Treating addiction isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are many different strategies and approaches, and most include professional support and medical attention. Many patients prefer treatment programs that are separated by gender. Take a look at the benefits of gender-specific care to understand how it’s a successful tool for reaching lifelong sobriety.
Prioritizing Safety and Security
Above all, an addiction treatment program should make patients feel secure. While a closed rehabilitation campus helps keep unwanted visitors and substances away, sometimes men and women feel insecure around the opposite sex. Gender-specific treatment addresses this by separating men and women into own their respective, specialized programs.
While recovering, many women don’t want to be in a coed environment. Some female patients may be victims of physical or sexual assault which has led to their addiction. Unfortunately, discussing individual history in a coed group can be unsettling for them.
Similarly, some men don’t feel safe when sharing space with the opposite sex. Rather than forcing patients to confront these feelings, it’s much better to allow them to integrate on their own time. Keeping treatment programs divided allows everyone to recover at their own pace.
Patients Can Recover Without Distraction
Not all patients are sexually attracted to the opposite sex, but many are. However, during recovery patients should avoid new sexual or romantic relationships. The easiest way to stay away from these distractions is by opting for gender-specific treatment programs.
While maintaining healthy relationships is everyone’s goal, this doesn’t happen until you’re emotionally stable. In the first few weeks of sobriety, stability is difficult to maintain. Starting an intimate relationship when sobriety is so new can jeopardize recovery. The excitement of a new crush, the physical intimacy of a relationship, or the letdown of unrequited love could spark a relapse.
If things like treatment sessions, group therapy, meals, social activities, and accommodation are separate, it’s easier to avoid the opposite sex. This is crucial when working toward recovery. Once you’re stable, you’re better prepared to start new romantic relationships.
Gender-Specific Programs Facilitate Deeper Peer Bonds
When beginning recovery, romantic relationships aren’t recommended. However, new friendships can be wonderful. It’s normal for individuals in addiction treatment to withdraw and seek alone time. However, a gender-specific environment makes it easier to socialize and develop new peer connections.
Your peers in treatment are people who understand your addiction best. It’s comforting to know they’re going through the exact same thing you are. You might have different backgrounds and histories, but you can relate to one another in a meaningful way.
In gender-specific treatment programs, patients find it easier to socialize. Without romantic risks or unwanted flirting, patients are more outgoing. Socializing is key to speeding up recovery during addiction treatment.
Facilities Cater to Gender-Specific Needs
Both men and women benefit from addiction treatment centers that offer diverse facilities and amenities. For the most part, the needs of both genders overlap. However, gender-specific treatment programs may do a better job adhering to men and women’s specialized needs.
For example, this is a common issue when it comes to meals. Men and women prefer different dining experiences. One gender may appreciate small, more intimate meals, while the other may gravitate toward open food access like buffet-style serving space.
Gender-specific facilities also differ in decor. The colors, textiles, and layout of the room are tailored to gendered needs. While these seem like small details, they play a role in helping patients stay calm, relaxed, and focused. Gender-specific treatment programs also offer fitness facilities geared toward individual health.
Group Therapy Topics Can Focus on What Matters Most to Participants
A key element to addiction treatment is group therapy. If a treatment program accommodates one gender, it’s easier to focus on relevant topics while keeping all participants engaged.
For example, women who struggle with addiction likely struggle with eating disorders, or lack of self-esteem. These are worthy topics that deserve group attention. By keeping the genders separate, groups are able to focus on relevant subjects.
Men and Women May Open Up in Separate Groups
Addiction is an isolating disease. Before, during and after treatment, patients feel like no one understands them. However, by opening up patients realize how much they have in common with their peers. The benefit of a gender-specific treatment program is encouraging openness through shared experiences.
Sharing your story is a helps. You’ll feel relieved, and your peers will be able to relate to you. For this to happen, you may feel vulnerable.
When men and women are together, it may be harder to share your history. Allowing men and women to share stories separately helps them express themselves without censorship.
Gender-specific paths to treatment help both men and women recover. While there are many ways to embrace sobriety, this approach emphasizes safety, healing, and friendship.