Author: Sonia Tagliareni
Sonia Tagliareni is a writer and researcher for DrugRehab.com. She started her professional writing career in 2012 and has written for the finance, engineering, lifestyle and entertainment industry. Sonia holds a bachelor’s degree from the Florida Institute of Technology.
Addiction in Men vs. Women: How Gender Can Affect Substance Abuse
Men and women face unique issues when it comes to substance abuse. Men are more susceptible to substance use, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. However, women have the same potential to become addicted and may be more vulnerable to cravings and relapses.
An article published on the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s website revealed that women tend to develop substance use disorders faster than men and suffer from more substance-related health consequences than their male counterparts.
Men and women differ in their substance use habits. NIDA wrote that women who use heroin are typically younger and less likely than men to inject the drug. They also use the drug in smaller quantities and for a shorter period of time. Female heroin users are more likely to be influenced into heroin use by their sexual partners.
Studies show that women experience more chronic pain than men, which might explain why women of reproductive age have a high rate of prescription opioid use. According to NIDA, studies showed that women were prone to misusing prescription drugs to self-medicate for anxiety or relieve tension.
Alcohol metabolizes differently in men and women because of differences in gastric tissue activity. If a woman drinks the same amount of alcohol as a man, she will most likely have a higher blood alcohol concentration. This results in women being more vulnerable to intoxication from smaller amounts of alcohol.
In its 2014 Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) report, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revealed that in 2011, 66.9 percent of males sought substance abuse treatment, as compared to 33.1 females.
Women who use drugs often face unique obstacles, such as the lack of childcare during a rehab stay, that may deter them from looking for treatment. Some pregnant women fear that seeking treatment will bring them legal or social problems.
Green, C.A. (n.d.). Gender and Use of Substance Abuse Treatment Services. Retrieved from http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh291/55-62.htm