Differences in Addiction for Men and Women

Addiction is an affliction that is present everywhere in the world. However, there are geographical differences when it comes to addiction causes, treatment needs, and manifestation. This is definitely the case when it comes to addiction in women and also in men. Despite the fact that addiction affects both men and women there is a difference in the way either sexes experience it, the consequences of abuse and their reason for the use or abuse of a substance. These differences can be a big help when it comes to responding to needs identified through well-done analysis and when illuminating certain trends.

The addiction traits of each gender are as below:


Substance abuse statistics for men as gathered by the National Institute on Drug abuse (NIDA) and other research organizations show that:

  • Number of reported male cases of misuse of drugs or alcohol stands at five million in the past year
  • Men are open about seeking help for general addiction but are hardly ever willing to seek treatment for sleeping aids abuse
  • Men are more likely to develop addictions than women
  • Men are at the highest risk of developing severe addiction disorder which is accompanied by co-occurring antisocial personality disorder
  • Men are more likely to use drugs to bring about a positive mood, pleasure-seeking and to forget one’s problems.
  • Men are likely to abuse alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana. They are also more likely to relapse after treatment than women with the numbers standing at 32 percent for men and 22 percent for women. This calls for a change in how the treatment model is structured in order to achieve lower rates of relapse.
  • According to research, men require longer periods of treatment and are rarely ever going to seek help when they do relapse. Aftercare is necessary especially for men to oversee their transition from addicts to reformed members of society.


When it comes to addiction in women, statistics from NIDA state that:

  • About 15.8 million of them reported cases of substance abuse this past year which is a huge difference compared to the men.
  • Women are more likely to seek help for abusing sleeping aids with the number standing at 55 percent of women reporting these cases. Women are however less likely to seek substance addiction help compared to the men
  • Women pick up substance or drug abuse afflictions quicker than their male counterparts. They are also more prone to panic attacks and co-occurring anxiety disorders.
  • When it comes to women, the Nicotine patch treatment applied to aid tobacco addicts hardly ever works
  • Women are driven to substance abuse by social and psychological pressures. In addition, a woman’s relationship, family or trauma suffered is likely to influence her decision to pick up drugs.
  • Women are more likely to be hooked on opioid medications than men according to info from the Harvard medical school. They are also the most affected by the health consequences of drug abuse
  • Women are held back from seeking help because of their numerous responsibilities such as house chores and child rearing.
  • It is important for women addicts to seek help from an institution that consists of only women. Just like for men, aftercare can help women stay clean after relapse


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