Different genders experience unique challenges when undergoing addiction recovery. Men, in particular, experience many stigmas and societal pressures that impact their willingness to seek support or process emotions.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the unique challenges men face in addiction recovery — and how to overcome them.
The Social Stigma Surrounding Addiction in Men
Men facing addiction recovery can face significant social stigma, which can be especially difficult to navigate due to societal norms surrounding masculinity.
For many men, admitting they have a problem with addiction can be seen as a sign of weakness and can cause feelings of shame and guilt. This stigma can be further compounded by a belief that men should be able to handle their emotions and problems without seeking help.
Due to these societal stigmas, men may be less likely to seek treatment for addiction or may attempt to hide their struggles from others. In fact, while men experience higher rates of substance abuse than women, they are less likely to seek recovery and mental health support.
It’s time to break down the stigmas surrounding men’s mental health and addiction support and teach society that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Addressing the Root Causes of Addiction in Men
There’s no singular cause of addiction, but rather, many underlying factors contribute to the development of substance use as an unhealthy coping mechanism.
When men enroll in programs like residential care at Recovery Life Group, addressing the contributing factors to the patient’s addiction is an important part of the process. This is typically accomplished through professional counseling sessions.
Mental health disorders like PTSD, depression, and anxiety can contribute to the development of addictions over time. The working theory is that men face higher rates of addiction because there’s a long-standing culture of repression related to societal perceptions of masculinity.
While diving into those emotions and underlying traumas that may feel uncomfortable, it’s important to keep an open mind when navigating recovery.
The Importance of Building a Support Network
Building a support network is an essential part of addiction recovery, especially for men. Connecting with other men in recovery through support groups and therapy can provide a sense of community and understanding that is difficult to find elsewhere.
It’s important to remember that a negative inner dialogue and feelings of shame and guilt are common for men in addiction recovery. However, connecting with others who understand and can provide support can help to overcome these feelings and build a sense of hope and resilience.
Many men also find it challenging to open up and seek emotional support from their partners. Reaching out to a couples or family counselor with experience in addiction and recovery can help men create an open dialogue with their spouse and improve their chances of success in treatment.
Incorporating Physical Activity
Many men find strength training an excellent source of focus and stress relief when facing addiction recovery. In addition to anecdotal evidence from notable athletes like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, there’s also scientific evidence to show the positive impacts of strength training during recovery.
Consider incorporating physical exercise and strength sports into your ongoing recovery and support plan. Of course, this approach should support a professionally-led rehabilitation program, not replace it.
There’s still plenty of work to be done to break the stigmas surrounding men and addiction recovery. Yet, by focusing on the path ahead and learning to build healthy coping skills, men can overcome these unique challenges.
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