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What is the Difference Between Men and Women Regarding Addiction?


boy and girl

Addiction doesn’t discriminate – no matter your race, ethnicity, origin, income, marital status, and more – substance abuse can creep in anyone’s life. The dangers of addiction are the same for everyone; it can affect merely every aspect of a person’s life. Work deadlines can suffer, relationship problems can appear, health can decline, finances can seize, and more. Although the outcomes are relatively the same, there are some key differences between men and women when it comes to addiction.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) claims that men are more likely to use all types of illicit drugs than women. Men have higher rates of dependence or use of illicit drugs than women, meaning they are more likely to use illegal drugs or misuse prescription drugs. However, this doesn’t mean that women are safe from addiction. In fact, women are just as likely as men to become addicted, and they may be more susceptible to cravings and relapse should they choose to enter rehabilitation for recovery. NIDA also states that African-American women and American Indian/Alaska Native women are at increased risk than other races and ethnicities for being victims of rape, physical violence, and being stalked by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Other studies have shown that women transition from casual substance use to addiction quicker than men, and are more reactive to stimuli that could trigger them to relapse. A 2014 study titled “Sex Differences in the Neurobiology of Drug Addiction” conducted by researchers from the University of Texas confirmed that in women, estrogen does affect dopamine systems within the body, which is a component that holds high responsibility for differences between the sexes. However, further research is still being conducted to explore how else DNA is impacted through substance abuse and how it’s affecting each gender differently.

No matter the case, substance abuse can be combated with treatment. Make the decision to seek out help today. In doing this, you could develop the tools you need to manage your symptoms and take back control over your life.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse treatment program. We believe in holistic recovery, meaning that we will work with you to restore your mind, body, and spirit. If you’re seeking treatment for either substance abuse or dual diagnosis, call us at 888-743-0490. There are many people that can help you develop the tools you need to succeed.