Substance Abuse And Gender

Drug addiction is a difficult issue for anyone to deal with. While no one is exactly invincible from its grasp, recent findings have found that there are differences of rates of addiction between men and women. Due to the biology of our bodies, men and women experience certain drugs differently and can be more intensely affected by an overdose. Some drugs tend to be more commonly abuse by women while others are more prone to be abused by men. Let’s walk through key differences you should be aware of if you are using drugs or know someone actively using drugs throughout the week.

Cure drug addiction with intervention and support.
Drug addiction can be hard, especially painkiller addiction.

The Female Gender And Addiction 

Regarding addiction,the journal Psychiatric Clinics of North Americaexplains that women are more likely to suffer from drug’s effects because they have less total body water than men. This causes most women to reach a higher level of blood alcohol concentrations after drinking the same amount of alcohol as men or taking the same dose of a drug.  Women also have a lower amount of a digestive enzyme that metabolizes alcohol on average, so substances found in alcohol remain in their bodies for a much longer time. Other clinical studies have further shown that the effects of women’s menstrual cycles may also change how addiction works in their bodies compared to males. In fact, when experiments were conducted on rats in a controlled setting, females who contained the estrogen hormone responded more strongly to doses of cocaine with areas of their brain linked to processing and anticipating pleasure and rewards.

If a woman is having her menstrual cycle as usual, where she is in the cycle can also affect who she feels when taking a drug like cocaine. What’s scary is that some women have reported that cocaine does not make them feel as high when they’re done with ovulation than when they finish a cycle. This means that a woman finishing her valuation stage could be susceptible to taking increasingly larger drug doses and could develop a dangerous addiction if she doesn’t stop her usage. Her body could also reach a breaking point in how much it can handle if the normal feelings of pleasure are subdued during these points in time. With these findings in mind, it’s highly important to be aware of the drugs you are taking as a woman and the adverse effects you could experience.

Male Substance Abuse Disorder 

Men experience just as alarming effects as well for their gender. It has been reported that men usually take drugs or alcohol to reinforce what they think their gender role commands, to boost their social ego or reputation, or feel “risky” as they grow older. With smoking, men especially reported enjoying the physical high while women tended to focus on the social bonding they felt with their peers. Yet, a huge fraction of men who are entering their teenage and early adult years have been found to fall to the grasp of drug use with these incentives. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that nearly 40 percent of all men in college reported smoking (or otherwise consuming) the drug. It’s been also found that college-aged men who drink alcohol tend to also abuse prescription drugs while at school. Researchers also found that early substance abuse in boys was connected to a heightened risk of opioids abuse during early stages of adult years. This link has not been found in women of the same age range who attend college.

While most women may cease their drug abuse grow older and start having children, the relationship between men and drugs that reinforces their gender roles suggests that the need to feel as “part of the pack”, have better sexual or social experiences, to live more dangerously, and to boost their mental state can continue for decades. This is why most men who tend to show signs of prescription drug abuse, high rates of alcoholism, or a general substance abuse disorder have trouble shaking off their habits even as they start full time careers and families with their partners. Even if they do manage to become sober, not having the risk of bearing ill children from their drug abuse, having less social stigmatowards their habits tends, and wanting to chase their premature adventures makes the habit easier to pick up in their later years.

Help Substance Abuse Disorder 

While you may not want to talk about your substance abuse disorder, no matter what age or gender you are, we can all agree that getting help is necessary. Men and women may be processing the drug of their choice at different rates, and some may argue that their gender provides a certain advantage to stay more resilient than the other. Yet, allowing a long term drug addiction to continue with close friends who encourage the habit or in secret from loved ones is damaging for your mental health, immunity towards disease, daily productivity, and future career. Don’t let the short term high that a drug provides dictate how your life will play out for the next few hours, twenty-four hours, or the week ahead. Carelessly justifying using a drug for “just once” can cause a snowball effect on other poor decisions you could make while on the drug’s high and after you come off of it.

If you want to get on the road back to health, locate your nearest treatment center or take an intervention quiz to know what options are right for you. Both men and women show higher signs of treatment success when they seek a rehab program with a professional counselor that provides a specific path to take, a support group providing moral support, and lifestyle changes including a healthier diet and consistent exercise. You never know what the possibility is if you don’t explore what is around you!

Symptoms of a drug addict are damaging.
Symptoms of a drug addict are damaging.


Leave a Reply