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Barriers Men Face in Addiction Treatment

Mar 3, 2021

Some barriers to substance use treatment, such as no local programs, can affect anyone trying to get sober, but men also face some barriers specific to their gender. Without recognizing these obstacles, men in need of recovery support may continue drug or alcohol use for years and create even more risks for themselves. Today, let’s name some of the most common treatment roadblocks and offer helpful ways to get around them.

Men face many barriers to seeking treatment and staying engaged once in a program. Those obstacles can come from a misguided cultural perception that men who admit they need help are somehow weak. Men who are breadwinners may also feel spending time in treatment might create financial difficulties for their families. Supporting a man with substance use disorders can begin with helping him find suitable treatment in his local area and remaining involved in his recovery process during a program and after it ends.

What barriers do men face in accessing treatment?

Many barriers can keep men from seeking treatment. The perception that admitting they have a drinking or drug problem is a cultural barrier. They may be overly focused on how their friends and family will see them if they start treatment. Asking for help for some men may be perceived as a weakness. If they’re the breadwinner in their family, taking time off to focus on recovery may seem like too much of a financial sacrifice.

What barriers do men face once in treatment?

Staying engaged in a program is a barrier when men don’t commit to learning the skills they need to sustain a recovery. If they look at just getting to the end date, they miss practicing the skills they need after treatment. They also may neglect to advocate for themselves in treatment. That can show up as not openly sharing what challenges they had before treatment. A lack of authentic communication with addiction specialists and peers in a program may disrupt their ability to see a program as an important first step in solving a problem.

What other gender-specific barriers to recovery do men face?

Romantic relationships, even supportive ones, can seem like a helpful thing for a man in recovery. But, how he sees that relationship can affect his commitment to the work needed to stay sober after a program ends. Men may prioritize a developing relationship over their self-care. They may avoid spending time in meetings that take them away from a romantic partner. They may tell their partner how they’ve conquered addiction and don’t need the extra time and tools to keep it going. Some men may begin to hide drinking or drug use to keep up the appearance of sobriety.

How does mental health become a barrier to treatment?

Men may feel a certain stigma about admitting that a mental health issue may be contributing to their drinking or drug use. They may try to mask the symptoms of depression or anxiety. The impact of toxic masculinity may have taught them to “deal” with problems by just focusing on something else. These men have not yet discovered the connection between their substance use and mental health.

What kind of support do men need to overcome barriers to treatment?

The support of family members and friends is valuable to anyone beginning treatment. For men who have resisted seeking help, support can begin by guiding them to resources available in their area. The support itself can vary from person to person. Some people may prefer to be more involved while others prefer to make the support more specific. Offering to participate in family therapy sessions is one kind of ongoing support. A specific kind of support may involve setting up substance-free activities to do together once the person is out of treatment.


Origins Recovery Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 844-232-3833.

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