Gender-Specific Treatment for Alcohol and Drug Addiction in WV – All You Need To Know

Whether you like it or not, it’s a fact that gender helps shape the world we live in. Men and women face different upbringings, expectations, and challenges. In the same vein, men and women experience addiction and addiction recovery differently. Because of this, many seek gender-specific treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in WV to ensure that they are getting the help best suited to them. You can get gender-specific treatment regardless of whether you are a man or a woman – you just need to find rehab centers in WV that offer this type of rehab. But what is gender-specific treatment exactly and why is it beneficial? Here’s everything you need to know:

Gender differences in alcohol and drug addiction

Men and women both abuse substances such as nicotine, alcohol, and illicit drugs. However, gender is an important factor in that abuse. Although individual men and individual women will deviate from the norm, there are certain trends in how men and women in general experience addiction. These differences also affect how men and women experience addiction treatment and how effective that treatment is. Consequently, proper treatment sometimes needs to take into account how gender influences addiction.

Substances used

Most people imagine a typical addict as a man. There is some truth to this stereotype; on the whole, men are indeed more likely to suffer from addiction than women. Around 70% of people in addiction treatment are men. That’s more than double the 30% of women. This is especially evident in alcohol addiction treatment WV and marijuana rehab as men are far more likely than women to abuse both alcohol and cannabis.

Handful of different types of medication.
Men and women who struggle with addiction typically use different substances.

However, there is no statistically relevant difference between men and women when it comes to the abuse of stimulants such as cocaine and meth. There are also some substances that are more commonly abused by women than men. Prescription painkillers top that list – women are more likely than men to abuse medications like Vicodine, OxyContin, and Percocet. However, the disparity is not that large; between 55% and 60% of people in opiate addiction rehab WV are women compared to 40-45% of men. Besides, the abuse of opioids other than common prescription medication, such as heroin and fentanyl, is still more prevalent among men. Recent years have seen a rise in heroin abuse among women, though.

Effect of substances

Because of the physical differences between men and women, some drugs may have different effects on men and women. Generally speaking, women are more sensitive to substances than men. Because of this, women need a lower dose of a given substance to achieve the same high as men. However, this also means that women develop an addiction faster and at lower dosages than men. After treatment, they also have more cravings and are more likely to relapse.

The negative health effects of drug use also tend to be more prominent in women than men. Women are, for example, more likely to develop anxiety and panic disorders as a result of drug use. They are also more likely to overdose and more likely to die from that overdose. Finally, cardiovascular problems as a result of substance abuse are more prominent in women than in men. Therefore, women are overall more susceptible to the effects of substances than men. This can be addressed in gender-specific treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in WV through more thorough monitoring by doctors or prescription medication.

Mental health issues

In addition to physical health, the use of substances also affects mental health. As is the case with physical health, women are more likely to suffer from mental health issues as a result of substance abuse than men are. Women who abuse substances are more likely to have anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. They are also more likely to develop paranoia or have a mental breakdown. For this reason, women are more likely to need dual diagnosis treatment in West Virginia than men are. They are also more likely to seek therapy for the co-occurring disorder regardless of whether they are in rehab or not.

Man and woman in therapy.
Gender-specific treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in WV addresses the different mental health issues men and women face due to addiction.

Length and severity of addiction

Addiction progresses differently in men and women. Men tend to start using substances younger; they typically do so for the perceived benefits of alcohol and drugs – more confidence, higher energy, better concentration. Women, on the other hand, typically don’t develop an addiction until adulthood. Furthermore, substance abuse in women is often a way of self-medicating for pain, stress, or trauma and starts with significantly lower doses than in men.

At the point of admission into a treatment facility, women have typically been abusing substances for a shorter period of time than men. However, this doesn’t make their addiction less severe. In fact, women often present with more severe medical, psychological, and social issues due to addiction than men.

Likelihood of seeking help

Outside of addiction treatment, women are twice as likely to be in therapy as men. So you may assume the same is true for women with substance use disorder. But it’s quite the opposite – men are far more likely to seek treatment for addiction than women are. When women do seek help, they do so for related medical and mental health problems more often than for the addiction itself. A part of the reason for this is that addiction treatment is more accessible to men. So if you are a woman looking for rehab for yourself, you may struggle finding resources geared toward you. There’s also more stigma surrounding women in recovery; this further discourages them from reaching out for help.

What is gender-specific treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in WV?

If men and women experience addiction differently, it would stand to reason that they also require different addiction treatment WV. This is where gender-specific addiction treatment comes in. Gender-specific treatment for addiction is addiction treatment that addresses unique issues its participants face due to their gender. Men and women are thus treated separately to allow for a specialized approach that takes gender into consideration. This is not a replacement for individualized treatment plans – everyone in rehab should still receive rehab tailored to their needs. Gender-specific treatment is just a way to incorporate gender into that rehab.

Women's therapy in gender-specific treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in WV
Gender-specific treatment allows men and women to address the different issues they are facing.

What can you expect from gender-specific treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in WV?

Like any other rehab, gender-specific addiction treatment typically consists of a combination of medical assistance and therapy. The difference is that these services are offered to men only or women only. But that one difference can be quite a big change because you will get:

Different levels of care

Gender-specific addiction treatment is possible at all levels of care. So regardless of what type of treatment you need, you can get it in a single-gender program. Most of the time, rehab starts with medical detox in WV. This is the part of rehab when you stop using substances so you can cleanse your body of them. It is advised you do this under medical supervision due to the discomfort and health risks. Already at this step, you can start gender-specific care and detox in a facility for your gender. After detox, your options include:

  • inpatient addiction treatment WV where you live at a treatment facility with other men or other women who are undergoing addiction treatment under medical supervision
  • partial hospitalization programs in WV which offer intense treatment that includes medical care and therapy for men or women but doesn’t require you to live at the facility
  • intensive outpatient programs WV where you will attend therapy with other men or other women for several hours a week while still living at home
  • sober living in West Virginia which does not necessarily include treatment but is a way to stay sober by living in a group home without substances where other men or women are learning how to live sober lives

Since women are more likely to relapse, gender-specific programs for them often include treatment for chronic relapse as well. This can help women who repeatedly go back to substances after treatment to find ways to stay sober.

Specialized therapy

One of the reasons for gender-specific treatment even existing is to provide addiction therapy in WV that’s been adapted so it addresses the unique issues that men and women face. Men in gender-specific addiction treatment may, for example, discuss how substance abuse has affected their self-image, how they feel about not being able to provide for their family due to addiction, or how the physical changes to their body have made them feel less masculine – all without having to spend time on the issues women may face, such as the fear of sexual assault, the inability to care for children, or the effects of drugs on future fertility. Women, on the other hand, get to focus on what matters to them without needing to think about the issues unique to men.

Young man with a therapist in gender-specific treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in WV.
Many people prefer to attend therapy with others of the same gender.

Not all men will identify with everything gender-specific therapy addresses. Nor will all women. But the issues discussed in gender-specific therapy will be relevant to every participant. This makes sessions more effective and also more engaging.

A safe environment

In mixed company, there is often a fear of being misunderstood or judged. But in female-only and male-only spaces, people feel more comfortable sharing their experiences and discussing sensitive topics. There is an implicit understanding that others in the group will understand and probably agree. This makes therapy more effective as people are more likely to open up and do so faster.

An understanding and compassionate support system

Hand-in-hand with a safe environment goes a good support system of like-minded people. When men and women feel comfortable around the people they are in treatment with, they are more likely to form strong and lasting bonds with them. This is important for people in drug and alcohol addiction rehab whose environment and company plays a role in substance abuse. Making new friends in treatment will make it easier for those people to end the toxic relationships that have perpetuated their substance use.

The pros and cons of gender-specific treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in WV?

Like any other type of rehab, gender-specific addiction treatment has its upsides and downsides. You should take both into consideration before deciding whether this type of rehab is for you. The main benefits of gender-specific treatment are:

  • the ability to address gender-specific issues
  • access to gender-related medical care (such as fertility assessments or period relief)
  • working with experts who are well versed in the way addiction affects you, physically and mentally, because of your gender
  • being able to freely and openly discuss issues you would only bring up in the presence of other men or other women
  • more efficient therapy sessions due to increased comfort levels
Three happy women after gender-specific treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in WV
There are many benefits to discussing your issues with people of the same gender.

But these benefits don’t come without their own set of drawbacks. Gender-segregated treatment can also cause problems, such as:

  • limited opportunity to learn from those with a different point of view
  • repetitive therapy sessions as similar experiences are shared again and again
  • amplifying negative traits related to a certain gender
  • interactions that are less representative of the real world and may, therefore, give unrealistic expectations for life after rehab
  • not addressing the issues of those who don’t have the typical addiction experiences of their gender

Addiction treatment for pregnant women

One form of gender-specific addiction treatment is rehab for pregnant women in West Virginia. Up to 6% of pregnant women in the United States abuse substances. These can cause complications with the pregnancy and birth as well as health issues for the fetus. Pregnant women who suffer from addiction therefore need specialized medical care to ensure their babies are carried to term and born safely. Additionally, pregnant women may suffer from a unique mental health issues, struggle with guilt, and battle anxiety due to the complications that their drug use adds to the pregnancy. These feelings may be reinforced by the judgment and stigma that society puts on pregnant women who use substances.

But in gender-specific rehab, pregnant women can find compassion and comfort. They are less likely to be judged by other women in a similar situation and are more likely to feel safe surrounded by other women (especially if they are escaping an abusive situation, as is often the case).

Addiction treatment for youth and young adults

Young adults are an especially vulnerable demographic when it comes to addiction. Impressionable and highly susceptible to peer pressure, people in their late teens and early twenties often experiment with different kinds of substances. Because men typically become addicted at an earlier age, young men are especially vulnerable to addiction. They can receive help in rehab for young adults in WV before their addiction gets out of hand. Their treatment will be even more effective if they attend it with other men; they can bond with other men their age who understand their struggles or find a man they look up to who will serve as a positive male role model, something many young men with a substance use disorder lack.

How does gender-specific treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in WV benefit women?

Although both men and women can benefit from gender-specific addiction treatment in WV, the benefits they experience may be different. Women who abuse substances often become victims of violent crimes which can cause significant amounts of trauma and mental health issues. So for women, the advantages often revolve around safety and comfort.

Addressing gender-based violence and trauma

Women are more likely than men to experience gender-based violence in the forms of rape, sexual assault, domestic abuse, forced prostitution, and more even when sober. But women under the influence are even more likely to be assaulted, which makes women with substance use disorder particularly vulnerable.

Man holding a woman's arm.
Many women experience violence because of addiction and only feel comfortable discussing that with other women.

Most women in drug and alcohol rehab have some experience with sexual assault. Some start abusing substances to deal with trauma from their past. Others are assaulted while under the influence. Yet others may turn to sex work to afford their habit. These can be difficult experiences to share. Unfortunately, most women do not feel comfortable talking about these issues with men. But if they attend rehab with other women only, that won’t be a problem. They can heal the trauma of gender-based violence in a safe environment, surrounded by other women who may have similar experiences.

Receiving medical help focused on women’s health

Women’s bodies respond differently to both illicit substances and medications that treat addiction to them. Additionally, the way addiction affects women’s hormones, menstrual cycles, and fertility is different to the physical effects of substances on men’s bodies. It is, therefore, beneficial for women to receive addiction treatment from women’s health experts. Treating these issues can, in turn, improve anxiety, depression, and other mental health aspects of addiction.

Developing healthy female friendships

Addiction can have a devastating effect on interpersonal relationships. Rehab is an opportunity to start rebuilding that support system, both by healing already existing relationships and developing new ones. For women, friendships with other women can be especially fulfilling. Generally speaking, women are more emotionally expressive, more outwardly supportive, and more understanding of each other. This makes female friendships very important for women in rehab. And in gender-specific addiction treatment, such friendships flourish.

How does gender-specific treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in WV benefit men?

For men, gender-specific addiction treatment mostly provides the benefit of avoiding judgment. It is unfortunately all too common for men’s unique gender-based issues to be dismissed as less important than women’s because of the systemic oppression women face. This makes some men fearful of bringing up their struggles around women for fear of not being taken seriously. But that’s not a problem when they’re attending rehab with other men.

Three men in gender-specific treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in WV
Men can greatly benefit from a male-only environment in rehab.

Healing with a problem-solving mindset

Research shows that women and men approach problems differently. As a general rule, women want to talk things through; men, on the other hand, focus on finding a solution as soon as possible. This is causes a lot of misunderstandings in male-female relationships. Therapists who work in mixed-gender groups have to balance between these two approaches. However, when only men are attending a therapy session, there is no need for this. All participants can immediately turn toward discussing solutions, which often makes them feel more productive and happier with their progress in treatment as well.

Sharing experiences specific to men without judgment

There is a misconception that women are the only ones who experience gender-based issues. This is wrong – there are plenty of issues that men face on the basis of being men. However, many men don’t like to discuss those issues with women because they are afraid of accusations that they are taking the spotlight off of women’s experiences.

This is why gender-specific treatment for addiction is beneficial to both men and women. Women can address the issues they face in an environment specifically for that purpose; men get to do the same. In rehab with others of the same gender, men get to focus on their own issues without any guilt or shame. Other men will understand these issues better than women will too. This makes discussion more productive and streamlined as there is no need to explain things across the gender divide.

Developing healthy male friendships

Men benefit from male bonding just as much as women benefit from female friendships. In gender-specific addiction treatment, they can meet other men who share their experiences with substance use. Bonding over such experiences can lead to life-long friendships full of mutual support and camaraderie. This is not to say that it’s impossible for men to form intense friendships with women (and for women to similarly bond with men). But it is nonetheless important for men to have other men in their life that they can rely on.

Two young man talking.
Men thrive in strong friendships with other men.

Reasons to choose gender-specific treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in WV

If you are ready to take the first step toward sobriety and start rehab, then you should consider all your options. One of those is certainly gender-specific treatment. Many people find it very beneficial to attend rehab with people of their own gender only. But not everyone agrees. So how will you know whether gender-specific treatment is a good choice for you? You should look for this type of program if you want:

Focus on gender-specific topics and challenges

If you strongly feel like your gender has influenced your experience with addiction and want to discuss this, then gender-specific treatment is a good fit for you. Are you, for example, a mother who uses substances to self-medicate after the loss of a child? Or a man who started using stimulants as a way to keep up in a high-stress work environment? Were you a victim of a sexual assault due to substance use? These are the kinds of issues that gender-specific treatment often highlights. So if they ring true for you, then you are a good candidate for this type of program.

Minimized distractions, misunderstandings, and arguments

Do you often struggle to express yourself and get your point across to people of the other gender? Gender-specific treatment can be a way to avoid this during rehab. In the company of your own gender, you often don’t have to explain yourself at all when it comes to certain topics – there’s an implicit understanding that comes with shared experience. Furthermore, you are less likely to offend someone when explanation are indeed necessary. Finally, it’s worth noting that unhealthy codependent romantic relationships are less likely in gender-specific treatment. So if that’s a concern and you have a history of toxic relationships, you should seriously consider going to rehab with your own gender only.

Couple having an argument.
If you struggle to communicate with the other gender, you’ll feel more comfortable in gender-specific therapy.

Healthy peer support

If you don’t have a lot of friends to help you through rehab, gender-specific treatment can be a way to rectify that. Everyone needs a support system and people in addiction rehab more so than most. In gender-specific rehab, bonding with other participants is often faster and stronger. Participants are also able to help each other better as they are more likely to have been in similar situations. So if that’s something that matters to you, you should opt for gender-specific treatment.

Finding gender-specific treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in WV

Once you’ve decided that gender-specific rehab is the best option for you, you need to find the right program as well. Not all addiction treatment facilities provide this type of rehab. Those that do may not specialize in treating addiction to the substance you use or may not offer the level of care you need. So it’s important to do your research before you commit to anything.

First, find rehabs that offer gender-specific treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in WV. Then, narrow down your options by dismissing those that don’t treat your addiction or don’t offer the level of care you feel like you need. Next, take a good look at each facility’s goals, philosophies, and success rates. You want to find a rehab center that is in line with your preferences. Finally, call the facility and talk to them. See how they treat you – are they kind, compassionate, and understanding? Are they knowledgeable about addiction? It’s important that you trust the people who are treating you and feel comfortable around them. And only you can decide when you’ve found a program that gives you a satisfactory level of support.


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