Addiction can be very different for men and women.
Addiction research has for many years examined alcohol and drugs effect on males.
The only people that participated in addiction studies were men.
This exclusionary medical research bias initially reflected some issues faced by women in addiction.
But, several organizations in the U.S instituted requirements for women’s exclusion as participants in the studies in the 1990s.
Since this inclusion, research has revealed several differences in women’s and men’s addiction.
It’s these differences that led to the establishment of AddictionResource.com rehab for men and women.
And, these differences come from sociological and biological differences between men and women.
Today, many researchers explain gender variations as a consequence of the effect society has on individuals.
This includes stigma around addiction, childcare responsibilities, and relationship dynamics.
Additionally, women and men have biological differences that revolve primarily around estrogen and testosterone production.
They are also associated with average body composition and size.
All these factors make the abused substances affect the body differently.
Notable Differences in Addiction between Men and Women
According to the Harvard Medical School, notable differences when it comes to addiction between women and men center on recovery, susceptibility, and risk for relapse.
Men have higher susceptibility when it comes to addiction than women.
Men are also more likely to engage in substance abuse trying to be accepted in a group or because of peer pressure.
On the other hand, women are highly likely to move from substance abuse to dependence and eventually addiction.
What’s more, women do this faster than men.
Additionally, women have higher chances of using illicit substances to self-medicate than men.
Men have higher chances of stabilizing substance abuse than women and at lower doses.
What’s more, men are likely to suffer more intense withdrawal symptoms for alcohol than women.
Females have higher chances of suffering the side effects of substance abuse like liver damage than women.
Female users also have higher chances of overdosing than males.
Risk for Relapse
After undergoing treatment in a men-only rehabilitation center, males are less likely to relapse.
That is, they have longer abstinence periods.
On the other hand, women are likely to relapse and face more intense cravings.
According to an NCBI report, young adults between the age of 18 and 25 years are likely to misuse prescription tranquilizers, sedatives, and pain relievers than youth aged between 12 and 17 years, as well as, adults between the age of 26 years and above.
Girls aged between 12 and 17 years are likely to abuse all prescription stimulants and opioids than boys in this age bracket.
Women and men have historically adhered to cultural norms in terms of depressant use.
Compared to women, men have higher chances of abusing alcohol.
Women, on the other hand, are more likely to abuse prescription opioids or pills because they have higher chances of having their doctors prescribe them.
But, this gender gap has since recently been bridged.
More women are nowadays drinking at the same levels as men.
And more men are misusing opioids when compared to women.
Most patients in men’s drug rehab facilities are battling opioid addiction.
But, women have higher pain sensitivity than men.
They also have higher chances of experiencing chronic pain than men.
As such, women have higher chances of misusing synthetic and prescription opioids to self-medicate for anxiety and pain.
Women are also more likely to develop opioids dependence faster because of their brain’s heightened dopamine reaction.
Nevertheless, opioids misuse is higher in men than in women.
And, more men experience fatal overdoses due to abuse than women.
In most cases, men-only rehab involves alcoholics.
That’s because alcohol is the most common addictive substance that is abused in most places.
About 20% of males suffer from alcohol use disorder.
Only between 7 and 12% of females suffer alcohol use disorder.
Nevertheless, the drinking habits of women are slowly catching up with those of men.
What’s more, women have higher chances of developing alcohol dependency at lower levels of drinking than men.
And, women suffer the consequences of alcohol abuse like rape, homicide, and sexual assault more than men.
Both men and women are less or more equally likely to engage in stimulant abuse.
However, women start abusing stimulants earlier than men in terms of age.
When it comes to treatment, women have higher chances of completing addiction treatment.
The Bottom Line
Men and women have variations when it comes to drug addiction.
This explains why women and men-only rehab programs exist.
With a program that addresses gender-specific issues of addiction, a person can recover and lead a sober, healthier life.