3 Benefits of Gender Specific Drug Treatment

It is pretty amazing to think about the developments that have been made for the treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts and alcoholics over the last 100 years. Even throughout the first few decades of the 1900s, many alcoholics were simply locked away in a straight jacket, deemed hopeless. Today, we have the opportunity to experience a massive, ever-evolving, and genuinely effective world of drug treatment, and we have even have the ability to take advantage of gender-specific drug treatment centers!

What is the benefit of gender-specific drug treatment centers you may ask? Well, coming from someone who has both attended co-ed treatment and worked in gender-specific treatment, I’m here to tell you, if there is one thing that will always interfere with the stability and level-headedness that is already lacking from early sobriety, it is sex. After that, gender-specific treatment is beneficial for two other main reasons, the way people process trauma, and the vulnerability that can take place without the ego.

Sexual Relations

Everyone who is new to recovery or who has, at any point in time been new to recovery will be able to attest to the fact that sex, romance, lust, relationships, etc., will always be a struggle in early sobriety. Just about every person thinks they will be the exception to the rule that early sobriety relationships usually end in a sh*t storm or a relapse. Sadly, most people eventually find that it happens to them too.

Here is why. Folks in early sobriety (my previous self included, no judgment) are still extremely wrapped up in ego, selfishness, and the need for validation. Call it whatever you want, deny it until the cows come home, but it’s true. It is only once we have worked the steps that we are able to actually become healthy, functioning human beings. Gender-specific drug treatment helps us get there. Why?

When it comes to co-ed treatment for those who identify as straight or bi, the eradication of the “sex” idea is extremely useful. Here are some examples as to why:

  • “See no evil, think no evil” – think of it as out of sight, out of mind. Granted, you’re still going to think about it, but it will be a whole lot less glaring.  
  • Less drama – girl likes boy, boy likes girl, boy likes other girls, girls fight, boys laugh – and vice versa, because everyone is so focused on how they are perceived and their egos and still being “cool” it turns back into high school when sex is involved.
  • Reputations Continued – Many of us come into treatment with a lifetime of bad rumors, trauma, and horrible failed relationships behind us. When we get involved in rehab romances, rumors are usually spread, and we continue our cycle of belief in ourselves and others.
  • Disconnect from the Fellowship – In sobriety, it’s all about sticking with people who have your best interest at heart. Sex complicates this. It detaches you from those who are looking out for you, especially when they tell you it’s not a good idea and you don’t want to hear it.

There are plenty of other reasons why gender-specific drug treatment is beneficial in regards to sex, but you get the general idea.

men's only treatment


Despite the current evolution in the shift of gender roles around the world right now, there is actual empirical data showing the differences in how many people experience, cope with and heal from trauma. This is why gender-specific drug treatment can be so powerful for so many people. Many women coming into treatment have direct experience with sexual trauma, rape, codependency, and abuse.

On the other hand, there are countless men who have also experienced sexual trauma, whether it be selling their bodies for drugs, harming others sexually, or being harmed themselves as children or young adults.

This can be a very touchy subject for people (no pun intended), and working through deeply rooted post-traumatic sexual trauma can be difficult when you are surrounded by the opposite sex. Again, when sex is involved, people tend to put up a front or a toughness that they think is attractive to people they are attracted to. Due to this front, many people are unwilling to face their past and get truly raw and real with themselves in order to heal from their trauma.


This sort of ties in with everything else that has been stated, but try to stop and think about yourself around people you are attracted to. Do you act differently than when you are by yourself? Do you think differently about yourself when you are near someone you want to have sex with? Do you feel better? Worse? Completely Numb?

Over the years of our addictions, many of us had to become something we were not. We had to be tough, or sexy, or strong, or weak, or whatever it looked like for our addiction to continue. When we enter gender-specific drug treatment, the boys are with the boys, and the girls are with the girls. This creates a little microcosm of fellowship and trust that many of us have never experienced before.

Let’s be honest here; most women that come into the rooms admit after some time that the idea of becoming “friends” with women was a real struggle for them. For their whole lives, they have been living in this idea that women were not to be trusted, that they would hurt them, tell secrets about them, abandon them, etc.

On the other hand, many men often feel like they have to carry the weight of the world on their own shoulders, never to open up or show weakness. As much as gender roles are starting to evolve, these are still deeply ingrained in us.

However, once someone enters into and becomes comfortable in a gender-specific drug treatment environment, their walls slowly begin to come down. They make friends, real connections, without drugs or sex or money or power in the picture. It’s just a bunch of dudes or a bunch of girls, honestly working towards the same goal, together. The people that were once viewed as the enemy, become the family.

Long story short, if you are in real need of recovery, any well-established rehab is good if it means getting you off the streets. However, if you have been through the co-ed, 30-day rodeos before and failed, you should really consider long term, gender-specific drug treatment.

Getting Help

Being sober and in recovery does not mean that everything is smooth sailing. There is no straight line to recovery, and it, like other diseases, can be extremely difficult to manage. However, by developing a plan of attack in regards to coping with cravings, you can set yourself up for success.

If you or a loved one are struggling with drug abuse, you are not alone. Reach out to us right now. Our drug treatment center can help you today.