Men’s Addiction Treatment
Although both men and women may consume drugs for different reasons, there are certain gender-related biological and sociocultural issues that have a significant impact on substance abuse in men.
These issues should be addressed in the diagnosis and treatment of addictions. Although men’s addiction treatment may not differ greatly from women’s addiction treatment options, many treatment centers offer specialized men’s and women’s groups which enable them to share their experiences freely with individuals of the same gender.
How Does Drug Addiction Affects Men Differently?
Research results show that men use alcohol and drugs more often and in greater quantities than women, irrespective of age and race.1
According to the official statistics of the US Department of Health and Human Services, there are certain patterns in drug addiction that seem to be related to gender:2
- American men are 2 to 5 times more likely to develop a substance use disorder than women. Although men and women are equally as likely to use substances, men may be more likely to use and abuse them largely because they have more opportunities to do so.
- Drug abuse is more likely to result in severe health issues or overdose deaths for men than for women.
- Men who abuse substances have more criminal justice system involvement than women who abuse substances.
- Men are affected by different kinds of shame and social stigma than women.
What Makes Men Vulnerable to Drug Addiction?
In addition to some biological differences between men and women that play a role in addiction and treatment, gender roles and expectations can also be quite influential.3 For example, due to cultural expectations or peer pressure, men are expected to engage in certain rituals or rites of passage, which in many cases involve alcohol.
Another risk factor for men is that traditional masculine roles may hinder men from seeking help for both physical and emotional problems. Many men find it hard to talk about feelings. In such situations, they may resort to drug consumption so as to get instant relief and handle difficult emotions.4
These factors are taken into account when designing effective men’s addiction treatment plans. It is of vital importance to tackle these issues in order to overcome addiction.
What Are The Stages of Drug Addiction In Men?
Men and women may go through different experiences during the stages of addiction5.
In the initial acquisition stage, men can sometimes engage in more risky behaviors than women do.5
However, the escalation of addiction, which is the second stage, seems to be slower in men than in women. It is also a tendency for men to stabilize at lower doses of drug usage than women during the maintenance stage.
When it comes to the withdrawal stage, it has been evidenced that in cases of alcoholism men tend to experience stronger symptoms than women. Finally, relapse rates also tend to differ across genders in the final stage. Men are less likely to relapse and their periods of abstinence are generally longer.6
Unsure where to start? Take Our Substance Abuse Self-Assessment
“Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. This evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are designed to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result. Please be aware that this evaluation is not a substitute for advice from a medical doctor.”