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Top Five Causes of Drug Abuse in Men

Jul 5, 2021

Imagine two men in different cities using the exact same drug at the exact same time. For both, it’s their first time. What might lead one to use the same drug again and again while the other doesn’t repeat the act? The answer comes in the causes of drug abuse. For many men, there might be more than one factor in play over time. So today, we’ll look at a list of some of the most common causes.

Men tend to use drugs as a way of maintaining a good feeling or overcoming social issues. The causes of drug abuse can come from how they perceive the male role in society, their response to life-changing events, and their genetic predisposition to substance use disorders (SUDs). Traumatic events and changes in health can also be factors in a man developing an SUD. The drug use can come from illegal substances. It also can come from misusing prescription medication. For example, a man who’s prescribed an opioid for pain relief after surgery can become dependent on it very quickly.

How common is drug abuse in men?

Research tells us that more men experience drug abuse than women. Some specific types of drug abuse are more common in men, including cocaine and marijuana. But, men are more likely to believe they don’t need treatment to get sober. Without seeking help on their own, legal issues may follow and send them to treatment by referral.

Top 5 Reasons for Drug Abuse in Men

  1. Perceived Gender Role

How you define what being a man is says a lot about how you see your gender influencing your choices. You might seek adventure, be a risk-taker, and set no boundaries because you feel men don’t need limits. Without limits and attention to self-care, you may give yourself permission to continue to use drugs even when it’s affecting your life in negative ways. By trying to match some expectation of what real men should do, you may be worsening a drug habit over time.

  1. Changing Life Events

Big changes to a man’s life can add stress, even if they’re good changes. A new job, a new relationship, and a new apartment all look like positive changes. But, coping with the pressure to maintain these things can be challenging. Turning to a drug of choice to cope with feeling overwhelmed may start to happen on occasion. Without some other means of handling the changes in healthy ways, more frequent drug use might follow.

  1. Changes to Health

Suffering an injury or developing a health condition can lead to using prescription medications continuously. Even short-term use of some medications can produce side effects, including dependence. Reporting side effects to your doctor early can be one way to minimize a potential drug problem. Changing the dose on your own can be a risk for developing a substance use disorder.

  1. Trauma

Men can experience trauma at any stage of their life, and it can affect their substance use. Experiencing trauma on the job without finding ways to manage it safely can lead to using illegal drugs to cope with anxiety, panic attacks, or fear. Traumatic experiences from childhood that were left unresolved can be another cause for a man to start misusing drugs. The loss of a loved one can be traumatic, too. It doesn’t have to have resulted in death either. The separation from a caregiver at an early age can have a lasting impact with harmful consequences on a man’s well-being.

  1. Genetic Predisposition

A family history of substance use doesn’t predict a man will develop an SUD, but it can make him more likely to misuse drugs at some point. Your immediate family and extended family may contain more than one person whose drug use is known. This can be a difficult cause to explore if you grew up without access to a biological parent or relative and don’t know their history of substance use.

Recovery for Men

Men may see the function of drug use as a way to help them cope with social or behavior problems. For example, a young man who feels shy or awkward around peers may feel like using drugs helps him overcome those problems temporarily. When he’s feeling good, he may want to extend that good feeling and sees a stimulant (or other substance) as a solution to continue feeling positive or accepted.


Origins Recovery Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renown clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 866-875-1558.

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