There are some gender-neutral barriers to seeking and pursuing substance abuse treatment, such as a lack of local programs, but there are also barriers that are specific to men and their efforts. Men who do not recognize these barriers and limitations may be more likely to continue their pattern of drug or alcohol abuse.
Men face many barriers concerning seeking treatment and staying focused on the recovery process once they are engaged. These obstacles can stem from antiquated cultural perceptions and traditions that men who admit their weaknesses and ask for help should be shunned and shamed. Men may also feel that time spent in treatment reduced time they could better spend on providing for their families and building their relationships.
Supporting a man who is willing to undergo treatment is a major step toward his recovery process and will allow him to live a healthier life afterward while maintaining sobriety. At Spero Recovery Center, this is exactly what we do. We offer support in our residential men’s recovery program for addiction to help men recover and stay sober.
What Barriers do Men Face in Getting Treatment for Addiction?
Many barriers can prevent men from seeking treatment. Social stigma, masculinity, previous trauma, and many other issues can build up in a man’s life and imbue him with the feeling that seeking treatment or asking for help would be a failing on his part.
Other barriers that can prevent a man from seeking treatment are:
- Financial/Cost: Many men lack insurance or cannot afford the associated treatment costs. Spero Recovery Center is able to provide high-quality care at a low cost due to accepting cash payments rather than making our residents go through insurance companies.
- Geographic Location: Men who live in very remote or rural areas where treatment centers are scant face challenges with traveling long distances regularly to receive care, especially with work considerations or family obligations.
- Stigma: Many men fear judgment, discrimination, or being ostracized by their family, friends, or community if they pursue substance abuse treatment.
- Lack of Perceived Need: Some men feel that they are capable of handling their addiction on their own and do not need outside help.
- Privacy Concerns: Many men are reluctant to be open with their personal information or life experiences with medical professionals or strangers. These men may worry about legal repercussions or confidentiality breaches if they’re too expressive about their behaviors or substance abuse history.
What Barriers Do Men Face Once in Treatment?
Men who focus on the end date of the treatment, rather than developing the skills needed to maintain sobriety after treatment create barriers against their own recovery. This can cause them to be closed off, completely unwilling to advocate for themselves or share their weaknesses during therapy sessions. This will directly prevent the 12-step program from helping them.
Other barriers men can face once they are undergoing recovery treatment are as follows.
Many men feel oppressive pressure from family and society to conform to cultural values which may prohibit seeking help for substance use disorders. Some cultures view addictions and substance use disorders as a sign of weakness, immorality, and a source of great shame. Other cultures discourage men from expressing feelings, asking for assistance, or admitting any vulnerabilities.
Many men struggling with substance abuse, dependencies, and addictions have suffered past trauma, such as sexual, emotional, or physical abuse, neglect, violence, or loss. Trauma leaves long-lasting effects on a man’s physical and mental health, such as anxiety, depression, chronic pain, substance use disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Despite this, many men may not recognize or may choose to ignore the impact of trauma in their life, or may let stigmas prevent them from addressing or talking about it. Trauma can lead to the development of trust issues, unhealthy relationships, an inability to cope with stress, and struggles with regulating emotions.
Toxic masculinity through societal expectations and media have ingrained certain gender roles in men that influence their every behavior and thought. This can negatively impact a man’s willingness to seek help and enter recovery treatment. Many men may feel that they are required to only show strength, resilience, self-reliance, and control at all times.
Many men entering substance abuse treatment have family issues that can adversely affect their rehabilitation process. For example, some men may have family members that do not support their recovery efforts, look down on them, or have other family members who also suffer from alcohol or substance use disorders.
Men may also prioritize their familial obligations and needs over their own needs and goals.
What Gender-Specific Barriers to Treatment for Substance Abuse Do Men Face?
Romantic relationships may seem like helpful support systems for men going through recovery treatment, but how that man perceives his relationship can affect his resolution to complete recovery.
Men may prioritize their developing relationship over their self-care and may avoid activities and meetings that pull them away from their romantic partner. They may lie to their partner that they’ve completed their addiction treatment and conquered recovery and do not need to spend more resources or time to keep it going. These men can turn to hide their drinking or drug use to paint a facade of sobriety to their partner.
How Can Mental Health Develop a Barrier to Treatment?
Some men may feel some type of way about admitting that they may have a mental health issue that could be contributing to their continual alcohol and/or drug use. These men may also try to hide any symptoms of depression or anxiety.
The influence of toxic masculinity may have taught these men to deal with problems by holding them inside, ignoring them, and focusing on other distracting activities. These men may be yet to see the connection between their mental health issues and their drinking problem.
What Kind of Support Do Men Need to Overcome Barriers to Treatment?
Support from close friends and family is important for any man beginning recovery treatments. This support can begin by guiding men who may be resistant to locally available resources. Some men may prefer specific modes of support, while others may prefer to be more involved. Participation in family therapy is a more involved form of support while setting up sober activities to do together once treatment is completed is an example of specific support.
Many resources exist to aid men with overcoming these barriers and accessing the help and treatment they need. For example:
- Telehealth. Telehealth uses technology to dispatch health care services remotely. This can be through video calls, phone calls, or online platforms. Telehealth offers increased convenience and flexibility for men who have tight schedules and men who may live far from easy access to treatment facilities.
- Self-Help Groups. Self-help groups are voluntary congregations of people who share a common problem and reinforce each other during recovery. These groups tend to be widely available, easily accessible, free to join and provide a support base for men seeking treatment for alcohol and substance abuse.
- Education and Awareness. Education and Awareness crusades work at reducing the misinformation and stigma surrounding substance abuse and treatment among men. Education and Awareness can help men recognize the signs, effects, and symptoms of drug/alcohol abuse and encourage them to look for help.
- Culturally Responsive Treatment. This treatment type proceeds while keeping the beliefs, cultural backgrounds, traditions, values, and preferences of each client. Culturally Responsive Treatment makes men feel more accepted, respected, comfortable, and understood during treatment.
- Trauma-Informed Care. This type of care focuses on the presence and effects of abuse and trauma in men’s lives. Trauma-Informed care can help men heal from past trauma in their lives and manage the effects it has on their recovery from substance abuse.
- Gender-Specific Treatment. This type of treatment focuses on the specific needs and problems that men may face because of their gender roles and identity. Gender-specific treatment works at helping men recognize and explore the negative stereotypes of gender roles and identities in their recovery from substance abuse.
Let Spero Recovery Center Help You Overcome Barriers to Treatment.
Spero Recovery Center specializes in the 12-step program combined with residential treatment and sober living facilities to help combat addictions and aid recovery from substance use disorders. We will meet you where you are. No one is out of reach. If you require further therapeutic services, we are more than willing to point you in the right direction.
Contact us today to ask about admissions or ask us any questions you feel like. We are here to help you.