Menu Close

Healing, Strengthening, and Advancing the Lives of LGBTQ People Seeking Recovery

Gender Differences in Addiction and Recovery

close up image of mens and womens hands from all ages and races clasped together to showcase gender differences in addiction and recovery

Addiction has wide-ranging and varied negative impacts on both men and women. How each gender experiences addiction and recovery is often distinct. Deeper variations occur between people within each gender. Yet the broad categories contain enough gender differences in addiction and recovery that are worth understanding on their own. As a result, substance abuse treatment for men versus treatment for women is necessarily different. Any treatment facility that espouses the view that gender differences in addiction and recovery do not matter should be avoided.

Learn more about LGBTQ addiction treatment programs offered by La Fuente Hollywood when you call 888.903.9898.

Gender Differences in Addiction and Recovery

Recognizing gender differences in addiction and recovery is a natural piece to crafting comprehensive, individualized treatment plans. How each gender experiences addiction and recovery is outlined below.


Biology is one of the clearest demarcations between men and women in addiction recovery. This plays out in multiple ways. One example is related to alcohol abuse and addiction. Compared to men, women who have problems with substance misuse related to alcohol develop dependence faster and from drinking less than men. Women are also more likely to develop some of the negative health impacts stemming from substance abuse.

Psychology is another realm where differences are stark and noticeable. Women more often experience co-occurring disorders than men. This means they have a mental health disorder at the same time as a substance abuse disorder. The root causes behind addiction among women are yet another illustration of how genders differ. Histories of abuse or interpersonal violence often influence addiction in women.


Substance abuse treatment for men must take two main facts into account: men use drugs more frequently and in higher doses than women. Recent estimates put the number of men who struggle with substance abuse at twice the rate of women who struggle with substance abuse.

The societal stigma surrounding addiction affects both genders. For men, this stigma often makes them less likely to seek treatment. Even once in treatment, men often struggle more to express their emotions and work through past emotional trauma that may be at the root of their substance abuse disorder.

Importance of Gender-Specific Programming

Substance abuse treatment for men and women is important because the genders experience addiction differently. Many treatment providers have created gender-specific treatments to meet the precise needs of men and women. Gender-specific treatment comes with a variety of benefits, including:

  • Deeper specialization
  • Fewer distractions for members of both sexes
  • Peer support
  • Better outcomes
  • More time in treatment for gender-specific issues

Difference Between Treatment and Recovery

Just like it is essential to recognize the gender differences in addiction and recovery, it is also crucial to note the difference between treatment and recovery. Many people assume these words in relation to addiction mean the same thing. While they often overlap, each is its own thing. Both are necessary for comprehensive healing from addiction.

Put simply, treatment is defined as any professional services someone receives to medically mitigate addiction. This could include:

  • Attending detox
  • Receiving medication-assisted treatment
  • Receiving behavioral therapy

Meanwhile, recovery is a larger topic that encompasses the ongoing work of getting and staying sober. The work of recovery typically involves attending a support group, receiving life skills coaching, or going to family therapy.

Again, treatment and recovery should overlap. But just because you or someone you love receives treatment for addiction does not mean the long-term recovery work is being given the same attention. Producing lasting results requires treatment and recovery working in tandem.

Discover Healing at La Fuente Hollywood

Are you in need of inclusive, high-quality addiction treatment and recovery? Contact 888.903.9898 to learn more about how La Fuente Hollywood approaches addiction treatment and recovery, specifically for the LGBTQ community.