Men and women are different, both physiologically, and mentally. This of course leads to the big question: Does gender play a role in addiction? More than just a simple bit of trivia, the answer to this question can determine a variety of factors, including what kind of alcohol medications should be prescribed in the event that a person begins receiving treatment at a drug rehab facility. Let’s look at some of the ways how gender can affect both the treatment, and nature of addiction, and what you can do about it.
How Addiction Affects Women
Historically women have always started addictive habits using lower doses than men. While this may sound like a positive, it is counter balanced by the fact that women also tend to spiral into addiction much faster than their male counterparts. This could be due to the smaller does seeming “safer” and making it easier to ignore the dangers of potential addiction, but research is inconclusive at this time.
What is known is that women also tend to enter rehab and drug treatment programs easier than men, leading to a much greater chance of recovery. This is also balanced by a negative: the fact that women experience greater psychological distress both during addiction, and during recovery. This can manifest as anxiety, and other mood disorders that may require their own form of treatment.
How Addiction Affects Men
In contrast to women, men tend to start with higher dosages of drugs and alcohol, but take a bit longer to spiral out of control into the realm of addition. It can be speculated that physiological reasons, such as higher tolerance, are at play here, but there are many factors to consider. The fact that men experience less psychological issues associated with addiction may also be a contributing factor.
Perhaps most importantly is the fact that men do not seek help for their addiction as readily as women. This can seriously affect their chances of recovery, and can lead them to “crash and burn” before they seek help at all. It is for this reason that men should be extra vigilant when it comes to indulging in vices, and seek help at the earliest signs of addiction.
The Answer Lies in the Brain
Now that we’ve established that gender does play a role in addiction, let’s go over why that is. As noted before, physiological differences play a role, and though research isn’t as conclusive as we’d like, there are some pretty startling discoveries that have been made recently concerning neuroscience.
Addiction is essentially an offshoot of the memory forming process in the brain, and men and women process and form memories differently. More precisely, men tend to have a stronger reaction in their right amygdala while females have a stronger reaction in their left amygdala when shown emotionally arousing material. This is a strong hint that forming addictive habits play out in a similarly different fashion for men and women.
Get Help Before It’s Too Late
Regardless of your gender, addiction is no joking matter. It can ruin lives, and destroy families. If you or a loved one are suffering from the scourge of addiction, get help as soon as possible. It could save your relationships, and even your life.