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10 Different Ways Addiction Affects Men and Women



Gender equality is generally a hot topic, and it usually revolves around women having the same rights as men, whether we’re talking about a social, economic, or educational situation.

However, when it comes to addiction and substance abuse, many might be surprised to learn that that on a psychological and biological level, there’s a substantial gender difference.

It’s also fascinating to learn that men and women even react differently when it comes to substance abuse treatment during their recovery. In short, the gender difference is real when it comes to addiction and substance abuse.

This gender difference should be understood by both men and women, especially by those who are thinking of seeking specialized treatment.

We believe that if people knew about the gender difference when it comes to addiction, it would help them understand that they each face different issues with addiction and that it’s perfectly fine.

The Substance abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said, “National data consistently show that gender is an important factor to consider when examining patterns of substance abuse, such as overall prevalence rates and substances of choice.”

Now that’s we’ve covered the fact that such a difference exists, let’s talk about each one and see what they look like and what they mean. On the other hand, if you’re looking for professional help, we strongly advise you to check yourself into rehab for men or for women.

1. Men Are More Prone to Using Illegal Drugs Than Women

According to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health made in 2016, 52.3% of males between ages 12 and older had used illegal drugs.

2. The Most Popular Illicit Drug Among Men is Marijuana

A staggering 48% of males who participated in the NSDUH 2016 survey between the ages of 12 and older said they tried marijuana during their lifetime. Their next drug of choice were hallucinogens with 18%, following by cocaine (17.9%) inhalants (11.6%), methamphetamine (6.5%), and finally heroin (2.5%).

3. The Reasoning Behind Drug Use Differs from Men to Women

Research shows that both men and women have different reasons for abusing drugs and alcohol. For example, men abuse substances or alcohol to feel better about themselves or a situation and to deal with social and behavioral problems. However, women use drugs or alcohol to deal with internal issues such as emotional and psychological problems.

Here are some reasons why women might turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate:

    • Relationship issues or pressure;
    • Childhood trauma;
    • Having parents who also self-medicated or an unstable family environment;
    • Traumatic past or abuse;
    • Suffering from anxiety or depression;
    • Eating disorders.

4. Binge Drinking Is More of a Men’s Sport

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 58% of men had reported consuming alcohol in the past 30 days when the study was done. Moreover, men are twice as likely to binge drink than women. Interestingly enough, 90% of men who binge drink did not develop an alcohol dependency and are not alcoholics.

7. Treatment for Addiction Does not Discriminate Between Men and Women

In short, men and women have equal chances of treating and beating addiction. So, instead of  a difference between genders, we have a similarity, which is always good. Women are able to overcome addiction successfully and so they have equal chances of getting and staying sober, just like men.

All in all, women should not feel exiled or alone, because, despite gender differences in recovery, women can do just as great as men.

5. Men are More Commonly Diagnosed with Alcohol Disorder than Women (AUD)

According to a survey made by NSDUH in 2015, 15.1 million men over the age of 18 were diagnosed with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), which is 6.2% of the population, compared to 5.3 million women, which is 4.2%.

6. Men Have Recorded More Deaths Related to Alcohol

Unfortunately, men don’t just take the lead when it comes to traffic accidents, they’re also twice as likely to be found legally drunk, which translates to having an alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. Research also shows that men are also more likely to die of suicide than women, which also means that they’re usually intoxicated before committing this act.

7. Heavy Alcohol Use Tampers with Male Hormone Production

Abusing alcohol has many different side effects, one of which is a reduced level of male hormones, which can result in impotence and infertility. Also, some men might notice that the hair density on their face and chest is less. So, if you’re thinking of starting a family and you’re having trouble conceiving, quitting alcohol is your best bet and also checking yourself into a men-only rehab.

8. Men Who Abuse Alcohol Have a Higher Chance of Developing Cancer

Unfortunately, research shows that men who have abused alcohol may develop different types of cancers of the liver, esophagus, mouth, and throat. To avoid future medical issues men’s rehabilitation is a great first step.

9. Men Have It Worse with Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms than Women

The Journal of Neuroscience Research mentions that it’s more difficult for men when it comes to alcohol withdrawal; however, women have a harder time managing withdrawal symptoms after quitting smoking. If you’re having trouble quitting alcohol, it would be best to check yourself into alcohol rehab for men.

10. Women Who Have Suffered from Trauma Are more Likely to Develop an Addition

It’s no secret that trauma can cause many forms of addiction for both men and women; however, women are more likely than men to develop an addiction if they have been traumatized in the past.

According to a study, 8 out of 10 women who are treated for substance abuse have had a history of abuse or trauma.


To conclude, both genders are having genetic and biological vulnerabilities when it comes to addiction. There are no winners or losers here. Regardless if you’re a man or a woman, this article might help shed some light on your condition and help you understand why recovery might be more challenging for you. After all, man or woman, the path to recovery is an individual one, and no journey is alike.

If you need help, you can check out this men-only rehabilitation center to get the help you need! Also, if you’re a woman, you can check this website.

Stay healthy and good luck!

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