Addiction and Recovery: Battle of the Sexes

Addiction and Recovery: Battle of the Sexes

Addiction and Recovery: Battle of the Sexes

Addiction is not just a “man’s problem.” It affects men and women across the board. However, addiction affects men’s and women’s lives in different ways. These differences impact how addiction and addiction treatment are approached, according to research. So how exactly does gender affect the addiction of the person and treatment? Learn how men and women experience addiction and treatment differently.


Who gets affected by drug and addiction problems more often? According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), men are approximately twice as likely as women to use illicit drugs. A similar trend is seen in alcohol abuse. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), approximately 7 to 12 percent of women drink, versus 20 percent of men. Although more men are abusing drugs and alcohol, it appears that women tend to increase their use of drugs and alcohol faster than men.

Risk Factors

The risk factors for addiction differ for men and women. According to a study published in the Journal of Women’s Health & Gender-Based Medicine, women tend to use drugs to self-medicate for emotional and psychological issues, whereas men use drugs to help them socialize. Men may also use drugs to cope with social and behavioral issues. Biological factors affect both men as women.

Women are at risk of falling into addiction when they are in a relationship with an addict. A woman who experiences a childhood trauma or grew up in a home with substance abusing parents has increased risk of becoming an addict as well.

Barriers to Treatment

There are factors that keep men and women from getting addiction treatment. Lack of child care, family responsibilities and support keep women from going into drug rehab. The stigma attached to rehab prevents both men and women from seeking treatment. But research findings have shown that the stigma toward a female addict is greater than for a man. Both men and women find that lack of money to fund treatment keeps them from getting help.


In the past, it was thought that women would not do well in treatment or would not complete a drug rehab program. However, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), recent studies suggest that women would have equal or better treatment results compared to men. If women are able to get past the barriers to treatment, the outlook is good. Also, specialty treatment tracks help both men and women in treatment because the addiction treatment caters to their needs.

When it comes to addiction, there are no winners. Both men and women face risks, consequences and challenges. It is important for addicts to look for resources and to establish a support system to work toward recovery. This can build a strong foundation that will help them live a life free of drugs and alcohol.

Recovery Connection helps men and women find addiction treatment that best fits their needs. No matter what financial situation you are in, admission counselors are available 24/7 and will work to find you help. Call Recovery Connection at 866-812-8231 and get the help you need today.