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Gender-Responsive Care

Gender-Responsive Care

Evidence-based addiction treatment requires gender-responsive care. There are many biological and sociological sex and gender differences that play a role in developing a substance use disorder. Women typically respond to substances differently than men do. They may have more cravings than men and may be more likely to relapse after treatment.

Men, too, benefit from gender-responsive care. They are more likely than women to use almost all types of illicit drugs and have a much higher rate of alcohol use disorder (AUD). On average, males start using drugs at an earlier age and men misuse drugs more often and in larger amounts than women.

Many men with addiction have been socialized to assume they have to be strong in all situations. They feel they need to be the main provider of the family and consider showing emotions to be weak. These distorted assumptions about manhood can cause problems in one’s life and in one’s family, but they can be addressed in therapy.

If one’s experience of their own gender doesn’t conform to social expectations, gender identity itself can be a major stressor that may increase chances of addiction. Transgender people are frequently traumatized by violent attacks and persistent discrimination and are at an elevated risk of developing substance use disorders because of that. An estimated 20 to 30 percent of transgender people misuse substances, compared to around 9 percent of the general population in the United States.

Addiction is a biopsychosocial disease and socialization, biological sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity all have an impact on the process. We at Encore Outpatient Solutions are here to help.

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