Three Determining Factors for Choosing Gender-Specific Treatment

Three Determining Factors for Choosing Gender-Specific Treatment

Gender-specific addiction treatment programs are a very effective resource for people who prefer this setting over a co-ed program. After analyzing the benefits and disadvantages of each option, the final decision will most likely depend on personal preference.

However, there are some cases where a person needs to choose a gender-specific treatment program because personal factors indicate that a co-ed program may impede recovery. Choosing gender-specific treatment should occur only after finding reliable information on the differences between co-ed and gender-specific settings, and consideration of determining factors that may point to a gender-specific treatment as the best option has taken place.

Addiction Help in Gender-Specific and Co-Ed Programs

The effectiveness of different settings for treatment has been subject of much research. It has long been a goal to evaluate whether gender-specific treatment is more beneficial than a typical co-ed program for women recovering from addiction in particular.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) published a paper that discusses possible gender differences that may explain why some women prefer to obtain treatment in a gender-specific setting. Among the differences, it was found that many substances impact women’s bodies differently than men’s, but that women are also more likely to be victims of sexual crimes near their homes or home towns when they are in active addiction.

The WebMD website also supports the idea that intrinsic differences between men and women may have an impact on the effectiveness of the treatment setting. Dr. Marianne Legato explains that there is enough evidence of deep physical differences between men and women that may affect prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a specific illness. Such differences could also be indicators of how gender-specific addiction treatment could be the best option for some women patients.

In the case of men’s addiction treatment, the paper published by the NIAAA mentioned above states that there is still much work ahead to be able to say if gender-specific treatment is truly superior to co-ed programs for men. In most cases, other factors such as personal preference are considered when deciding the type of setting for treatment.

Of course, the main difference between gender-specific and co-ed addiction help is that the other gender is not a part of the program and therefore his or her point of view is omitted. Some argue that this may be detrimental in the case of gender-specific treatment programs — particularly for sessions of group therapy and counseling.

However, there are also special benefits in attending a gender-specific center. These are three determining factors that gender-specific treatment is appropriate for you or a loved one:

  • A history of physical or psychological abuse – A patient with a history of abuse might find it difficult to concentrate on the program and recovery if forced to live among patients of the opposite sex. Although one of the goals of addiction treatment is to also provide emotional and psychological support and healing, in some cases this is best achieved in a gender-specific environment for the first stages of recovery.
  • Difficulty opening up emotionally – One key benefit of treatment is the mutual-aid offered through support groups. In these sessions, patients share with one another their life experiences and issues with addiction in a safe environment. However, some people might find it particularly difficult to share their deepest feelings and emotions if members of the opposite sex are present. In these cases, it is important to consider that group therapy is an important aspect of rehab, and that its benefits may be a determining factor to choose a gender-specific treatment program.
  • To eliminate intimate distractions – Some patients have experienced a certain level of sexual distraction while participating in co-ed programs for addiction treatment. Although a healthy level of interaction between men and women in rehab has its benefits, it is also vital to realize that being focused on the program is even more important. Sexual tension and other similar distractions may pose a threat to the effectiveness of the program.

These are just three factors that may indicate a gender-specific program may be right for you or your loved one. There are many important factors outside of these that should be considered before choosing a treatment program. While the National Institute on Drug Abuse funded a research article published in 2014 that showed that women who opted for a gender-specific option had a greater chance of finding employment after finishing treatment, it is also noteworthy that some health organizations such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration encourage the improvement of co-ed rehab programs in order to guarantee better outcomes for both men and women seeking addiction help.

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