Men’s only treatment programs focus entirely on men and their unique issues and needs in addiction treatment. Men have a lot of unique challenges to deal with in their recovery effort. They face social pressures and stereotypes that tell them not to show weakness or to ask for help. They may also feel too proud to admit that they have a problem, or that substance use could get the better of them. Men with families face the pressure of being seen as the “provider” figure and the constant need to be successful in their professional life.
The fundamental structure of a recovery program for men is not all that different from a more general recovery program. The key differences are the environment and staffing.
Men begin their recovery with a period of initial detox to ensure the substance they are using is out of their system and to help manage their strongest period of cravings and withdrawal symptoms. During this time, they can speak to mental health counselors who will begin to diagnose any underlying mental health disorders they may have that may be tied in with their substance use.
Men then move on to an inpatient treatment facility where they will reside with other men, ideally of their own general age range, for at least 30 days. Treatment commonly goes for up to 90 days and can go even longer in the case of severe addiction. Men’s addiction treatment provides the specific counseling they need to address their issues, and go to support meetings with other men who are peers in similar life circumstances and situations.
It’s often beneficial to spend some time living in a clean and sober environment after completing inpatient treatment. Gender-specific boarding and rooming houses do exist as an option for men that think they would benefit from them.
Men’s programs tend to not just focus on the substance abuse, but on the underlying issues that have led the patient to begin abusing substances. Men’s therapy may also spend more time on issues that are more commonly seen in men, such as anger management.
Getting men to feel comfortable enough to open up about their personal situations and problems is often the biggest battle in the early stages of treatment. Men’s programs often emphasize a low ratio of patients to therapists, sometimes even operating on a one-to-one basis. This makes the man feel safe and valued. Individualized attention also helps greatly in preventing relapses.
Peer support groups are also a big part of the recovery process, but in mixed groups men often feel that they cannot be totally open. There is also the possibility of romantic distraction, which has derailed many treatment programs before they could get underway. Groups made up only of men who are residing together fosters a sense of camaraderie and mutual support and makes it easier to open up about personal issues.
Detox is an important early factor to consider when choosing a program. Not all facilities offer medical detox on site, so it may need to be completed elsewhere at a medical facility before admission.
Though it may not be possible to determine the overall length of stay right at the beginning, it’s important to find out if the program has a fixed term or a maximum length of stay. Insurance companies may only provide for a stay of 30 days. Patients dealing with a serious long-term addiction should also look for a program that helps them transition to a sober living environment once the inpatient treatment is complete.
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