Addiction in Men vs. Women
There are many differences between the way that the male and female brain and body operate. Thus, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are also some differences in the substances that men and women often choose to misuse. The effects of certain substances can also vary based on the gender of the person using them.
Still, whether it’s alcoholism in women vs. men or some other form of drug use, addiction to substances leads to adverse effects that could ruin the user’s health and wellbeing. Drug misuse could even cause men and women to experience overdoses or death.
Alcoholism in Women
Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances due to its accessibility. While anyone can develop an addiction to alcohol, women are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of alcohol misuse.
For example, the female body process and metabolizes alcohol quicker than the male body does. This is due to the fact that women contain a higher liver volume per unit of lean body mass.
Thus, because the liver is the body part that metabolizes alcohol, the female’s higher liver volume per body mass causes alcohol to be metabolized and sent to the bloodstream and brain quicker than it does through the male body. This means that women will feel the effects of alcohol quicker than men will. In other words, it takes less alcohol to get the average woman drunk than it does the average man.
It also doesn’t help that the female body contains less alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) than the male body does. Alcohol dehydrogenase is the enzyme in the liver and stomach that breaks down alcohol.
Because the female body contains less ADH than the male body, higher concentrations of alcohol get sent to the female body’s bloodstream and brain while drinking. Once again, this causes the average female body to become more intoxicated from consuming the same amount of alcohol as the average male body.
Blood Alcohol Levels (BAC) in Women vs. Men
The average female body also contains a higher fat to muscle ratio than the average male body. This difference causes alcohol in the male body’s bloodstream to be more diluted than alcohol is in the female body. This means that the blood alcohol level (BAC) in women is often higher than what it is for men.
Males contain more water in their bodies than females. This makes alcohol in the male body even more diluted than in the female body. This further proves that BACs are higher in women than in men for the same amount of alcohol.
The average male body is bigger in size and weight than the average female of the same age. This fact also contributes to women having higher concentrations of alcohol within their bodies for the same amount of alcohol consumption. All of these factors for why alcohol more quickly and easily affects women than men is why women are more susceptible than men to alcohol-related organ damage and trauma.
Despite all this, alcoholism in women is less prevalent than in men. This is due to the reckless nature of men as shown by their drinking habits.
Negative Effects of Alcoholism in Men
Men are twice as likely to binge drink than women. This causes men to experience higher rates of alcohol-related hospitalizations than women. Men also experience death due to alcohol misuse more so than women. In fact, 3/4ths of deaths due to excessive drinking are male deaths.
Men are 50% more likely to contain a blood alcohol level (BAC) of over 0.08% when driving than women. Males are even more likely to drink prior to committing suicide than women.
With alcohol misuse being more prevalent amongst men than women, it’s no wonder that most of the forms of alcohol-associated cancer are more common amongst men than women. For example, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon cancer are all more prevalent amongst men than women.
Excessive alcohol misuse can even lead to prostate cancer. It can also cause poor testicular function and male hormone production. Men who misuse alcohol also tend to take part in more risky sexual behaviors.
Drug Addiction in Men vs. Women
Similar to alcoholism in women vs. men, there are differences between drug addiction in women vs. men. These differences range from how much of each type of drug the average woman consumes versus the average man to the effects that each drug has on women vs. men, and more.
Marijuana Use in Men vs. Women
More men misuse marijuana than females. In fact, self-reported data states that men are 3 times as likely as women to smoke marijuana on a daily basis. Females who do misuse marijuana may experience spatial memory issues, though. Furthermore, females that use marijuana may experience a higher risk of brain abnormalities.
Studies show that male teenagers that misuse marijuana contain poorer family relationships than women who misuse marijuana. Males that misuse marijuana are even more likely to have problems at school than females that misuse marijuana.
Both men and women increase the risk of them developing mental health disorders when misusing marijuana. Men who misuse marijuana tend to suffer from other substance use disorders as well.
Men who misuse marijuana are more likely to experience antisocial personality disorder. Women who misuse marijuana are more likely to experience panic attacks and anxiety disorders.
Women tend to experience the marijuana use symptoms that they are more susceptible to soon after their first time using marijuana. Men tend to experience more severe marijuana addictions, though.
Opioid Use in Men vs. Women
Men tend to experience less severe chronic pain than women. Therefore, more doctors prescribe women opioids than they do men. This causes more women to misuse prescription opioids. In fact, research suggests that women are more likely to misuse prescription opioids to help them treat other issues that they may be suffering from outside of what their medications are for.
Use of Stimulants in Men vs. Women
Men are less sensitive to the effects of stimulants than women are. For example, the heart and blood vessels of men are less sensitive to the effects of cocaine use than the heart and blood vessels of women. Men who use cocaine are more likely to experience abnormalities when it comes to blood flow in their brains’ frontal regions though.
Women tend to misuse the stimulant, methamphetamine, more than men do. This is because many women believe that using the stimulant methamphetamines will give them the energy that they need to more efficiently take care of their family, work, and life responsibilities.
Other women may misuse methamphetamines to help them lose weight. As a result, women tend to start using meth at a younger age than men which causes them to have higher rates of dependency on the substance. Although women are dependent on meth at higher rates than men, they tend to be more willing to receive addiction treatment for meth addiction when necessary.
Use of Ecstasy in Men vs. Women
Men experience stronger hallucinatory effects of using ecstasy than women do. Men who use ecstasy tend to experience higher blood pressure though. While both men and women experience feelings of aggression after using ecstasy, women are more prone to also feeling depressed after using ecstasy.
Heroin Use in Men vs. Women
Men who suffer from heroin addictions tend to use larger amounts of heroin at one time for longer amounts of time than their female counterparts. Men are also more likely to inject heroin.
Women who do choose to inject their use of heroin are more likely to overdose during their first few years of doing so, though. This means that women are more likely to suffer from overdoses during their first few years of injecting heroin than men are.
Tobacco Use in Men vs. Women
Men smoke tobacco in the form of cigarettes more often per day than women. Men also inhale the smoke from their cigarettes more deeply than women do. This is partly because women smoke tobacco cigarettes for different reasons than men do. For example, women often smoke tobacco cigarettes to regulate their mood as well as stress, although withdrawal from nicotine can cause women to suffer from more stress and anxiety.
Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment
Whether a person is seeking treatment for alcoholism in women or men, or a particular drug addiction in men or women, it’s important to attend addiction treatment at a professional rehab facility. Because men and women often have different motives for why they misuse substances, some men and women may more easily connect with other rehab members if they are of the same gender.
Another reason why some men and women may prefer to attend addiction treatment with only people of their gender is that the physiological responses to the use of certain substances often differ for men and women. Also, how men and women often choose to misuse certain substances differ. Therefore, gender-specific rehab centers can give addiction treatment programs the opportunity to really individualize and cater to the needs of their male or female patients.
Gender-specific rehab centers also take away any romantic distractions or temptations that straight individuals may encounter when attending a co-ed facility. This allows rehab patients at gender-specific addiction treatment centers to better focus on their recovery.
Receive Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment at Little Creek Recovery
Little Creek Recovery is a gender-specific rehab center that helps men overcome their addictions. Little Creek does this by focusing on a 12-step philosophy in conjunction with reality-based therapies.
Our addiction treatment center also places focus on the spiritual paradigm in all of its addiction treatment programs. That way, Little Creek patients can repair their minds, bodies, and souls while in treatment.
Little Creek also uses its 12-step and holistic techniques to help teach patients how to accept their diagnoses. In this way, Little Creek patients can both better manage their daily recovery and develop proper emotional coping skills.
While all of the inpatient treatment programs here at Little Creek Recovery are for men only, we also offer co-ed outpatient treatment programs. Therefore, individuals can seek shorter-form treatment at Little Creek Recovery for drug addiction and alcoholism in women.
To learn more about Little Creek and the different addiction treatment, therapy, and services that we offer, contact us today! We would love to hear from you.