signs of drug addiction
Published On: May 28, 2019|Categories: Substance Abuse|

We know that individuals of both genders are affected by substance use, but we also know that addiction looks different for men and women. Substance use in men tends to start earlier and involves heavier and/or more frequent use. Reviewing the risk factors that primarily apply to men can help us develop new prevention and treatment strategies, as well as help you identify any potential signs or symptoms of unwanted substance use in your life.

What are the numbers on male substance use?

Several studies have indicated the differences between male and female use of drugs and alcohol. Some of the most compelling evidence about the prevalence of substance use among men includes the following:

  • 12 percent of males older than age 12 report illegal drug use compared to 7.3 percent of females older than age 12, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health
  • The survey also found that men are more likely than women to use multiple illegal drugs
  • Nine percent of male high school seniors in the Monitoring the Future Survey reported daily use of marijuana compared to less than four percent of females in the same age group
  • Harvard Medical School reports that men of all ages are three times more likely than women to use marijuana every day
  • According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, men are more likely to use all types of illicit drugs. This finding applies to all age groups
  • NIDA also reports that men are more likely than women to inject heroin
  • According to a landmark study on drug use and gender published by the University of Illinois, men tend to start using drugs at an earlier age than women do, use higher doses of substances more frequently than women and more commonly engage in binge drinking

While women are just as likely as men to develop a substance use disorder, men have higher rates of use or dependence on illicit drugs and alcohol than women.

Why are men more prone to substance use?

Although experts aren’t exactly sure why men are at higher risk for substance use, several theories attempt to explain these statistics. Research from NIDA suggests that males are more likely to be introduced to drugs by other males in their peer group, which may explain the trend toward earlier substance use. Medical News Today reports that the earlier a person tries a substance, the more likely he or she is to develop an addiction.

Some experts think that cultural ideas of masculinity contribute to male substance use. For example, a man who uses substances to cope with his feelings may think that he will be perceived as weak if he sees a therapist or takes steps to relieve stress. Men may also be more prone to risk-taking behaviors than women.

Although a marked difference exists in the way that men and women use substances, most risk factors hold true across both genders. These contributing factors include:

  • Family history, which is the single biggest predictor of an issue with substance use
  • History of mental illness
  • Difficult family relationships
  • Childhood trauma, abuse or neglect
  • Poverty
  • History of behavioral issues

If you have noticed these risk factors playing a role in the possible development of a substance use disorder, the best action to take is to work preventatively to decrease habits from turning into addictions.

What treatment options are available for men?

For those who are struggling with substance use, or have been battling addiction for a long time, there are numerous treatment options designed to help you recover.

Detox facilities

Detox is the first step in healing an addiction. Especially for someone who has been using it for an extended period of time, detox is important for the sake of cleansing the body of toxins on which to give the mind a fresh start.

Inpatient programs

Inpatient programs may include sober living homes for men or other residential treatment options where you live in the space where you are receiving addiction treatment. This option is beneficial for any man whose home life is not conducive to or supportive of recovery.

Outpatient treatment

It may be difficult for some men to drop everything and move into a residential treatment facility. Outpatient programs offer the chance to attend treatment daily, while also meeting other obligations, such as work. This is a helpful alternative for those men who are supporting families or who do not have the ability to leave their work for inpatient treatment.

Counseling sessions

For those who have been struggling inconsistently with substance experimentation, but have not developed an addiction, counseling or therapy sessions can be incredibly beneficial. You will learn your triggers, how to avoid them and what to do when they arise in order to keep substance use from morphing into an addiction. In this stage, counseling is a beneficial preventative measure for your mental health.

Ready for treatment?

There is no shame in needing help handling addiction. Addiction rewires one’s brain, making it incredibly difficult to overcome on your own. With the right treatment plan in place, recovery is not only possible, it is sustainable.

To learn more about recovery, contact High Focus Centers by calling our offices at 800-877-3628 to get in touch with someone today.

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