Gender-Specific Rehab: What to Expect
Addiction can cause a variety of negative effects in an individual’s life that can impact work, family life and social interactions. Professional treatment is necessary to begin the exploration of issues that underlie the need to abuse substances. Gender-specific rehab offers special care for the issues men face in their personal and professional lives.
Why Gender-Specific Treatment Programs Were Developed
Specialists in addiction treatment began to notice a number of problems with treating both men and women in the same group. Often, men and women had different issues to deal with in counseling sessions. Women often dealt with domestic abuse, sexual abuse and economic issues. Men’s issues often had more to do with self-image and issues of aggression. In addition, men often had a greater reluctance to deal with deep emotional issues.
Men and women differed in the frequency of relapse, as well as the circumstances surrounding the relapse. Women relapsed less frequently than men, and they often experienced negative feelings preceding the relapse. Men relapsed about a third more often than women, and their relapses were often preceded by positive feelings of optimism and control.1 This evidence indicated that each gender might require specific types of treatment to help them prepare for maintaining sobriety in normal life.
Substance Abuse Treatment for Men
Because of the cultural roles of men in western society, they often come to substance abuse treatment with certain specific needs.
Addiction experts learned from their patients that men were often slow to enter treatment because it seemed to them to be an expression of weakness. They no longer had control over their substance use and felt ashamed and helpless about their inability to overcome it. Men seeking treatment had to be encouraged to see that getting help was a positive action that tackled a problem that needed professional therapy.
Men often found certain types of therapy less helpful than other types. For example, therapies that focused on introspection and talking through issues were often less effective than therapies that addressed specific thought patterns and related behaviors.
Men tend to be less comfortable revealing their emotions, either in individual or group counseling. They may require additional time and encouragement to explore their feelings.
Issues of male sexual abuse are often overlooked in traditional treatment settings. These sensitive matters can be handled more openly in single-gender settings.2
Encouraging Men to Enter Treatment
The decision to get help for a substance abuse problem is a momentous one. Men often find it difficult to admit they have lost control over their drug or alcohol use, and this reluctance is understandable, given the cultural expectation that men should always be in control of their emotions and actions.
Addiction treatment can provide the professional treatment men need to regain control over their substance use and can allow them to rebuild productive lives in sobriety. An understanding of the psychology of men and the best methods for motivating them can help these patients achieve a successful recovery from addiction.
Substance abuse can happen to people of any gender, any age and any station in life. Treatment is available that can help put your work and family matters back into a position of top priority. If you are a man who has special concerns about getting treatment for substance abuse issues, contact a professional treatment center for information about gender-specific alcohol rehab that can help you maximize the help you need to regain control over your life.