Helpful Gender Groups Therapy In Addiction Recovery

How Do We Approach Addiction In Gender Groups?

As the demand for efficient community-based group treatments for substance use disorders rises, so does the need to know the mechanism of action that makes treatments effective;  and how this effectiveness might vary by gender groups.

Enlarging substance abuse group treatments that allow the participants to receive the most exceptional support from other group members is likely to enhance results.  In addition, while we endeavor to develop the overall quality of group therapy by employing treatment manuals;  it may also be necessary to train group therapists to promote an environment in which there is an exchange of affiliative remarks and behaviors among group members.

Future research investigating the association between in-session group process outcomes with post-treatment clinical outcomes would help expand the database of mechanisms of action;  of substance abuse group therapy.

We Level Up New Jersey supports treatment for gender groups
We Level Up New Jersey supports treatment for gender groups

In addition to differences in substance use, men and women also have different expectations and goals from addiction treatment. Gender-specific programs offer multiple benefits for each gender.

While standard group therapy for addiction is still an essential part of our program, gender group therapy helps men and women establish common ground in recovery.  For instance, women might not feel comfortable talking about traumatic events around men.  This may especially be the case in situations that involved violence or sexual abuse by men.

On the other hand, men might hesitate to show vulnerability around women.  It may be hard for them to open up when women are around.  Gender therapy goes a long way in breaking down communication walls.

Gender group therapy also recognizes that a blanket treatment approach won’t always work for men and women.  Like no two individuals are alike, no two people took the same path to develop an addiction.  An individualized treatment approach gives men and women the best chance of recovery. [1]

Gender-Specific Programs

  • Specific therapy for gender-unique physiological, emotional, and relational matters
  • Elevated support as gender-specific treatment supports a sense of trust and bonding among fellow same-sex clients
  • Lessened sexual pressure and disturbances between male and female clients
  • Supportive gender-sensitive therapy groups encourage open discussion about social and cultural tensions that can result in substance abuse

For Women

Studies presented expanded support for women in single-gender treatment compared with mixed-gender group therapy for substance use disorders.  In addition, they provided a possible mechanism of action for its effectiveness.

In response to this gender diversity, women-only treatment programs and women’s treatment services within mixed-gender programs have been established. These programs vary from standard mixed-gender treatment programs in assisting women such as:

  • Prenatal Care
  • Childcare Services
  • Transportation
  • Assistance with housing and job or vocational training

Addiction in Men

Addiction happens more frequently in men, and there’s a higher death rate in men due to addiction compared to women.  In addition, men manifest more elevated rates of antisocial personality disorder development when addicted.  And they are more likely to misuse multiple drugs than women.

Men’s programs also seek to address the complex social aspects of male addiction. Many men can feel like they’re weak or a failure by agreeing to enter rehab. This kind of attitude slows progress and can eventually lead to program abandonment and relapse.

In the U.S., men are generally expected to be stoic, invincible, and competent. These expectations cause men in treatment to pull back from actual progress, which may seem like skepticism of their counselors but begins from a desire to protect their image and status.

LGBTQ Individuals Addiction Treatment

People who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender; or questioning (LGBTQ) often face social stigma, discrimination, and other challenges not encountered by people who identify as heterosexual. They also face a greater risk of harassment and violence. As a result of these and other stressors, sexual minorities are at increased risk for various behavioral health issues. [2]

LGBTQ individuals often enter treatment with more severe substance use disorders (SUDs). Nevertheless, some common SUD treatment modalities are effective for gay or bisexual men, including:

  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Social Support Therapy
  • Contingency Management
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

In one study, only 7.4 percent of programs offered specialized services for LGBT patients. Research is currently limited on rates of SUD among transgender populations, although research shows that transgender individuals are more likely to seek SUD treatment than the non-transgender population.

Current research suggests that treatment should address unique factors in these patients’ lives that may include homophobia/transphobia, family problems, violence, and social isolation. [3]

How Addiction Affects The Gender Groups

Men and women endure addiction differently. For instance, men are more prone than women to report marijuana and alcohol use, whereas women are more likely than men to report non-medical prescription drugs.

Addiction chooses no gender groups but the approach should be personalized for effective treatment
Addiction chooses no gender groups but the approach should be personalized for effective treatment

Men and women also vary in why they began using drugs or alcohol in the first place. Men tend to start engaging in substance abuse because of the anticipated benefits they desire to gain from it, such as better concentration, increased sociability, and even improved sex drive/performance. For women, substance abuse is more typically linked with traumatic events or abusive relations. As a result, women often turn to alcohol or drugs to self-medicate and escape distressing emotions caused by victimization or abuse. Most women who use drugs or alcohol also have a history of family substance abuse and may start using because their spouse or companion is.

Another significant distinction between the genders is that women often begin using abuse substances at lower doses than men, and their drug use also intensifies more quickly into addiction. Women tend to enter treatment sooner after becoming substance dependent than men, but they present with more co-occurring mental distress, especially with more mood and anxiety disorders. Men and women may also have very different sentiments about seeking treatment for drug or alcohol abuse. These variations are significant and can require specific treatment types to help men and women keep long-term sobriety after rehab.

Addiction Treatment Programs for Gender Groups

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), there are biological and cultural distinctions between men and women concerning substance abuse. For instance, gender variations exist in dependence rates, substance choice, and how the brain reacts to substance use. Studies also show that women and men have different reasons for substance use in the first place. And other circumstances that result in relapse. Gender-specific treatment programs are sensitive to all of these matters and approach each of the sexes’ unique needs in a comfortable and supportive environment.

A Unique Treatment Approach for Gender Groups at We Level Up New Jersey

At We Level Up Treatment Center, we consider addiction a three-fold disease: a physical allergy, a mental obsession, and a spiritual malady. Our dedicated team of trained professionals will evaluate the needs of different gender groups and individuals by working with them on a one-on-one basis. Then, we will customize a program of recovery that will heal them in Body, Mind, and Spirit.

We Level Up NJ's holistic approach for addiction treatment and gender groups
We Level Up NJ’s holistic approach for addiction treatment and gender groups

By emphasizing the spiritual aspect of recovery, we go a step beyond the typical approach to treatment—and it’s a big step.  A spiritual process requires a nourishing environment of love and compassion, with professionals grounded not only in clinical therapy but also in a deep understanding of matters of the heart and spirit.  That’s where the pain is, and that’s where the solution lies.

Our doors are always open, and we honor the opportunity to work with you.  This phone call can be the one that changes your life forever.  We know how difficult it can be to pick up the phone and reach out.  However, during this call, you will speak with a staff member who has experience dealing with every type of substance addiction.  This is hope and help.  Don’t hesitate to contact We Level Up New Jersey.