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The Importance of Gender Specific/Age Specific Clinical Care in Recovery

Recovery from addictions and alcoholism might be the single most important undertaking a young adult can embark upon. When drug or alcohol dependency takes hold, all hopes, dreams, and aspirations for the future can be lost forever.

There is Hope

The good news is that with the right treatment and therapy, recovery is possible. The child that you knew and the future that they once held so dearly can come back into focus once again. In time, they will start to regain confidence, make better decisions, and regain control of their lives, and will eventually win back the trust and support of their loved ones as they continue on their sober journey.

Colorado Addiction Treatment for Young Adults

Peaks Recovery in Colorado Springs, CO, treats young adults exclusively at their residential facility and is focused on helping them to recover from drug and alcohol addictions. We are one of just a handful of gender-specific recovery programs in the state of Colorado and are dedicated to supporting young adults through what is likely the most difficult and uncertain time of their lives.

Young Adults in Recovery Have Very Specific Needs

As boys and girls move from their childhood into adulthood, they face many pressures along the way. Sometimes, this can lead to dependence on drugs or alcohol to cope with the stress. While to the young adult themselves, the situation may seem hopeless, but with caring treatment that is geared towards their specific age group, it is possible for them to move past their addictions and rediscover their life’s spark and purpose.

Treating young adults in a recovery setting requires a very different approach than it would for an older demographic. The younger the individual, the more easily they can be distracted by external stimuli such as technology (smartphones), social triggers, or members of the opposite sex. Additionally, issues that matter to them may not matter to an older adult, and vice versa. By keeping the focus on youth, we are able to approach each case with a consistent message, and in language that they will understand.

Older individuals, even if they are going through the same substance abuse issues, can also be a distraction, and can sometimes lead to the adoption of habits that are contrary to what we encourage in recovery. Seeing an older adult struggle with chronic addictions can also be very upsetting to a child, causing undue stress that could potentially derail any progress that’s being made. This is why we restrict our patient intake to young adults aged 18-30, as it gives us the opportunity to better focus our programs on the specific needs of youth.

Residential Recovery in Colorado Springs

Our recovery center in Colorado Springs is unlike any other, as we focus solely on young adults with the intent of building strong foundations and values that will support them well into the future. We feel that this age-specific approach is important; it is also a big differentiator for us, as we are one of the only recovery programs in the state of Colorado that specializes solely on young adults, offering them gender-specific programs to further support their success.

Benefits of Age-Specific Addiction and Alcohol Therapy in Colorado:

Here are some of the benefits of age-specific addiction treatment and recovery:

  • Patients will be participating with their peers, with whom they share similar circumstances and life experiences
  • It’s easier for them to relate to each other as having this shared experience helps them understand each other better
  • There is no ‘generation gap’, and no feeling that the person they are in the program with ‘can’t possibly understand’ what they are going through
  • Age-specific treatment removes potential friction, tension, and expectations
  • Being in a group of the same age helps participants to be more honest and open

Simply put, kids and young adults are just more comfortable in the company of their peers. By removing any potential conflict that might be created by age differences, we can focus on the program, and begin moving towards our goals.

Gender-Specific Recovery in Colorado

In the same way that age differences create a divide and should be treated differently, gender also dictates how we approach recovery. Men and boys are more comfortable and less distracted when they are in the company of other men, and the same goes for groups of women and girls.

By separating the genders, we are allowing our patients to be more truly who they are, without fear, without distraction, and without the inherent sexual tension, self-consciousness and posturing that often goes hand-in-hand with mixed-gender treatment programs.

In recovery, the most important thing is to get to the root of the problems that led to the addiction in the first place, so we can better understand how to address the underlying stressors. Patients learn to recognize the trigger behavior that leads to using, and to develop effective coping techniques to help combat these triggers. For this to happen, a person must be open, honest, and above all willing to look at themselves without pretense.

In a mixed-gender situation, this might not be possible, as both sexes tend to adopt certain roles in order to mask what they perceive as weakness, or to gain the attention of another program participant.

Additionally, if the balance were tipped in favor of either gender, that gender’s interests and cultural norms could potentially take over the group, which may overtly or inadvertently cause undue tension.

Why Gender Specific Recovery is Important

  • Males and females have different needs in recovery
  • Addictions manifest themselves differently in men and women
  • Women’s addictions can be associated with promiscuous sexual behavior or abuse, eating disorders, and self-harm, either as a willing participant or as a victim while they were in a vulnerable state
  • Women are more likely to be physiologically sick as a result of their addiction and may need a different focus of care to help them regain their strength and physical health
  • Men are less likely to be affected by issues of sexual abuse but are more likely to be affected by legal issues and violence towards others
  • If treated together, each gender’s issues will conflict with the other, creating a divide
  • Males in a group setting are likely to be more vocal, thereby getting their needs met at the expense of the females, who may hesitate, hold back, and go unheard
  • Issues that are unexpressed because a person feels uncomfortable in a mixed-gender setting may lead to compounded feelings of failure, guilt, and shame, which will affect treatment outcomes in a negative way
  • Sexual attraction or the development of an intimate relationship can quickly take the place of the addiction or ease emotional distress, thus stalling progress and negatively impacting clinical outcomes
  • Unaddressed issues that linger following treatment are the seeds of relapse

In addition, females who struggle with addictions and alcoholism have a greater incidence of other mental health issues combined with their addictions. They may also face an increased social stigma because of their addictions; even in 2017, society is much more apt to forgive or overlook a man’s transgressions, while a women still has a higher standard to answer to.

Gender-specific treatment provides a way to get to the heart of these issues, removing stigmatization and allowing the healing to begin.

Benefits of Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment

  • Gender separation allows patients to address gender-specific issues such as sexuality
  • Both genders will share more freely and be more honest in the company of same-gender peers
  • Less assertive individuals will feel more comfortable opening up
  • Bonding behaviors are strengthened
  • Male-female sexual distractions are eliminated

Why Aren’t There More Age-Specific and Gender-Specific Treatment Programs in Colorado?

So, if we can conclude that there are clear advantages to recovery in an age-specific and gender-specific setting, why then are there not more addiction treatment programs that are structured that way?

The answer to this, like so many other things in life, simply comes down to dollars and cents. Even though there is extensive research to support the idea that age-specific addiction treatment and gender-specific recovery programs are more effective both in the short and long-term, this alone is not going to prompt widespread change.

The vast majority of government-facilitated recovery programs in Colorado are still mixed-gender, and their programs cater to a range of ages from teen, to mature adult, and even seniors. Most of these publicly funded facilities just don’t have the resources or the space to house several different groups, so they integrate, both to accommodate the numbers of people who need their programs, and also to maximize what counseling and accommodation resources they have.

Peaks Recovery in Colorado Springs

As a private recovery center in Colorado Springs, Peaks Recovery is dedicated to providing the best care possible, and to us, that means a commitment to age-specific and gender specific care. If you or a young person in your family is struggling with addiction or mental health issues, we can help. Call today to find out how.