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Darth Vader’s Guide To Men’s Addiction Treatment

October 7, 2015 - , , , - 0 Comments

As we enter the fall holiday movie season, fans are counting the days until the newest Star Wars movie hits the big screen and are snatching related products off of store shelves. And while the franchise’s Dark Lord of the Sith might not be its most emphatic character, there’s no denying that he’s effective, practical, and honest. And while his actions may seem evil to many, at heart he’s motivated by love for his family. So perhaps Lord Vader with his tough love is that galaxy far, far away’s best advocate for drug addiction treatment. Men are almost twice as likely as women to suffer from alcohol and substance abuse in their lifetimes. While men suffer fewer barriers that women in entering treatment, once there they seem to struggle more with therapy and relapse issues. Though it may not always seem it, the Force is clearly with those who choose to undergo treatment. So to get men started on the path to recovery, Darth Vader (and recovery specialists) have some advice.

Stick With Your Own “Kind” In Therapy

Studies have shown that gender specific addiction treatment can be more productive than co-educational treatment for several reasons. Patients in such treatment settings experience fewer “distractions” in same sex therapy sessions. In addition to distractions of the romantic kind, the tendency of female patients to “shelter” male ones in therapy means that these men can avoid dealing with difficult issues that need to be a part of therapy.

There can be personal reasons at the heart of an addiction such as sexual abuse or orientation. It is easier for some patients, especially men, to discuss such personal issues in the company of other men, leading to more effective therapy. And while all treatment facilities are highly protective of patients’ personal information, same-gender facilities are especially so, increasing treatment comfort levels.

Beware the Light Side

What? Isn’t being positive and confident an important part of effective recovery? It certainly is, but ironically it can also steer some male recovering addicts into relapse. Why? Researchers think it has to do with the very different ways in which men and women approach not only therapy, but self control. While males tend to make less impulsive drug decisions than women, they also tend to think that they’re better at avoiding temptation than they actually are. Men’s addiction treatment thus focuses on therapies based on twelve step programs that help men recognize triggers like over-confidence that might lead to a relapse.

The Force Is Strong With Family

Because men play a large part in families both as bread winners and as support services, treatment is more effective when men are not isolated from them. Treatment facilities should be selected that allow for easy visiting access, as well as policies that permit frequent written and telephone contact, when appropriate.

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