The differences between how men and women experience addiction, undergo therapies, and recover, stems from the sociological and biological differences. These differences primarily revolve around estrogen and testosterone production, varying body size, body composition, and societal expectations. The gender differences influence susceptibility to substance addiction, recovery, and the risk of relapse. Midwest Recovery Center offers tailor-made addiction gender-specific treatment plans that seek to meet each individual’s needs.
Interaction With Various Substances
There is a need to understand how men and women recover differently and how these two groups of people interact with various substances, which affects how they recover from addiction.
Men abuse alcohol at higher rates; however, women become addicted to alcohol faster. Due to their lower percentage of water in their body, women require less alcohol to get intoxicated. The reasons for consuming alcohol also differ: men drink to enhance positive emotions and socially. In contrast, women drink to alleviate negative emotions and pressures, which could indicate underlying psychiatric disorders. This trait would necessitate a dual diagnosis to treat the whole person.
Stimulants, Opioids, and Marijuana
Estrogen increases the effects of stimulants, making women more likely to develop addictions due to the heightened high. Men and women experience addiction to opioids at an equal rate. However, women are more likely to be prescribed higher dosages of opioids for more extended periods, leading to addiction.
For marijuana, women with marijuana addiction are more likely to develop mood and anxiety disorders stemming from internalizing emotions. At the same time, men with cannabis dependence are more likely to have externalizing conditions.
If there is a difference in how these genders interact with drugs, there is a definite difference in the recovery, which necessitates gender-specific rehab programs.
How Men Interact With Substance Addiction and Recovery
Men go through life with different psychological, physiological, and emotional experiences, which influences their interaction with substance addiction and consequently influences their road to recovery. For example:
- Men experience more powerful withdrawal symptoms, which could be a deterrent for them seeking rehab treatment, but they stay sober for longer once they get clean.
- Traditional male stereotypes expect them to be healthy and able. The perception that asking for help is a sign of weakness makes it much harder for men to seek help and willingly engage in different therapies.
- Men struggle to access their emotions and express them, making it harder for them to open up during recovery. Additionally, their male brain wiring is different, which affects how they process emotions. During therapy, they have to actively learn to access and process their feelings as a healthy coping mechanism.
- Stereotypes and social stigma paint addiction as a morality issue that is perceived as a weakness in character, which stirs up feelings of shame and guilt and reducing chances of seeking treatment
How Women Interact With Substance Addiction and Recovery
On the other hand, women are more likely to progress from substance abuse to addiction at a much faster rate. When it comes to recovery, they are more likely to exhibit adverse side effects such as liver damage and overdose. Some of the differences that affect their interaction and recovery include:
- Biologically, they are more likely to relapse due to the heightened cravings due to estrogen production.
- Culturally, women experience higher stigmatization levels due to their stereotyped role as mothers, gatekeepers, and caregivers.
- Women are less likely to seek treatment, which consequently affects long-term recovery.
Recovering at Midwest Recovery Center
At Midwest Recovery Center, we offer addiction treatment programs for men and women. Our programs offer each gender different therapies in a gender-specific setting whereby they can each share their specific struggles with similar genders, facilitating healing and recovery. Contact Midwest Recovery Center at 833.627.0039, or contact us online and begin your journey to addiction recovery.