Although the general public tends to see addiction treatment as a very uniform and static recovery resource, there are actually many different types of addiction treatment, including rehabs that offer treatment programs designed specifically for men. In fact, a men’s rehab can be a vital resource for any male who has become addicted to alcohol or drugs. But what, exactly is a men’s rehab? And does it actually help?
What is a Men’s Rehab?
Because of the stigma and the fact that relevant data has only recently become available, there’s been a lot of stigmatization — as well as a poor understanding among the public — of substance abuse and addiction recovery. It seems to be that the vast majority of the public hasn’t been appropriately educated about addiction and recovery, which is what causes many people to make quick assumptions about the disease as well as how the disease of addiction is supposed to be treated. For instance, one of the most common assumptions that numerous people have made is that an individual only requires thirty days of inpatient treatment to overcome an addiction; in other words, the assumption is that thirty days of rehab is all a person needs to be able to achieve stable recovery. In reality, this assumption is quite inaccurate.
As you’re surely aware, the disease of addiction is one that affects the entire demographic spectrum, developing in individuals regardless of their race, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and political leanings. Further, what has made this disease so incredibly different to treat compared to most other illnesses is the fact that there’s such intense variation in how the disease of addiction develops, how it affects individuals, and even with regard to what those individuals need to overcome their substance abuse problems.
Research has shown that men suffer from addiction to alcohol and drugs at a higher rate than women, so it’s crucial for the public to be knowledgeable not only about recovery in general but also about the specific recovery needs of men. In short, a men’s rehab is designed to offer the treatments and support that have proven to be most effective in addressing the needs most men suffering from addiction tend to have or experience with regard to addiction recovery.
How Men’s Rehab is Different
Traditionally, the vast majority of addiction treatment programs have been quite generalized rather than specific, which was done in an effort to appeal to the broadest possible audience. In fact, the generalization of addiction treatment was based largely on the presumption that all individuals who suffered from addiction experienced the same symptoms and effects while also requiring the same treatments and resources to get sober.
However, in spite of this rudimentary and inaccurate conception of addiction, there are still certain facets of addiction that one could say are nearly universal: In particular, just about everyone who develops an addiction or substance abuse problem will experience some level of deterioration in his or her physical health as well as an irregular emotional state, difficulties with relationships and career, and a number of other quantifiable effects. Unfortunately, the problem with generalizing the addiction recovery process is that it often leaves individuals with certain needs that aren’t addressed over the course of the recovery process. In other words, these individuals are left quite vulnerable to relapse in the future.
There are many ways to make an addiction treatment program that’s more specialized with gender-specific treatment being just one of the many possible ways. The important question is how, exactly, is a men’s addiction treatment program different from women’s programs or even more general programs for both men and women?
To understand how men’s rehab and addiction treatment differ from more generalized programs, it’s important to consider circumstances and gender roles as well as some of the fundamental differences between men and women. As an obvious example, one of the most common societal influences on men is the tendency for men to be made to feel like they shouldn’t share their thoughts or emotions; historically, expressing one’s thoughts and emotions openly has been portrayed as being a feminine trait. Thus, a key component of a men’s substance abuse treatment program is to encourage men to be more expressive of their thoughts and feelings. Not only is this healthy, being more communicative has proven to be invaluable as men move forward in recovery and encounter stress, anxiety, and other types of emotional hardship with which they need to learn how to cope without resorting to alcohol or drugs.
Benefits of Receiving Men’s Addiction Treatment
As with all addiction treatment programs and rehabs, a men’s rehab is built on a foundation of psychotherapy and individual, one-on-one counseling. Also commonly referred to as “talk therapy,” individual counseling is a long-standing and essential part of addiction rehabilitation due to its ability to help patients (a) gain a better understanding of the circumstances and factors that led to their becoming addicted to alcohol and/or drugs and (b) develop strategies for overcoming or compensating for those factors in an effort to minimize the possibility of relapse in the future. But in addition to the essential components of effective addiction treatment, the curriculum of a men’s rehab is tailored to reflect the unique social, political, and economic conditions in which many men find themselves in today’s cultural landscape.
We’ve learned through sociological study that men are conditioned to be strong, independent, self-sufficient individuals, which has made many men reluctant to ask for help or to express their emotions. In fact, a common behavioral pattern among men is the tendency to be in denial of any substance abuse, psychological, emotional, or physical health problems they may be facing. However, with communication and the ability to ask for help being two essential skills in the longevity of one’s recovery, a men’s rehab incorporates and emphasizes healthy, effective communication for men as well as overall self-acceptance.
Among the many reasons why a man might turn to substance abuse, one of the most common causes is the use of alcohol or drugs as a means of self-medication. Thus, teaching healthy coping skills is another important focus in a men’s rehab. While helping male patients to achieve sobriety is an important part of the recovery process, learning how to maintain that sobriety is of equal importance.