How Women Fight Addiction Differently From Men

The biological and sociological differences in men and women are the biggest reason why these two genders develop substance addiction, respond to addiction treatments, and fight addiction differently. Some common examples of such differences are societal expectations, varying body sizes, body compositions, and the production of testosterone and estrogen.

The gender differences between males and females have a lot to with their substance addiction, recovery, and the chances of relapse. For this reason, a gender-specific approach is necessary to treat substance addiction in men and women.

While most men fall prey to substance use due to some type of stress or other emotional problems, women are more susceptible to specific substances and have greater chances of developing addiction with other medical conditions simultaneously. 

Read on to understand how women fight substance addiction differently from men and how single-sex alcohol and drug addiction treatment is more effective in such cases.

How Men And Women Interact With Different Substances

To understand how men and women recover from substance addiction, it is important to know how they interact with various substances.


According to studies, women are less likely to inject heroin compared to men and also use shorter doses for shorter periods. Most women try heroin for the first time due to romantic relationships. While women have greater long-term survival rates to substances, men have greater short-term survival rates.

Opioids, Marijuana, And Stimulants

Women are at a higher risk of developing an addiction to stimulants due to more amounts of estrogen in them. As long as opioids are concerned, men and women develop an addiction to them at an equal rate. But women are often prescribed higher amounts of opioids for longer periods and this increases the chances of addiction in them.

With marijuana addiction, the chances of women developing disorders related to stress and anxiety are more. This happens due to internalizing emotions.


Women are less likely to get involved in binge drinking or misuse alcohol than men. Drinking alcohol for a long time can be more harmful to women and alcohol-related deaths are 50-100% times more in women. 

Even though men exhibit higher rates of alcohol abuse, women get addicted to it faster than men. Moreover, women need relatively lower amounts of alcohol to get high due to the lower percentage of water in the body.

In most cases, men and women drink alcohol for different reasons. While men drink to improve their positive emotions individually and socially, women drink to deal with negative emotions. This is the reason why women are at a higher risk of developing underlying psychiatric conditions due to addiction.

How Men And Women Fight Addiction Differently

Recognizing these differences can play a vital role in identifying the signs of addiction in women and determining the best treatment options.


Men have different emotional, physiological, and social experiences. These factors influence their interaction with addiction to drugs or alcohol. They also shape their road to recovery. For example:

  • The severity of withdrawal symptoms is more in men that often prevent them from seeking addiction treatment. However, once they are clean, they live sober for a longer time.
  • A typical male stereotype can be a deterrent for men finding the right treatment. As they might feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness, they proactively indulge in different and ineffective therapies.
  • Men may find it difficult to express their emotions. This can stop them from opening up during recovery.


The progression of addiction from substance abuse in women is faster. When it is about recovery, women can indicate some side effects like overdose and liver damage. Here are some of the differences that influence how women fight addiction:

  • Women have higher estrogen production in their bodies. This causes intense cravings and ultimately increases the chances of relapse.
  • The typical stereotypes of women as mothers, caregivers, and gatekeepers make women more susceptible to chances of higher stigmatization.
  • The chances of women seeking addiction treatment are less which eventually restricts them from achieving long-term recovery.

Final Words

The above-mentioned factors define the need for gender-specific treatments for addiction in men and women. Being a woman, this is why you need to find a reputable women’s treatment center in Orange County if you want to experience the right rehab care such as IOP programs that meet your needs. This helps you in sticking to it and achieve lasting recovery.

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