admit shortcomings in public, and with the opposite gender in the mix, it becomes that much harder to be vulnerable. Men in substance abuse treatment programs generally have more anger issues, and it's better for them to open up and begin to heal in an environment in the exclusive company of other men, where they will be understood and accepted without the fear of judgment. It's harder for men to accept sympathy, and in a gender specific program, the therapy sessions will be tailored to the male need to be more utilitarian. Men also respond better to treatment methods that focus more on specific thought patterns and behaviors rather than feelings and introspection.

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Addiction Treatment For Women

Women and men can both successfully and fully recover from a substance abuse addiction, but the process is different for each gender. Women are social beings - they are relationship-driven and need connection, validation, and support from others going through a similar process.

Women-only treatment programs help create healthy relationships with other women. They create a sense of belonging and understanding that is exclusive to females. Women also have different emotional needs than men, and a large percentage of women in addiction treatment have been through a trauma, or are suffering from another mental health disorder. Men tend to be more assertive than women, making it harder for women in treatment groups to have the confidence to speak up and be heard. Mothers struggling with addiction in addition to raising a family can get support and encouragement from other women who really understand them and their unique struggles.

Gender Specific Addiction Treatment Can Make All the Difference


Both men and women will benefit from a targeted addiction drug detox treatment and recovery program, and the benefits will only increase in gender specific addiction treatment. Avenues Recovery can offer you the help you need in an understanding and supportive environment.  You don’t have to suffer alone. Contact us today to get started on your journey towards hope and healing. 

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