Last week, we discussed the ways addiction impacts the female system. This week, in the interest of equal representation, we want to discuss how substance abuse and alcohol affects men.The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that men are more likely than women to abuse illicit drugs and alcohol. In fact, 11.5% of males over 12 years of age have active substance use disorders, compared to just 6.4% of those deemed the “fairer sex.” It hardly seems fair, does it?
Battle of the Sexes, Addiction-Style
What makes men more likely to abuse drugs and/or alcohol then women? Experts debate the reasons for the gender divide arguing thedistinctions between men and women suffering from addiction are rooted biologicallyand sociologically. These include societal impacts resulting in childcare responsibilities, addiction stigma, relationship dynamics, and more. Biologically, few argue the biological differences between men and women, particularly relative to testosterone and estrogen, body size and composition. Harvard doctors attribute the differences in addiction between men and women to “susceptibility, recovery, and risk of relapse.”
Facts about Men and Addiction:
- A recent Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) study revealed that 57.1 percent of men abused or were dependent on alcohol, compared to 47.5 percent of women.
- Men are more likely to engage in “problem drinking patterns” than women.
- Males are twice as likely to binge drink (consume five or more drinks in a two-hour period) than females.
- Men more often grow dependent on alcohol in their lifetimes (17 percent versus 8 percent)
- They also tend to experience addiction-associated health problems or die due to alcohol-related causes.
- Men are more likely than women to abuse marijuana, cocaine, and hallucinogens.
- The NIDAasserts that men are also more prone to prescription drug abuse than their female counterparts.
- Some 4.5% of men and 2.5% of women met the diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence last year.
When men drink or use drugs to excess, chaos ensues:
- Men consistently face higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women.
- Among drivers in fatal motor-vehicle traffic crashes, men are almost twice as likely as women to have been intoxicated (i.e., a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater).
- Excessive alcohol consumption increases aggression and, as a result, can increase the risk of physical assault. (Translation? Drunk and high men hit people.)
- Men are more likely than women to commit suicide. Also, those who commit suicide are more likely to have been drinking beforehand.
- Excessive alcohol use can interfere with testicular function and male hormone production. This can result in impotence, infertility, and reduction of male secondary sex characteristics such as facial and chest hair.
- Men who use alcohol or drugs more often engage in risky sexual encounters such as unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, or sex with a partner at risk for sexually transmitted diseases.
- Alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon in men.
Drug and alcohol treatment is highly personal. What works for one person’s journey to sobriety may not work for someone else, regardless of sex or Drug of Choice (DOC). However, research shows that implementing certain gender-specific considerations enhances recovery. For example, men may fear the loss of employment or negative perception about addiction treatment. So, some prefer outpatient programs, which can accommodate professional and family responsibilities. Also, in many cases, detox helps individuals who have been abusing large quantities of drugs or alcohol over a long period of time, creating chemical dependence. In these cases, medication-assisted treatment may be a part of a successful addiction or dual diagnosis treatment plan. What’s more, many men find group therapy and individual counseling integral to success whether they are participating in an outpatient or residential model.
Communication is Key
Support groups offer peer exchange in a safe environment, which helps men who are reluctant to share. Open communication often aids recovery. Behavioral therapy methods encourage men to embrace coping mechanisms to manage emotions like anger and aggression. Family therapy and counseling helps rebuild interpersonal relationships so men in recovery return to a healthier home environment.
About Mt Rubidoux MFI
Specializing in the inpatient treatment of men who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse, our treatment center is located in the shadow of Mt. Rubidoux in the City of Riverside. We provide structured and supportive addiction treatment in semi-private, comfortable apartment-style setting. Monitored by professional addiction specialists 24 hours a day, our modern apartments offer a haven for healing during the rehab process. Living and recovering in our Mt. Rubidoux residential treatment facility means becoming healthy again. Our clients receive intensive treatment and learn new, healthy strategies to sustain recovery. To find out more, call today 866-218-4697, or for non-admission related information, contact us at 951-683-6596.
About MFI Recovery Center
Throughout 10 facilities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, MFI Recovery Center employs the Matrix Model for each client, creating customized treatment programs. Call today to find out more (866) 218-4697, or for non-admission related information, contact us at (951) 683-6596.