Gender-Separate Drug Rehab Programs

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on

Some addiction rehab programs separate people based on their gender due to differences in why men and women use drugs and alcohol, types of substances they choose to use, and how their brains react to substance abuse.

Gender-Separate Rehab

There are many psychological and physical differences in men and women. These differences affect how both genders respond to substance use disorder treatment.

Gender-separate treatment programs ensure that men and women get the evidence-based services they need while addressing their fundamental biological and cultural differences.

How Substance Abuse Affects Men And Women Differently

Based on studies published by the National Institute of Health (NIH), there are numerous ways in which substance use affects men and women differently.

Substance Use In Men

Men are more likely to abuse alcohol and use illicit drugs such as marijuana and heroin than women. Men also tend to wait longer before seeking help for substance abuse.

Additionally, men tend to start using substances due to perceived benefits such as improved sexual performance, better concentration, increased sociability, and more.

When men are in the throes of substance use, they often exhibit signs such as uncontrollable anger, acts of violence, body image issues, and a lack of control.

Substance Use In Women

Women are more inclined to abuse prescription medications than illicit drugs or alcohol. Women also tend to seek treatment more quickly than men once they have a substance use disorder.

Research has revealed that women turn to substance abuse for reasons such as dealing with pain or trauma, the desire to control their weight, and self-medicating mental health issues.

In many cases, addiction is harder for women to overcome, as their cravings and potential for relapse are much higher than that of men.

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How Substance Abuse Treatment Differs In Gender-Separate Rehab Programs

While treatment services for substance use disorders (SUDs) are similar in gender-separate programs, there will also be important distinctions.

For example, a women’s rehab program will usually focus more on addressing painful emotions brought on by traumatic events or relationships they’ve experienced.

This may take the form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) therapy, gender-specific peer support groups, and other mental health care services.

Other programs will take into account the unique physical and emotional needs of men. For example, men with a SUD often feel a great deal of shame for not fulfilling their societal role as provider.

As a result, men’s drug rehab programs may incorporate group therapy sessions where they can establish a sense of camaraderie with other men in similar circumstances.

Benefits Of Gender-Specific Treatment Programs

There are several factors that contribute to why some men and women may benefit from gender-specific addiction treatment plans.

Benefits of gender-separate drug and alcohol treatment services may include:

  • reduced sexual tension
  • supportive gender-sensitive therapy groups
  • open communication about cultural or societal pressures
  • fewer distractions
  • substance abuse treatment is more comfortable
  • clients are more able to relate to one another

While gender-based treatment may be beneficial to some people, one of the main drawbacks is that it doesn’t always prepare clients for the real world where they’ll be exposed to many types of people.

To address this disadvantage, many rehab programs only utilize gender-separate treatment plans during the residential phase of treatment.

As clients progress to outpatient care, they may be exposed to the opposite sex.

FAQs For Gender-Separate Addiction Treatment Centers

If you or a loved one are in need of gender-based addiction treatment, the information below may help you select a program that works for you.

Yes. Most programs will incorporate dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders.

This type of treatment will ensure that mental health disorders are addressed alongside drug and alcohol addiction.

No, only some treatment facilities have the capability of offering separate programs for men and women. Contact the rehab center of your choice to learn more about their treatment programs.

Many rehab programs with gender-specific services will start clients in inpatient treatment until they’re ready to transition into an outpatient addiction recovery program.

Find A Gender-Separate Substance Abuse Treatment Center

Call our helpline today for more information about gender-specific substance abuse treatment programs in your area. We can help you or your family member achieve long-term recovery.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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.

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on
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