As the demand for efficient addiction support groups arises, Clearbrook Treatment Centers are constantly evaluating and adjusting our substance abuse services to ensure that our patients receive individualized and comprehensive care. Among our various addiction therapy programs is our gender-specific group therapy. Men and women experience many things in life differently, including substance use disorders. By offering gender-specific groups, we ensure that clients are offered a safe space where they can speak freely with others who understand their struggles.  

Gender Differences in Addiction and Recovery  

For decades, addiction research has focused greatly on drug and alcohol abuse in men. For a while, men were the only research participants, while the idea of substance abuse in women wasn’t even considered.  

It wasn’t until the 1990s that United States organizations established requirements to include women as study participants in addiction research. Since then, addiction treatment services have been adapted to suit both men and women.  

Since the inclusion of women in addiction research, gender differences in addiction have also been discovered. For instance, men are more likely to abuse illicit drugs and alcohol than women. One 2013 study found that substance use disorders are twice as common among men than they are in women, 10.8% versus 5.8%, respectively.1 

On the other hand, women are more likely to experience cravings, relapse, emergency room visits, and fatal overdoses.2,3 These gender differences in drug abuse are believed to stem from a combination of biological and sociological factors, such as childcare responsibilities, substance abuse stigma, relationship dynamics, and more.  

When it comes to biological factors – such as hormone production – testosterone and estrogen production, as well as average body mass and composition, can play a factor in how substance abuse impacts men and women. What’s more, common risk factors like family history of drug use or alcoholism and underlying mental illness can increase the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder. Considering the many differences in addiction among men and women, our men’s and women’s recovery groups offer clients the individualized support they require to overcome their unique struggles.  

Addiction Treatment for Men and Women  

Gender differences in addiction are centered on susceptibility, impact, recovery, and relapse risk. In terms of susceptibility, while men are more likely to develop an addiction and abuse drugs or alcohol because of peer pressure, women are more likely to transition from dependence to addiction at a more rapid rate. Women are also more likely to use drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication, especially substances like heroin, meth, and cocaine. 

Regarding addiction recovery, men are more likely to stabilize their drug use at lower doses than women but are also more likely to experience intense alcohol withdrawal. However, women are more likely to experience intense cravings and relapse more often.  

In addition to the gender differences in addiction recovery, differences in social and biological factors can make it difficult for men to open up in front of women and vice versa. This level of discomfort can lead to a lack of transparency and communication during gender-specific group therapy sessions that may be crucial to their overall development in recovery.  

Some benefits of our gender group topics and sessions include:  

  • Gender-unique therapy focuses on physiological, emotional, and relational matters. 
  • Elevated support as gender-specific treatment supports a sense of trust and bonding among fellow same-sex patients. 
  • Lessened pressure and disturbances between male and female clients. 
  • Supportive gender group topics encourage open discussion about social and cultural tensions that can result in substance abuse. 

Because men’s and women’s issues in substance abuse recovery vary, it’s crucial to offer clients treatment that caters to their needs and makes them feel as comfortable as possible. To accomplish this, our drug rehab in Pennsylvania offers gender-specific groups for addiction where clients have the floor to speak openly with counselors alongside others of their gender who understand their struggles.  

LGBTQIA+ Rehab Program  

Members of the LGBTQIA+ community often face social stigma, discrimination, and other challenges not experienced by those of other gender-related communities. Members of the queer community also face an increased risk of harassment and violence. Resolutely, sexual minorities are more likely to suffer from mental illness and substance use disorders.4  

Our Pennsylvania rehab offers LGBTQIA+ addiction treatment to help members of this community achieve not only sobriety but also heal psychological and emotional wounds caused by addiction and other struggles they’ve faced. Services offered in this program include:  

Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment  

Our gender therapy groups at our facility also offer addiction treatment in Pennsylvania for all types of substance use disorders, as well as medically assisted detox, family therapy, aftercare services, and more.  


For more information about our addiction services, contact Clearbrook Treatment Centers today.  



  1. SAMHSA – Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings 
  2. NIH – Comparing levels of cocaine cue reactivity in male and female outpatients 
  3. NIH – Alcohol cue reactivity and mood induction in male and female alcoholics 
  4. NIH – Group Process in the single-gender Women’s Recovery Group compared with mixed-gender Group Drug Counseling 


Related Reading: 

Things to Avoid in Your First Year of Sobriety  

Battling Sobriety Fatigue & Early Sobriety Exhaustion