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How Gender Affects Addiction

A man and a woman sitting back to back, representing how gender affects addiction

You may wonder how gender affects addiction. While nobody is immune to substance misuse, it does affect genders differently. If you or a loved one would like information about addiction differences between men, women, and other genders, contact Vertava Health at 844.470.0410. We have both a men’s rehab program and a women’s rehab program.

How Gender Affects Addiction

Multiple studies have confirmed the fact that men are more likely to experiment with drugs and use them at a higher rate than women. By contrast, women start using drugs at a much lower rate than men.

When it comes to addiction, men are more likely to become addicted than women. In fact, the research found that the male gender increases the odds of developing a substance use disorder by 1.5 to 2 times as compared to women. Additionally, men have more difficulty in treatment and tend to be more resistant to change.

On the other hand, women are more likely than men to become addicted faster and at lower doses of drugs. They also have higher rates of relapse than men. Women’s reasons for using drugs also differ from men’s. They are more likely to use substances to cope with emotional pain and to self-medicate for mental health issues.

Psychological Reasons For The Differences

Beyond the biological differences for addiction in gender lie more complex psychological concerns. For example, men have been shown to use drugs as either a “thrill-seeking” concept or even to celebrate situations in which they feel content or happy. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to use drugs as an escape from problems, such as physical or emotional abuse, poverty, and more.

Drug addiction is not perceived fondly by society, but the perception veers wildly between men and women. Men who are suffering from addiction are often perceived as suffering from a disease or experiencing a major health problem. By contrast, women are often perceived as “weak” or immoral when suffering from the same addiction. A large part of that difference lies in the different gender roles prescribed by society. Women are often perceived to be the emotional and moral center of a family.

Other Addiction Differences Between Men and Women

In addition to the differences in addiction, there are various other gender-based differences:

  • Men tend to be more attracted to stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, while women are more likely to use depressants, such as alcohol or sedatives.
  • Men tend to have shorter treatment stays than women.
  • Women are more likely to be affected by trauma and experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Women tend to have more severe substance addictions, with higher overdose rates and health implications.

Gender differences in addiction can be challenging to confront and acknowledge, but it’s important to remember that addiction is a chronic illness, regardless of gender. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance misuse, the most crucial step is to reach out for help.

Addiction and the LGBTQ Community

The LQBTQ community is another group with higher levels of addiction than the general population. Studies show that queer and transgender individuals are more likely to misuse drugs and alcohol than their heterosexual counterparts. The reasons behind such disparities range from discrimination, social stigma, or even feeling like they don’t fit in with society. If you’re part of the LGBTQ community and struggling with addiction, it’s important to seek help.

Breaking the Cycle of Addiction at Vertava Health

Regardless of gender, addiction affects us all. If you’re ready to take the first step towards sobriety and break the cycle, we are here to help. Please contact Vertava Health at 844.470.0410 to learn about your treatment options. We can help you attain the life you deserve.