Skip to content

The Benefits of a Gender-Specific Drug Rehab

Gender-specific addiction treatment refers to drug and alcohol treatment programs designed specifically to treat men and women separately. As men and women tend to use drugs differently, they also face different obstacles while in addiction treatment and recovery. Gender-specific rehab treatment programs address these differences and allow for healing in a safe and supportive environment.

A Note About Gender and Sex

Keeping in mind that individual gender preference can be non-binary, it is essential to note that men and women experience addiction differently. National statistics show that biological gender is an essential element to address when examining substance abuse patterns. For example, women are more likely than men to report the use of prescription drugs for reasons other than intended. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to report alcohol and marijuana use.

Biology also plays a role in why people start using. Men typically begin engaging in substance use due to the perception of the benefits they will receive from using. For example, they may believe they will gain enhanced concentration, improved social skills, and even improved sex drive or sexual performance. Conversely, women often begin using as a result of seeking a coping mechanism for the symptoms related to a traumatic experience or involvement in an abusive relationship. Many women who use drugs or alcohol also have a family history of substance abuse and may begin to use for these reasons. 

Another important biological difference between the sex’s centers around the severity of use. Women often begin using at lower rates than men; however, their frequency of use and level of use escalate to addiction at a faster rate than men. Women also tend to enter treatment sooner but frequently present with more co-occurring mental health conditions such as mood and anxiety disorders. 

All of these differences are significant and can require specific treatment types and programs to ensure recovery and long-term sobriety after detox and rehab in Newport Beach or elsewhere. 

What is Gender-Specific Drug Rehab?

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there are fundamental biological and cultural differences between men and women in terms of substance abuse. Research has confirmed biological differences exist in rates of dependence, choice of substance, and how the brain responds to substance use. Similar studies show that women and men have different reasons for substance use and different circumstances that trigger a relapse. Gender-specific treatment programs and rehab centers in Newport Beach offering gender-specific treatment address each of the sexes’ unique needs in a compassionate and supportive environment.

benefits of gender specific rehab
benefits of gender specific rehab

What Does Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment Look Like?

Aside from the differences in how and why men and women use, they also have different goals and expectations regarding their addiction treatment. Consequently, gender-specific programs offer several benefits for each gender. Some examples include the following:

  • Specialized treatment that considers biologically gender-unique emotional, relational, and physiological issues. 
  • Minimized sexual or gender-related tension between male and female clients. 
  • Supportive, gender-sensitive therapy groups that inspire open communication about the social, emotional, and environmental pressures that can result in substance abuse and addiction.
  • Elevated comfort levels as gender-specific treatment environments encourage trust and bonding with peers in the program.

Let us help you start your journey.
Request a Callback

Women-Specific Treatment

When it comes to addiction treatment, women have specific needs that are separate from those of men. For this reason, gender-specific treatment programs may be a good option for some. Women entering treatment due to an addiction resulting from a traumatic event may also benefit from gender-specific programs. Those who have experienced verbal, physical, or sexual abuse at the opposite sex’s hands may not feel safe discussing these events in a group therapy setting that also includes male participants. Women who are mothers may also benefit from gender-specific treatment. One of the most challenging aspects of treatment, if children are involved, is being away from home. However, with the support of other women and treatment professionals, they may feel more comfortable talking about the emotions and challenges of living with addiction while trying to parent. 

benefits of a gender specific rehab
benefits of a gender specific rehab

Male-Specific Treatment

Like women, men have a set of specific needs when it comes to addiction treatment. For men, their needs usually center around male cultural roles and stereotypes. Men often feel wary of entering treatment (or will avoid it at all costs) due to fears of being judged or viewed as weak. Gender-specific programs can help men seek treatment in an environment where they feel accepted and can speak without fearing judgment. Also, men often require more time than women to open up and disclose personal information about their struggles or emotions. Therefore, there are specific therapy methods that work better for men than for women. Gender-specific treatment is designed to cater to the emotional, psychological, and physiological treatment needs of men.

Addiction Shows up in unique ways

How Addiction Affects the Genders Differently

Research has shown that men and women use drugs differently, respond to drugs differently, and have unique treatment obstacles. Also, how specific drugs impact the body and mind varies between men and women. 

Substance Abuse in Men

Men are more likely than women to use almost all types of illicit drugs, which are more likely to result in emergency department visits or overdose deaths. 

Men are more likely to use marijuana than females, and research indicates that males experience a more significant high when using marijuana. According to statistics, men are more likely to use heroin and are more likely to inject it than women but are less likely to overdose from heroin use than women. The reason for this is unclear. 

Generally, men have higher rates of alcohol use, including binge drinking when compared to women. Despite this, men have death rates between 50 and 100% lower than women related to alcohol-induced accidents and disease.

Substance Abuse in Women

Fewer women report using marijuana; however, those who do note significant spatial memory impairment compared to men. Across both sexes, marijuana use disorder is associated with an increased risk of at least one other mental health condition such as depression or anxiety. Women also may be more vulnerable to the reinforcing effects of stimulants. It is thought that this is due to the levels of estrogen in their body, increasing the sensitivity to the impact of the drug. Consequently, women may also be more sensitive to cocaine and methamphetamine. Women commonly report using methamphetamine because they believe it will increase their energy and decrease exhaustion associated with work, home, childcare, and family responsibilities. Weight loss is another reason why women turn to methamphetamine use. Women tend to use smaller amounts of heroin and less time, but they are more at risk for overdose death during the first few years of injecting heroin. One reason for this may be that women who inject heroin are also more likely than their male counterparts to misuse prescription drugs (while on heroin), resulting in a fatal overdose.

Research has shown many differences across both sexes in how substances are used and processed through the body. The effects of these substances also differ between the sexes; therefore, gender-specific treatment is essential to ensuring sobriety and recovery

We Work With Most Major Insurance Carriers

Find the best treatment for you

The Benefits of Gender-Specific Treatment for Substance Abuse

Just as there are many differences between the ways men and women experience addiction, there are many benefits to providing gender-specific treatment. Some of these benefits were alluded to above, yet we will address them in brief below. 

Specialized Treatment

Men and women have different treatment needs due to how drugs and alcohol affect their bodies and minds. Biologically, male and female bodies are physically different. Consequently, men process alcohol and drugs differently than women. For example, research has shown that women may be more vulnerable to stimulant drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine due to how estrogen affects these drugs. Male bodies also contain more water and less fatty tissue than women. Consequently, women may be more susceptible to alcohol abuse’s adverse physical effects as fat retains alcohol and water dilutes it. This can expose women to a higher risk of physical organ damage.

The sexes also have different social needs when it comes to treatment. Women in addiction treatment programs are more likely to have experienced traumatic events or various types of abuse. Also, women struggling with a substance abuse disorder are more likely to have had experiences with the child welfare system or struggled with advanced complications of alcohol and drug use during pregnancy. Due to the mental health implications of these experiences, specific therapeutic modalities may be better suited for women than for men in treatment. 

Finally, as previously mentioned, the way men and women develop drug and alcohol addictions are different. Although women may be less likely to develop a drug or alcohol addiction when they do develop it, the process occurs much quicker. Consequently, women are more likely to enter a substance abuse treatment program with more severe psychological, medical, social, and behavioral difficulties. These additional co-occurring disorders have significant implications on treatment needs in the ability to attain sobriety successfully.

Less Distractions


While in recovery, men and women should be focused on their health, self-improvement, and growth. For some, having a member of the opposite sex present within their treatment program may prove to be a distraction that hinders the individual’s progress and growth while in recovery.


Both sexes may feel uncomfortable sharing painful, traumatizing, and intimate life experiences in a mixed-group therapy setting. For this reason, gender-specific treatment often creates an environment that feels more welcoming and safer, especially for those dealing with trauma-related addiction. Increased comfort encourages openness and honesty, which are vital factors for the healing process throughout addiction treatment.

Don't Wait Any Longer, call now

Benefits of Gender Specific Rehab at
Newport Beach Recovery Center

There are many drug and alcohol treatment programs throughout the United States, and choosing the appropriate one for your addiction treatment needs can be complicated. At Newport Beach Recovery Center, our renowned drug rehab services in Orange County provide a holistic approach to addiction treatment with both co-ed and gender-specific treatment options. If you are curious about how Newport Beach Recovery Center can help you achieve sobriety, contact us for a tour of our facility today. 

Call Now Button