The Effects of Addiction in Men vs. Women

The Effects of Addiction in Men vs. Women
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For decades, substance use disorder, or addiction, was mainly studied in men. Medical researchers have begun delving into the effects of addiction on women and comparing those findings with illicit drug use in men. While men are more likely than women to use illegal drugs [1], it’s important to understand how those substances affect males and females differently on a physical, emotional, and mental level.

Substance Use Disorder Higher in Men

Research from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration confirms what many Orange County recovery centers would reveal. Men are more likely to engage in illegal drugs. As a result, men are also more likely than women to be taken to the emergency department due to drug use or be a victim of a fatal overdose. [1] Illegal substances are anything illicit by federal law, including marijuana and the improper use of prescription drugs.

While men have higher substance use rates than women, science has shown that men are no more likely to develop substance use disorders than females. That is to say, the male anatomy alone does not have a higher probability of becoming addicted to an illegal substance. [2]

Addiction Vulnerability in Men vs. Women

For women, the use of illegal substances or alcohol use disorder presents itself in higher comorbid disorders than men. Women exhibit higher rates of anxiety, depression, and other stress-related disorders when they receive a substance use disorder diagnosis. [3] These mental health disorders make women more susceptible to cravings and relapse into drug or alcohol use disorder. [4]

In addition, women are also more likely to fall into drug use or relapse due to social cues. [5] Societal pressure plays a bigger role in women’s use of drugs than that of men. To that point, women battling a substance use disorder are also more likely to hold a lower socioeconomic status than males. This can include a lack of education, lower financial earnings, or a violent partner. [6]

Addiction Treatment in Men vs. Women

Personalized drug rehabilitation from a qualified Orange County recovery center is the most effective way to combat the effects of addiction. Understanding that each sex differs in why they rely on harmful behaviors is necessary for any quality drug rehab facility. It’s pertinent that men and women experience unique rehabilitation processes to be successful in long-term sobriety. Clear Life Recovery zeroes in on the specific reasons men and women turn to an addiction treatment center. It’s important to note that even when a substance use disorder patient wants to move toward sobriety, their gender often plays a role in whether treatment is obtained.

Circumstantial barriers are more likely to prevent women from seeking or completing treatment when compared to men. Lifestyle factors, such as financial position, family responsibilities, feelings of shame, and comorbid psychiatric disorders, are among the top reasons women do not seek help from rehabilitation facilities. [6] Research also shows that women are more likely to seek abuse treatment in mental healthcare settings or primary care offices. Women are less likely to receive the treatment needed to heal from substance use disorder. However, medical professionals confirm addiction treatment is as effective in women as in men.

Effects of Addiction and Relapse

Interestingly, although men are more likely to engage in illicit drug use or be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder, women report relapsing more frequently. [7] According to the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University, men and women report relapsing frequently with same-sex friends. Women were more inclined to relapse in the presence of romantic partners. Women reportedly experienced intense cravings for drugs or alcohol at a higher rate between the two sexes than men. It’s believed these intense cravings are most often sparked by stress and social pressures. On the other hand, men show a stronger tendency to relapse when in the direct presence of drugs than feeling pressured or stressed.

Best Orange County Addiction Treatment

Understanding that addiction affects men and women differently is crucial. Clear Life Recovery can help both men and women. Our women’s addiction treatment program was birthed from the understanding that women are more likely to enter drug and alcohol use at a younger age. Women are often judged more severely than men battling the same substance use disorder. For this reason, they are less likely to complete a treatment program.

Our drug rehab specialists work to keep patients as comfortable as possible in the men’s addiction treatment program. Our environment allows patients to openly share their experiences and battle the insidious disease that often goes untreated. If you or a family member seek treatment for substance use disorder or alcohol addiction, contact the experienced clinicians at Clear Life Recovery.