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Which Drugs Are Men More Likely to Abuse?

Jun 3, 2020

In your struggle with addiction as a man, you may not be aware of how substance use disorders show up differently in different genders, including the severity of the disorder and the appearance of co-occurring disorders. We can look at some distinctions between the genders and better understand the risk in men like you for substance use disorders before another relapse occurs. Today, let’s talk about four substances and how they impact men.

Overall, men are more likely to use illicit drugs than women, and some key substances abused more often by men include marijuana, heroin, and alcohol. While these documented gender differences exist, including a higher death rate among male prescription opioid users, a man experiencing a particular substance use disorder should seek treatment from a facility offering services specific to the drug of choice as well as any co-occurring mental health disorders. As withdrawal symptoms associated with many substances can be intense, a medically-supervised detox program is recommended as a first step towards recovery.

Gender differences in addiction are well documented.

You may not have thought about drug use as a gender-specific topic, but ongoing research points to some significant differences in how substance use disorders show up in men versus women. These differences can lead to a higher consumption of a particular drug by men and more incidents of overdoses. The seven types of substances we will look at today include marijuana, stimulants, MDMA, heroin, prescription opioids, anti-anxiety meds, and alcohol.

Fact: Marijuana is used by more men than women.

Impact: The disorder shows up more severely in men and more routinely coincides with other substance use disorders as well as a mental health disorder.

Treatment: Users with co-occurring mental health disorder have a low rate of seeking treatment while they may benefit from a program offering a dual diagnosis treatment.

Fact: Heroin’s impact on men appears greater than it does on women due to higher amounts of heroin used by the average man and a higher likelihood of injecting it.

Impact: The physical impact of heroin use, especially repeated use, ranges from short-term effects of shallow respiration and uncontrollable itching to heart problems, blood clots, infectious diseases through use of shared needles, and more.

Treatment: As withdrawal can be intense, treatment for heroin should include a medically-supervised detox and men in treatment can benefit from a program containing multiple therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, neurotherapy, and wellness activities.

Fact: Prescription opioid overdose leads to more deaths in men than it does in women, and short-term use of prescription opioids can lead to addiction.

Impact: Taking prescription opioids (for pain, for example) over a period of time can build a tolerance to the drug and lead to higher or more frequent doses taken. As a treatment for chronic pain, for instance, misuse may be the result of a growing dependence of it for pain management rather than intentionally using it as a recreational drug.

Treatment: Tremors, sweating, nausea and numerous other symptoms can accompany withdrawal from opiates so a medical detox is advised when attempting to begin treatment for an addiction.

Fact: Alcohol consumption among men is higher than it is in women, including more instances of binge drinking.

Impact: Addiction to alcohol can affect relationships, work, financial stability, and lead to legal consequences if addiction results in criminal behavior.

Treatment: One of the leading risk factors for alcohol addiction is a co-occurring mental health disorder. Finding treatment options that provide a dual diagnosis treatment along with comprehensive medical care to respond to alcohol-related health conditions, such as malnutrition, high blood pressure, and cirrhosis of the liver, can be highly beneficial.

Substance use disorder treatment specifically for men is available for addictions of any type. This type of gender-specific program gives men in treatment an opportunity to make changes to addiction behavior with their peers, discover new ways to relate to one another, and build a sense of trust and connection with men of a similar age, younger, and older. Treatment services come specifically from professionals of the same gender, and offer longer-term programs for men who have experienced one or more relapses after previous attempts to recover from addiction.

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 renowned 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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