Substance Abuse Treatment for Men
Just like women have specific and individualized needs from their treatment program and facility during substance abuse treatment, men have these needs as well. It is important to remember how well female only treatment can be received for women when treating men, especially those who need to be treated separately from women. Men only substance abuse treatment exists and can be a great option for many male individuals looking for specialized treatment.
Why Do We Have Gender Specific Substance Abuse Treatment?
Men only substance abuse treatment can be just as helpful as women only substance abuse treatment for certain populations. Women have specific needs during treatment, as do men. For example, according to the NIDA, “research has shown that physical and sexual trauma followed by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is more common in drug-abusing women.” However, this does not mean that only women experience this type of issue.
A study from the NCBI on intimate partner violence states, “People who experience traumatic events are at increased risk for a range of psychological disorders, with the more common types of traumatic responses including symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder… and alcohol/substance abuse.” While women who are substance abusers are more likely to have experienced an event or trauma triggering PTSD, male substance abusers also have this possibility.
“For over 30 years, research has shown that men can and do sustain intimate partner violence (IPV) from their female partners.” Since this issue can often lead to substance abuse in the abused partner, men being treated for substance abuse should have the option to only be treated with other men (just as women should). But this is not the only reason men only substance abuse treatment is helpful.
Many men feel that they can more comfortably express themselves and their feelings in a group of other men, who may have shared common experiences, than in a mixed gender group. There should always be an option for individuals to be comfortably surrounded by their peers in substance abuse treatment. The program can be uncomfortable and difficult enough for many individuals without group sessions becoming a source of discomfort for reasons of past abuse, PTSD symptoms, or general discomfort from being with others who a patient feel tense.
- Another NCBI study encourages “the screening of IPV among men who seek treatment for alcohol and drug abuse” which may lead to the necessity for men only substance abuse treatment for the individual.
- There are many specialized treatment groups including those who have recently been incarcerated, relapsing individuals, families, LGBTQ-identifying individuals, women, and others whose patients benefit immensely from a focused and more concentrated treatment environment.
- Men benefit from being in treatment with other men. They feel more comfortable, more understood by other patients, and more able to speak their mind in group therapy treatments.
These are just some of the reasons why men only substance abuse treatment works and should be accessible to those male patients who will benefit from it.
What is Substance Abuse Treatment for Men Like?
Men only substance abuse treatment offers many of the same treatment types but with a focus on men and how their attitudes as well as expectations for them in society differ as a group. Treatment can also allow them to discover why they began abusing substances in the first place and learn to stop in a more comfortable atmosphere.
- Like in all treatment programs, patients should be comfortable to share how they are feeling and what their needs are. Some men may feel uncomfortable doing so in front of female patients.
- Because of the possibility for IPV and other issues, men should have the opportunity to attend treatment with only other men present.
- The NIDA states, in gender-related drug abuse treatment, the biological factors as well as the “social and environmental factors” can all “influence the motivations for drug use, the reasons for seeking treatment, the types of environments where treatment is obtained, the treatments that are most effective, and the consequences of not receiving treatment.”
The treatment methods of using therapies in conjunction with medication are usually the most effective for the majority of individuals attending treatment. The combination of the two allow patients to do many things: while medication helps patients to focus better on treatment, curb cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and have a better chance at avoiding relapse, therapy allows patients to learn better coping mechanisms than substance abuse, behavioral changes, and long-term solutions to the problems of triggers and cravings.
However these same treatments will take a specific focus that is directly associated with men and their needs in men only substance abuse treatment. For example, depression can be a co-occurring disorder or sometimes even the cause of substance abuse treatment in both men and women. According to the NIMH, “Many men do not recognize, acknowledge, or seek help for their depression” which can lead to the harmful use of substances to cope with these issues.
In substance abuse treatment for men, many of the patients need to receive feedback that it is all right to discuss feelings of sadness, anger, stress, or other issues instead of ignoring them or finding an unhealthy outlet for them. These kinds of focused treatments are similar to the treatments learned in other rehab facilities, but men only substance abuse treatment can take those specific treatments and focus them directly onto the needs of male patients.
Men only substance abuse treatment is very similar to other types of substance abuse treatment, except that it is specifically focused on, catered to, and beneficial to the needs of men. This usually means specialized therapy that focuses on the issues most men who are struggling with substance abuse face on a day-to-day basis and a medication regimen that is both safe and healthy for male patients biologically and psychologically.
Men only substance abuse treatment is something male patients should consider if they are looking for addiction treatment. Not only is it beneficial, it allows men to focus on what their needs are as well as be able to meet others who are dealing with the same needs, fears, and issues.