The term “evidence based” is often used by treatment programs to describe their treatment approaches, but what does that really mean, and how does it impact the care and treatment your child receives at Daytop New Jersey specifically? This blog will highlight one such evidence-based practice recently implemented in Daytop New Jersey’s adolescent residential programs – gender specific treatment. Simply, gender specific treatment recognizes the unique needs that women and men have in addressing and treating their substance use, and the value in customizing treatment for each.
The Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Alan Leshner says “Through this (ongoing) research, we are learning more and more about differences between women and men in the origins of drug abuse, the consequences of drug abuse and addiction, and the factors that influence drug abuse relapse and recovery”. As a result, drug treatment programs are changing their programming from traditional co-ed environments to gender-specific environments. Why?
We are learning that men and women are impacted differently by mental health challenges and there are differences in why and the way in which men and women struggle with alcohol and/or drug abuse. What matters to men and women in treatment also varies as does the after-care and support services. An article published by the National Institute of Health’s Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) articulates these many differences very well.
But what about teenagers? Do they face similar gender specific differences? The research suggests yes, they do. One such article published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review discusses many of the same needs that teenage girls have specific to their alcohol or drug use in comparison to boys.
What does it look like in practice?
In a gender specific treatment environment, kids can focus on themselves and worry less about how they appear to members of the opposite sex, thus helping them be more authentic. In coed groups, teens tend not be as comfortable sharing their fears and self-esteem issues that underlie self-destructive behaviors.
Gender specific treatment also provides a supportive environment for teens to build healthy same-sex relationships, without the jealousies, competition and posturing that often occurs when teenage boys and girls are in mixed social groups.
In implementing gender-specific treatment, Daytop New Jersey remains progressive in its mission to provide the most effective treatment to its clients.