Renaissance Ranch

The Benefits of Gender-Specific Treatment for Addiction Recovery

Jun 5, 2024

Indeed, addiction does not discriminate. For instance, both men and women develop addictions to alcohol and other drugs. Yet, contrary to what some people may believe, substance abuse and substance use disorder (SUD) affect and influence men and women differently. Treatment centers and programs that utilize gender-specific treatment do not take this lightly. Rather, through the creation of men-only and women-only treatment programs, treatment centers and programs can facilitate safer and more supportive healing environments for those overcoming addiction

At Renaissance Ranch, we provide gender-specific treatment options to clients because we know how critical this type of care can be not only for establishing abstinence but also for sustaining lasting sobriety from addiction. Although at the Ranch, treatment is tailored for men, we also offer gender-specific treatments for women as part of Renaissance Refuge. Nevertheless, learning about the gender-specific factors that often contribute to the development of addiction as well as the overall benefits of gender-specific treatment programs can be especially valuable for those contemplating treatment entry, engagement, and sobriety. 

Sex and Gender Differences in Substance Abuse & Addiction

A plethora of research confirms how sex and gender can play a significant role in the influence of substance use, substance abuse, and the development of addiction. For instance, as highlighted by The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Research has shown that women often use drugs differently, respond to drugs differently, and can have unique obstacles to effective treatment as simple as not being able to find child care or being prescribed treatment that has not been adequately tested on women.”

More specifically, as noted in Alcohol Research & Health, “Women typically consume less alcohol than men when they drink, drink alcohol less frequently, and are less likely to develop alcohol-related problems than men.” Additionally, “[W]omen are less likely than men to use illicit drugs and to develop drug-related problems.” 

On the other hand, NIDA also points out that “[m]en are more likely than women to use almost all types of illicit drugs, and illicit drug use is more likely to result in emergency department visits or overdose deaths for men than for women.” Furthermore, men also experience higher rates of abuse and dependency on both alcohol and illicit drugs compared to women. 

Gender-Specific Risk Factors for Addiction

Many sex- and gender-specific factors may contribute to these differences in substance abuse and addiction risk for men and women. First and foremost, an individual’s unique biological makeup and associated hormone production certainly affect how their body metabolizes different substances. For instance, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out, “[B]iological differences in body structure and chemistry lead most women to absorb more alcohol and take longer to metabolize it.” Thus, compared to men, women who partake in substance abuse may be more susceptible to the lasting, long-term consequences of it. 

In addition, individuals often experience shared gender-specific concerns in relation to their substance use both during active use as well as throughout recovery. For example, women share unique experiences with pregnancy and motherhood, and these circumstances can affect how or why they engage in substance abuse. On the other hand, men also share unique life experiences and challenges that interfere with their ability to successfully establish and sustain sobriety. 

What Is Gender-Specific Treatment?

Because men and women both engage in substance abuse differently and face unique challenges while pursuing recovery and sobriety, gender-specific treatment programs can be especially valuable. Simply put, gender-specific treatment programs separate men and women and are designed to address the unique challenges of each gender during treatment. 

The Benefits of Gender-Specific Treatment Programs

Some of the specific benefits of gender-specific treatment programs include, but are not limited to:

  • Specialized treatment tailored to the specific physiological, emotional, and relational concerns of each gender
  • Increased comfort as individuals in these programs experience increased trust and bonding among same-gender or same-sex clients; in other words, increased relatability
  • Reduced sexual tension and distractions between clients of differing genders
  • Increased relevance of group therapy topics 
  • Enhanced effectiveness of release prevention strategies, as they are tailored to the gender-specific needs of clients

Meanwhile, in some cases, gender-specific treatment programs can be essential for lasting success. By providing clients with a safe, supportive, same-sex, or same-gender environment, they can truly lean into the social support of their peers to achieve optimal healing. 

Gender-Specific Treatment at Renaissance Ranch

At Renaissance Ranch, we are passionate about providing gender-specific treatment because we understand how valuable it can be for those seeking recovery from various concerns, especially addiction. Individuals in our programs experience enhanced comfort and confidence in discussing their substance abuse concerns with other peers in recovery, discovering that their concerns are often shared among others who are also seeking lasting sobriety. Nevertheless, having the opportunity to open up and be vulnerable with others who are struggling can bring about a newfound sense of peace and contentment in treatment. 

Furthermore, all of our programs are tailored to meet the unique needs of each client we serve. Through our comprehensive, gender-specific, and holistic approach to treatment, coupled with 12-Step philosophy, we believe that each participant will be set up for lasting success in sobriety. 

There is no question that unique differences in biology provide men and women with differing life experiences. Meanwhile, these life experiences shape our understanding and perspectives about life. When it comes to recovering from situations like substance abuse and addiction, it can be especially valuable to surround oneself with peers of the same gender orientation. Gender-specific treatment programs honor that individuals of the same gender often share similar risk factors and life experiences that have influenced their substance abuse. Similarly, same-gender camaraderie can be a protective factor during lifelong recovery. At Renaissance Ranch, we offer addiction treatment programs for men, tailored to their unique experiences and stressors throughout recovery. Learn more by calling (801) 308-8898 today.