Addiction and mental health disorders are chronic conditions that don’t discriminate. You can develop an addiction or mental health disorder regardless of age, race, gender, or background — every gender experiences unique barriers during treatment and recovery. For instance, men are more likely to experiment with drugs and reach out for treatment, while women are more likely to relapse and experience negative social consequences as a result of their use. For adolescents struggling with substance use disorder or mental health issues, discovering how addiction impacts other genders is a vital part of recovery. It allows individuals to learn how to build and become a part of a supportive community. Destinations for Teens understands the benefits of coed treatment and knows how it increases the chances of a successful recovery.
Addiction is a Disease
Addiction is a disease that impairs your judgment, changes your brain chemistry, and impacts your emotions. Drugs and alcohol all have the potential for abuse because they are neurotransmitter inhibitors. Substances like alcohol and marijuana cause your brain to release more neurotransmitters than it should, which is what causes the pleasurable effects of intoxication. When you use drugs and alcohol, your brain associates that substance with pleasure. This causes your pleasure and reward center to change, leading to your brain only releasing pleasurable neurotransmitters when you use your substance of choice.
Drugs and alcohol can produce two different types of addiction–physical and psychological. Substances that can cause physical dependence include:
- Opiates like heroin, OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet
- Benzodiazepines, including Xanax, Ativan, and Klonopin
When you develop a physical dependency, you experience painful withdrawal symptoms if you immediately stop using it. Sometimes, withdrawal symptoms can lead to potentially fatal complications, like seizures and delirium tremors. The intensity and length of your withdrawal symptoms depend on:
- The substance you are addicted to
- How long you have been using
- How much you use
- Whether you have co-occurring or comorbid conditions
- The route of administration (how you use)
The Benefits of Coed Treatment
There are numerous benefits of coed treatment for adolescents. Young people have more commonalities than they do differences. Discovering other genders experience many of the same challenges, anxieties, and emotions as oneself builds community and respect. When young people know they can open and honest about their wants and needs, they are better poised for success in recovery. The familiarity coed treatment builds confidence, a key factor in avoiding common relapse triggers. By discovering how to interact with their peers in a healthy, normalized way, teens set themselves up for lasting recovery.
While gender-specific treatment can help some individuals, the fact is our everyday life is filled with others of all genders. It’s vital teens learn how to build positive, supportive relationships with people of other genders. As they transition into adulthood, they’ll have learned how to build positive, healthy relationships. Thus, one of the best ways for individuals to understand the issues and pressures on those of other genders is through coed treatment.
Most treatment programs mix evidence-based and holistic therapies to ensure teens have the skills, tools, and education necessary to navigate recovery. Treatment programs can offer both inpatient and outpatient options, depending on specific needs. Also, inpatient and outpatient programs can provide medically supervised detox. Residential inpatient programs usually last for at least 28 days, but long-term residential programs are available. Most inpatient programs understand the benefits of coed treatment programs.
Reach Out for Help Today
Because addiction is such a powerful disease, treatment is necessary to learn how to cope with stress, triggers, and cravings. Learning how to manage your symptoms ensures that you can regain control over your life. If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance abuse problem, contact Destinations for Teens today at 877.466.0620.
National Insitute on Drug Abuse, Sex and gender differences in substance use, January 2020, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/substance-use-in-women