Addressing the Specific Behavioral Health Needs of Men

Addressing the Specific Behavioral Health Needs of Men


Addressing the Specific Behavioral Health Needs of Men

The physical, psychological, social, and spiritual effects of substance use and abuse on men can be quite different from the effects on women, and those differences have implications for treatment in behavioral health settings.

Men are also affected by social and cultural forces in different ways than women, and physical differences between the genders influence substance use and recovery as well.

Historically, standard behavioral health services for substance abuse have been designed with male clients in mind. As the number of women presenting for substance abuse services increased, clinicians began to understand that women had different treatment needs than men, related to differences in their patterns of substance use and their perceptions of both the problem of substance abuse and its treatment.

Researchers began to investigate how standard substance abuse treatment in a variety of behavioral health settings can be altered to improve outcomes for women. In the process, they have gained insight into how men’s and women’s responses to substance abuse and substance abuse treatment differ.

These insights can also improve treatment for men. New research in the areas of gender studies and men’s studies can help providers understand why men abuse substances and how to address masculine values in treatment.

Why Are Men at Greater Risk for Substance Abuse?

Men in America today may have advantages that women lack.  However, in spite of these advantages, men die at a younger age on average than women; men are also more likely than women to have a substance use disorder, to be incarcerated, to be homeless as adults, to die of suicide, and to be victims of violent crime.

Conversely, men are less likely than women to seek medical help or behavioral health counseling for any of the problems they face. These significant problems, combined with men’s tendency to avoid addressing them, call for a response from behavioral health treatment providers.

It is the consensus panel’s hope that this TIP will begin to focus provider’s’ and researchers’ attention on the diverse problems that men with substance use disorder’s face and to serve as both an introduction to the topic and a summary of what is known regarding the subject to date.

The TIP represents the view of the consensus panel that a clear link exists between the social and cultural environment within which many boys are raised and the difficulty that many men have in seeking help from others.

Pressures on men and boys can stem from expectations to conform to society’s view of the ideal man—successful, accomplished, independent, and self-sufficient—which sometimes conflicts with a man’s need to seek help.

Additionally, when men do need help, such as in substance abuse treatment or other behavioral health services, negative consequences may arise, such as stress, anxiety, shame, rejection, low self-esteem, depression, and other mental problems that have been sedated or disguised by the substance use. These secondary effects can complicate the efforts of many men to seek help for their behavioral health needs.

In recent years, there has been increased awareness of the extent of women’s substance abuse, but men in the United States are two to five times more likely to develop a substance use disorder than women (depending on the study). Research shows men are less likely to seek help for medical or behavioral health problems; even so, the majority of clients entering substance abuse treatment are male.

Much of this is premised on the understanding that stereotypes of masculine behavior shape men’s attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors (including those related to substance use and abuse). These socially defined concepts of masculinity push men in our culture to restrict their emotional responsiveness, be more competitive, be more aggressive, and be self-reliant.

Masculine roles may also hinder some men from seeking needed treatment for a variety of health, and particularly behavioral health, concerns, including those related to mental illness and substance abuse.

Concepts of masculinity affect different men to different degrees, but no man is unaffected by them or by the ways in which proper masculine behavior is defined at a societal level.

Not all effects of masculine ideologies are negative, however, and traditional masculine values can be helpful or beneficial. Also, although there are certain masculine values that are dominant in contemporary American culture and fairly common across cultures, some cultures may define masculinity differently. Masculine values may also differ according to the role a man is filling (e.g., father, brother, friend).

Read Much More Inside…

Download Your eBook Now 245 Pages on

Addressing the Specific Behavioral Health Needs of Men $27

Click on the Blue Button Below for Instant Access!

Confirm Subscription

Just use your name and valid email address – I will never sell or share your email address with anyone. NeverYou may unsubscribe anytime. I hate spam just as much as you do.

Regards, Coyalita

Behavioral Health Rehabilitative Specialist & Addiction Counselor Copyright © 2021-2023 All Rights Reserved Privacy PolicyEarnings DisclaimerTerms of UseContact Us

About Author

Share on Social Media