For most of the history of substance abuse programs, treatment was designed for a predominantly male patient population, as the majority of addicts were men. When the problem of women’s substance abuse began to emerge, treatment proceeded on the assumption that established practices would be equally applicable to and effective for women. In the recent years, drug and alcohol abuse treatment providers have begun to recognize the different factors that lead to substance abuse by each gender and the way that approaches to treatment need to change to meet the needs of women. This movement has also led treatment centers to re-evaluate programs designed for men to determine whether they could be structured differently to meet the needs of women. Treatment has therefore begun to move from being “one size fits all” to being gender-responsive and individualized.
Gender-Responsiveness at Lakeview
When Lakeview made the transition to gender-responsive treatment, every aspect of the program—including the hiring of staff, the way the program is developed, and the content of the sessions—was examined to ensure it addresses the particular needs of men and women.
The causes of addiction tend to be different in men and women. Because of this, different methods of treatment are appropriate to each. The majority of women who enter treatment for substance use disorders report significant traumatic events in their past, including sexual abuse and domestic violence. Addiction in men, on the other hand, is often tied up with societal definitions of masculinity and the drive to succeed.
Our men’s and women’s programs are tailored to address addiction in a way that takes gender differences into account. Beginning June 9, 2016, our programs will be entirely gender separate, with all activities being completely divided into gender-specific groups.