The Differences Of Drug Addiction In Men And WomenNov 17th, 2011 | By Dr. Jeffrey Huttman Ph.D. | Category: Addiciton Treatment Research, Drug Treatment Rehab, Special Interest Florida Drug Rehab Treatment Articles
While it’s true that men are more likely than women to have opportunities to use drugs, men and women are just as likely to try drugs, and they progress from experimental drug use to addiction equally. But men and women seem to differ in their vulnerability to specific drugs.
Both are equally likely to become addicted to or dependent on cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, tobacco, and inhalants.
Women are more likely than men to become addicted to or dependent on sedatives and drugs designed to treat anxiety or sleeplessness, and less likely than men to abuse alcohol and marijuana.
Emerging evidence suggests that there are distinct gender patterns of addictive disorders. Studies show men and women differ in their motivations to use, susceptibility to addiction, and response to pharmacological and psychological treatment.
There are also differences between men and women who seek treatment for drug abuse. Women in treatment programs are less likely than men to have graduated from high school or to be employed. Women are also more likely than men to have other health problems, to have sought previous drug treatment, to have attempted suicide, and to have suffered sexual abuse or other physical abuse.
Cocaine addiction research also shows that women become dependent after using cocaine for shorter amounts of time in smaller doses compared with men.
Motivation to use cocaine, both initially and in relapse from drug abuse treatment, also seems to vary by gender. Studies show that women tend to use cocaine to self-medicate when feeling depressed and unhappy. Men, on the other hand, generally use cocaine when they are feeling good, in order to feel even better.
Cigarette smoking also shows gender-specific patterns. Women tend to use smoking to regulate their mood and suppress their appetite, while men are more likely to smoke to improve their attention and performance at work, ease feelings of aggression and relieve pain.
Not surprisingly, men and women required different methods of quitting in order to be successful. Nicotine replacement therapy, which was developed and tested primarily for men, is less effective in women. Instead, studies show that women have greater success using antidepressants to break the habit. Support groups and psychotherapy focused on quitting smoking tends to be more helpful for women than men.