Substance use disorders affect people differently, including those of different genders, which is why gender-specific addiction treatment is beneficial. Gender-specific treatment programs in Utah are tailored to meet the unique medical and emotional needs of each gender.
How Does Gender Affect Addiction?
For many years, drug addiction research and treatment only focused on the effect of substance abuse on men. Women often struggled with the disease of addiction in isolation from the rest of society due to intense social shame and the stigma that was placed around them. Women who did seek addiction help were placed in treatment programs tailored for men. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that researchers started looking into the struggles women face during active addiction, opening up the door to the development of gender-specific addiction treatments.
Gender is an essential factor to take in when looking at substance abuse patterns, including overall prevalence rates and the most common substances abused by each gender.
Men are considered to be more likely to abuse illicit substances and alcohol, with 11.5% of males over 12 having a substance use disorder, compared to 6.4% of females over age 12. Contrarily, women are more likely to seek emergency help or fatally overdose as a result of substance abuse.
Men and women have distinct biological and sociological differences.
Biological differences primarily revolve around testosterone and estrogen production and the average body composition and size – all of which can impact the effect of drugs and alcohol on the body.
For example, the enzyme dehydrogenase, which is responsible for the initial process of metabolizing alcohol, is about 50 percent higher in men than women. This explains why alcohol stays in a woman’s blood system longer. It is also less diluted in women because they have different amounts of muscle, fat, and water in their bodies than men.
Hormones that occur during a women’s menstrual cycle may also increase negative emotions and cravings, which can lead to substance abuse or relapse in those who have quit using drugs or alcohol.
Social factors play a role in whether a person will abuse substances, including gender roles in the home during adolescence and attitudes toward each gender at home and in the community. Furthermore, men tend to model their drinking patterns after their fathers while women do so after their mothers.
Environmental factors can also influence the reason and way people abuse alcohol or drugs. Women are more likely to drink to reduce negative emotions or stress, while men are more likely to in order to increase positive emotions.
The way in which men and women recover from substance use disorder is also different, according to research. Each gender relapses under different circumstances. For example, women are more likely to relapse when someone they love is present, while men are more likely to do so alone. Moreover, women more often report that problems with interpersonal relationships contribute to relapse.
Understanding how and why individuals use substances has a significant impact on their treatment and how they recover, which is why gender-specific addiction treatment can be beneficial.
What is Gender-Specific Treatment?
Gender-specific addiction treatment is a special kind of treatment program for individuals struggling with substance use disorder. Gender-specific addiction programs tailor treatment plans to best fit the needs of each gender. These programs can also help reduce the distractions that may arise from mixing members from different genders at a treatment facility, which can be a barrier to the efficient treatment of an individual.
What are the Benefits of Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment
Gender-specific addiction centers and treatment programs offer several benefits for each gender, including:
- Specialized treatments for the unique emotional, physiological and relational issues of each gender.
- Minimized distractions, such as sexual tension, between male and female participants.
- Greater comfort through the development of trust and bonding with fellow participants of the same gender.
- Supportive therapy groups that inspire open communication in a gender-sensitive environment.
How to Find a Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment Program
Do you or a loved one need help with addiction and want to find a gender-specific addiction center? Learning your options is the first step. Finding a gender-specific treatment program does not have to be hard. Ask local treatment facilities that offer gender-specific addiction treatment support. Spirit Mountain Recovery offers comprehensive, evidence-based therapy in a comfortable mountain setting, emphasizing gender-specific treatments. Reach out to us today to learn more about our Utah-based addiction treatment programs.