Drug and alcohol rehab centers vary in so many different ways. Though some are gender-specific, many offer a co-ed program in a variety of settings.
Some of these settings include separate living facilities by gender, while the majority of treatment is co-ed. Others accept all genders and sexual identities but keep treatment and living quarters separate.
The one thing that all substance abuse treatment programs have in common is the main goal is to give the individuals attending the most out of recovery, no matter how it is separated or not.
Advantages to Co-Ed Rehab Centers
There are many positive things that can come from co-ed rehab centers for both men and women. Individuals get to hear stories, different perspectives, and struggles that can help aid in their own recovery.
Benefits of co-ed rehab centers:
- Connections — Building connections with the opposite sex could greatly improve an individual’s feelings of inadequacy that possibly contribute to their addiction by making them feel more comfortable and socially stronger among both sexes.
- Perspective — Building respect for all genders is important to recovery. Some have lost relatability to the opposite sex, co-ed programs give men and women the chance to see the opposite sex’s perspective, giving them a wider range of understanding.
Additionally, individuals that may have felt undervalued by the opposite sex now have a chance to be heard and learn they have value.
- Compassion — Co-Ed programs, especially in group settings, can let both genders see they can share similar problems and situations. This can open the door to residents by giving them better insight into themselves and more people around them sharing the journey to recovery.
- Social Skills — By giving residents a real-world experience in treatment, co-ed substance abuse treatment can help build up the social skills needed to take back out into the world.
Disadvantages to Co-Ed Rehab Centers
Not everyone is willing to try a co-ed rehab center whether it be for personal reasons or due to influence from others.
Consider some of the following reasons a person may not choose a co-ed substance abuse treatment program:
- Uncomfortableness — Women and some men may not feel comfortable sharing a living space with the opposite sex.
So often, substance abuse is linked to another form of abuse, sometimes at the hands of the other sex. A co-ed program may not be the best option in these cases.
Women tend to be more open with other women and men tend to let their guard down in front of other men, especially when additional situations of abuse are part of the problem.
- Relationships — Co-ed treatment can be distracting to some participants. Residents may struggle with decision making, setting boundaries, or expressing their true feelings in front of the opposite sex.
At other times patients may engage in intimacy with other residents, which is not allowed in treatment at a co-ed facility. This could jeopardize their recovery immensely, and could also lead to immediate discharge from the substance abuse treatment program.
- Stigma — There is a significant stigma attached to women who struggle with addiction. Sometimes, women are completely ashamed of their addiction and do not want to attend a program with men.
- Childcare — All too often, women face a huge barrier to treatment that doesn’t tend to affect men as much; being a parent.
Mothers or pregnant women in need of substance abuse treatment are often at a disadvantage compared to the rest of the population in need of rehab. Typically, finding a co-ed facility that offers childcare or prenatal services is nearly impossible.
- Relapse Triggers — Women who have been abused or sexually assaulted by men typically benefit more from a women’s only substance abuse facility. Being around men can trigger trauma for survivors of violence and assault for some.
Whether you are looking for a co-ed program or a gender-specific program, being able to focus on recovery is paramount. Choosing the correct program is very important.
Treatment Options For Men And Women
No matter whether a program is co-ed or gender-specific, a quality substance abuse treatment program will offer individualized treatment unique to each resident.
Treatment programs should focus on each person and take the following into consideration:
- unique needs
- gender differences
- trauma experiences (past and present)
- mental health
- physical health
Comfort and trust are huge factors to consider when exploring addiction treatment options. If a person does not feel comfortable, they will not get the most benefit from treatment. A potential resident needs to trust the facility, the staff, and the other residents in treatment.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- Contemporary Drug Problems - The Intersectional Origins of Women’s Substance Abuse Treatment: Learning From Detroit’s WOMAN Center, 1970-1985
- Journal of Women’s Health - Feasibility and Acceptability of a Web-Based, Gender-Specific Intervention for Women with Substance Use Disorders
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - Guidance Document for Supporting Women in Co-Ed Settings