Is residential substance abuse treatment in a mixed coed environment or in gender specific (male-only and female-only) drug rehab centers better? How to treat addictions in men and women.

Some people are of the school of thought that males and females have the same issues and thus, substance abuse treatment should be cookie of the cutter sort. It has been proven time and again that residential or inpatient treatment is most effective. While outpatient programs are great and highly needed, they belong as part of the step-down process, after one completes a more structured inpatient type of program.

From my own perspective of having been through several drug rehabs, both gender specific and coed, I found the need and benefit from being in an all-female environment. Both men and women tend to stop drinking and drugging and are left with the opposite sex to distract them instead of dealing with why they were using in the first place. I have noticed that staff spends a lot to time trying to keep the genders separate and that further rattles clients, while of course wasting resources on damage control rather than clinical support services.

Most drug addicts and alcoholics struggle with issues of low self-esteem and in treatment they’re stripped away of their alcohol or drugs, the very tools they have used to mask their self-esteem issues. They are looking for anyone to make them feel better about themselves, and sexual attraction can activate the exact same endorphins and dopamine that are affected by drug use, thereby almost guaranteeing to pull their focus away from treatment.


• Men process drugs & alcohol differently than women
• Men and women each face unique health concerns, and even more so on a mental health level
• Males tend to be more likely to speak openly and honestly in a same sex group than do females
• Women often times come into treatment with very deep-seated issues relating to body image, sexual trauma, low self-esteem and others
• Certain addiction (and mental health) treatment approaches can have varying effects on men vs. women
• Men and women often times relapse for completely different reasons (For instance, many times men will associate drug or alcohol use with sex, which typically isn’t the case for women)
• Men will more commonly focus on their obligations outside of treatment, making it that much more challenging to help them stay grounded. A the same rate, women often times turn the rehab experience into almost a summer camp type of environment.

Overall, it is evident of the need for gender specific treatment in order to give your loved ones the best chance. While the knowledge of the brain and addiction cycle does not change across genders, how men and women recover from addiction most definitely does. Regardless of your gender, a strong commitment towards recovery is essential for sobriety success. Furthermore, comprehensive addiction treatment services should include detox, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), and sober living or aftercare.

If you’re struggling with addiction, contact Scottsdale Recovery Center now to get the help you need. For over a decade, Scottsdale Recovery Center has offered an acclaimed recovery environment that merges upscale and luxury accommodations with affordability, clinical expertise and an unwavering commitment to patient care and aftercare, providing “The Gold Standard in Care” with the Joint Commission Accreditation. 

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 602-346-9142.

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