Men and women experience the effects of substance use disorders differently. They have different rates of substance use, experience side effects at a distinct rate, and can benefit from treatment catered toward their gender. Choosing a gender-specific treatment center can go a long way toward addressing your specific needs in recovery while surrounding you with a group of peers who understand your position.
At Blueprint Recovery Center, our women’s rehab in New Hampshire gives women a safe space to begin their recovery. Start your path to living a life free from addiction with help from the compassionate team at Blueprint Recovery Center. Contact us today by calling 833.654.1004 or filling out our online contact form.
Gender and Addiction
Several reasons account for the differences in men’s and women’s experiences with substance use. The two genders have physiological differences, cultural expectations, and unique challenges that can color their life experiences and cause distinct reactions to substance use. Several reasons link gender and addiction, but there are numerous ways to best equip yourself for recovery.
The most striking difference in gender and substance use disorders is the rate at which they occur. Men are nearly twice as likely as women to be diagnosed with a substance use disorder, but recent years have seen the percentage of women with addiction increasing rapidly. Additionally, men are more likely to seek treatment for a substance use disorder. The ratio of men to women in treatment is roughly 2:1.
Effects of Substance Use
Physiological differences between genders can impact the effects that substance use has on individuals.
For example, men are more likely to:
- Have more prolonged substance use
- Experience more intense withdrawal symptoms
- Engage in substance use as a result of peer pressure
- Become addicted to alcohol or illicit opiates
By contrast, women are more likely to:
- Rapidly transition from substance use to addiction
- Develop alcohol use disorder at lower drinking levels than men
- Self-medicate pain with prescription drugs or opiates
- Go to the emergency room or overdose from substance use
Cultural beliefs about gender can play a significant role in substance use as well. Men are expected to take more risks, impacting the higher rates of substance use disorders. Conversely, women may feel more shame or guilt about their addiction due to cultural reasons, influencing their lower rates of seeking treatment for substance use disorders.
Treatment for substance use disorder takes a multifaceted approach to address a broad range of issues. When entering treatment, men and women often have vastly different experiences and consequences of their substance use, and many can benefit from gender-specific treatment.
Trauma is a key area where men and women differ. While men are more likely to experience a traumatic event in their lifetimes, women are more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). An estimated 80% of women with substance use disorder have experienced trauma, most often because of sexual or physical assault.
Gender-specific trauma can help women address their issues without fear of judgment from the opposite sex. It can also relieve stress and anxiety during an intensely emotional time, improving the chances for successful substance use treatment.
Men may have gender-specific issues that they feel comfortable addressing only in a men’s rehab center. Cultural perceptions of masculinity can impact treatment outcomes when men feel they need to live up to forced ideals of emotional stoicism, independence, or strength. Seeking treatment with other men can help them discuss these issues without shame.
Discover Gender-Specific Treatment at Blueprint Recovery Center
When you or a loved one is ready to receive help for a substance use disorder, call 833.654.1004 or contact us online to learn about the connection between gender and addiction at Blueprint Recovery Center. Don’t let addiction be the end of your story. Compassionate care with our team can help you build a new life in recovery.