Studies have shown that the source and intensity of addictive behavior differs between men and women. Additionally, men and women display varying behaviors when it comes to getting help and staying sober after seeking treatment. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to treat men and women separately when it comes to alcohol abuse and addiction. Not surprisingly, studies have shown that treating cases of alcohol abuse is easier when the unique needs of men and women are catered to during addiction treatment.
Treating the Sexes Separately
In most cases, a woman will suffer different effects from alcohol abuse. These symptoms may include low self-esteem, an inability to hold a job or enter the workforce at all, as well as potential problems with anxiety. Although men may feel nervous or suffer from low self-esteem prior to or while addicted to alcohol, their symptoms may be less intense or easier to overcome.
One reason it may be a good idea to keep the sexes separate is that it often helps them to open up about their issues. For instance, a woman who started drinking after suffering from sexual or physical abuse may not feel comfortable talking about that in front of a man. In addition, a man may not be able to relate to how sexual assault or physical abuse can impact a woman from a mental point of view.
When surrounded by women, men may not feel like opening up and dealing with their issues because they tend to assume it makes them look weak. Traditionally, men are encouraged to keep their feelings bottled up and to show emotion as infrequently as possible. However, putting men in a room with other men who can relate may make it easier for a male to be honest and get the most from an alcohol rehab treatment program.
The best reason to keep the sexes separate while receiving treatment is that males and females react differently to alcohol from a chemical standpoint. A man’s brain and a woman’s brain react differently to actual or implied rewards. Therefore, it makes no sense to think that a single treatment plan is going to keep a member of both sexes from relapsing in the future.
Why Gender-specific Addiction Treatment Works
Gender-specific alcohol addiction treatment works because men and women are wired differently. Scientific evidence shows that the differences between the genders and how they overcome alcohol abuse issues isn’t only a human issue. Laboratory experiments have revealed that the same differences manifest themselves in mice and other animals.
One big difference between how men and women use alcohol is that men tend to consume more alcohol per sitting. This can lead to liver disease and other serious health symptoms. These symptoms can be exacerbated by the fact that men tend to tolerate higher amounts of alcohol within the body. These two factors can make it harder for a man to stop drinking because his body will need more alcohol to survive. Overcoming an alcohol addiction can be more difficult because withdrawal symptoms will hit the typical man harder than the typical woman.
Women don’t process alcohol as well as men. As a result, more alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream and can lead to intoxication without drinking as much as a man would need to become intoxicated. When a woman consumes a large quantity of alcohol over a long enough period of time, it can lead to brain damage as well as reproductive issues.
Furthermore, research indicates that women who binge drink are more likely to have unprotected sex. Side effects of such activities can include unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. If a woman is pregnant, the use of alcohol could cause issues with the fetus or even result in a stillbirth. Although men can contract STDs from unprotected sex, they aren’t at risk of serious reproductive damage that can last for years or for life.
Men Are More Likely to Relapse After Rehab
Statistically speaking, men are more likely to start using alcohol again after short- or long-term sobriety. Therefore, a long-term treatment program that can assist a man in avoiding relapse can be helpful in treating the addiction and ensuring that the problem is under control. Treatment programs for both men and women will place an emphasis on resources available to former alcoholics to help them stay sober for the rest of their lives.
Seeking treatment for an alcohol abuse issue can help an addict stop using alcohol and reverse some or all of the health issues related to use of the substance. Those who are seeking help or want more information about how to overcome problems with alcohol can call the hotline at 800-447-9081. After making the call, individuals can start to help themselves or get help for others who are battling the bottle.