Gender Matters in Addiction Treatment: Why Women Need Specialized Care

Addiction Treatment

Addiction Treatment

Although addiction does not discriminate based on gender, women are often less likely to seek treatment for their addictions than men. This is due in part to the stigma associated with addiction and mental health issues. Some may also fear that their children will get taken from them if they seek out care. Many program models were originally created for men and then simply applied to women, However, there are some reasons why specialized care might be beneficial for female patients who use drugs or alcohol.

Some Women Need Facilities That Cater Only to Women Due to Trauma

Women are more likely than men to experience trauma due to sexual assault, domestic violence, emotional abuse, and physical abuse. They also face financial abuse at higher rates than men. Because of this, it can be beneficial and more healing for women with substance use disorders to receive treatment in an environment where they feel safe and secure. A women only detox center can offer this supportive and safe environment.

Women Have Unique Health Needs

Women have unique health needs, and addiction treatment providers must be aware of these differences. Women are more likely than men to experience certain health problems, such as heart disease and osteoporosis. They also experience depression and anxiety around different life experiences than men may have experienced. Addiction treatment programs should take these differences into account when developing their treatment plans for women. In some cases, women might be less likely to relapse if they are given the right treatment opportunities.

Specialized Care Improves Outcomes

Getting gender-specific treatment ensures that women’s unique needs are taken into account. This improves outcomes long-term. Women often need to get childcare in order to attend treatment. They also need consideration if they have experienced or witnessed sexual violence and other forms of assault. While some men experience domestic violence, women are much more likely to be victims. This means that in order to improve outcomes for addiction treatment, care professionals need to approach women’s experiences differently.

Care For Women Can Create More Trust

Women are more likely to trust women. Women who have been through similar experiences can provide a level of understanding and empathy that male counselors simply cannot. That’s why female-only treatment programs have been so successful in treating addiction, especially among those with co-occurring mental health issues such as depression or anxiety disorders in women. This type of specialized care can create an environment where the patient feels safe enough to open up about her struggles and share them with her counselor. A mixed-gender facility could make this more difficult. There are different treatment services available like Quest 2 Recovery treatment services.

Gender-Based Addiction Treatment Can Offer Special Training Opportunities

Many addiction treatment centers also offer training for job opportunities. Women usually have different skills and abilities than men. They are less likely to be attracted to careers that are very physically demanding and require lifting heavy things. Have a gender-based facility can offer opportunities that are more in line with women’s physical capabilities.

Have Different Mental Health Needs Than Men

While both men and women with addiction may also have concurrent mental health problems like depression or anxiety, these issues can manifest differently based on gender. This means that women need a different therapeutic approach to care for their mental health needs. With this in mind, it’s important for women who suffer from addiction to receive specialized care that addresses these issues specifically.

Women Experience Different Stigma Around Addiction Versus Men

Women who are addicted to drugs and alcohol may struggle to get help because of the stigma around it. For women who are mothers, the stigma may be that they are dangerous or unfit to be a mom when that may not be the case. This causes many women to internalize those feelings instead of coping with them in healthy ways.


While men and women both need help for addiction treatment, women can benefit especially from women-only environments. Because they experience more domestic violence, internalize their emotions, and have unique health needs, going to facilities designed for them can improve their chances of recovery. These are just a few of the reasons why women need specialized care for their addiction treatment.