According to an article published by Live Science, studies have shown that the male and female brains have evolved differently, with equal intelligence but a varied means of processing information. Men, as a general rule, are more logical and practical, excelling in reason-based pursuits, such as mathematics. Women, who are equally as intelligent and cognitive, excel at reasoning, or interpretation, of information. Because men and women think and feel the effects of their environment differently, treatment plans for men and women may also vary significantly as they relate to drug and alcohol addiction.
There are other factors that differentiate men from women in the treatment process, as well.
- Men are less likely to encounter barriers to addiction treatment, while women – who are often sole caretakers of children – may find it more difficult to access care.
- Men are more likely to seek treatment than women
- Because women have more difficulties seeking treatment, additional attention is sometimes paid to women in coed recovery programs
- Men often have a need for shorter inpatient treatment stays than women who often seek treatment in a non-specialty environment first, resulting in less overall success.
- Rates of completing treatment are similar between men and women; however, men are more likely to refrain from further drug use than women.
When it comes to drug and alcohol addiction treatment, some men and women may simply prefer to communicate their thoughts, feelings and experiences in an atmosphere that is gender-specific in order to feel more comfortable with like-minded individuals.
What Men Can Expect From Inpatient Treatment Programs
Making the decision to seek treatment for drug addiction is much like seeking treatment for any chronic disease, with one exception. While someone who is suffering from diabetes may want to improve their health, drug addiction changes the way individuals think about themselves and the world around them. On one hand, a man who suffers from addiction may see his life careening out of his control and know, on some deep level, that he should stop using drugs. He may even want to stop abusing drugs. However, the very nature of addiction can sometimes prevent this. A man who suffers from addiction may be unable to choose his work, his family or his self-worth over the compulsion to abuse drugs.
Once the decision to receive treatment has been made, there are several aspects of care that should be addressed. The first is the detox period. Depending upon the types of drugs being abused, detox can last from several hours to several days. Detox is the period during which the body metabolizes the drugs. This initial period of withdrawal can vary in severity as well.
Opioid drug withdrawal, according to Medline Plus and the National Institutes of Health, can resemble the flu with body aches and joint pain, nausea and vomiting, and general illness listed among the symptoms. Cocaine withdrawal does not cause the same kind of illness, but it can include depression, fatigue and anxiety. Withdrawal from other drugs, such as benzodiazepines (some prescription sleep medications), may require medical supervision during detox and a process of weaning from the drugs of abuse to prevent serious medical complications. Choosing a treatment facility that has experience and compassion to assist with the detoxification process can alleviate some of the stress associated with this early phase of withdrawal.
After the detox period, a man seeking treatment for drug addiction can expect to undergo a thorough psychological and physical assessment. According to the experts at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, detox alone is not a treatment for drug addiction. It is also common for an individual who suffers from drug abuse to also have another mental illness which may, or may not, have been previously identified or diagnosed. The evaluation and assessment can determine whether such a condition exists. This is important because both conditions must be addressed and treated equally in order for treatment to be most effective.
Once a proper diagnosis has been made, the treatment staff will create a personalized program of recovery that meets all of the needs of the recovering addict. This may include attention to physical, emotional and mental health needs as well as vocational or legal needs.
- Individual therapy that consists of cognitive behavioral therapies conducted by a trained drug abuse counselor or psychologist
- Group therapy where men with similar issues and addictions can work together to encourage each other throughout recovery and share experiences to help each other make progress
- Family therapy that can address the needs of the recovering addict
- Family therapy that can address the needs of other individuals in the family unit who have been negatively affected by the recovering addict’s disease
- Alternative therapies, such as massage or yoga, that can ease the stress of recovery while providing life skills and a means to combat stress over the course of the recovering addict’s lifetime
After Addiction Treatment for Men
Like other diseases of a chronic nature, addiction can be marked by relapse. It is important to remember that relapse does not indicate that the treatment program has failed. It means only that the treatment plan needs to be adjusted. Experts have found, through years of research and study, that addiction has roughly the same rates of overall relapse as other chronic issues, such as hypertension and diabetes.
When an individual suffers a relapse of high blood pressure, they should revisit their doctor to have their medication (which may be part of that individual’s treatment plan) adjusted. They may find that they need to add an element of exercise to their daily routine, or they may decide to increase or add alternative stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation. When an individual suffering from addiction experiences a relapse, however, the stigma related to drug abuse can often cause additional problems. There is a certain element of shame or blame related to the disease of addiction that can be incredibly dangerous. This stigma can interfere with a man’s desire to seek additional treatment because he does not want others to know he has fallen back into old behaviors. Therefore, prior to exiting a residential treatment center, it’s a good idea to have a plan for action concerning the possibility of relapse and to seek help immediately if relapse does occur.
Living in a sober environment is one way to help avoid relapse. If a man who has recently completed addiction treatment returns to the same environment and elements that he left prior to receiving the care he needed, and that environment includes individuals or activities related to drug abuse, he may have a difficult time overcoming the temptation to abuse drugs. However, if he chooses to live in a new environment, surrounded by others who have also chosen to avoid drugs and the temptations to abuse them, he may find that he can better withstand the urge to abuse drugs.
Get More Information on Addiction Treatment for Men
If you’d like more information on how gender-specific treatment can factor into recovery for you or a man in your life, please contact us today. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.