Although addiction and treatment are similar in some ways for most people, no two paths are the same and so recovery is different for everyone. Your background and experiences make a big difference for your recovery. There are major differences, for example, between young adults and older adults. Men and women also have different needs in treatment. Recognizing some of the key differences between men’s and women’s recovery can lead to better outcomes for both. Although men face many challenges in addiction recovery, they may also have some significant advantages.
Men have been treated as the default.
Until relatively recently, men have been treated as the default case in addiction treatment and medicine more broadly. Much of what has been considered effective in addiction treatment has typically been true of men, specifically, although that is finally changing. The advantage for men is most treatment methods have them specifically in mind, even if the people who developed the methods didn’t realize it.
Men feel less of the stigma of seeking help.
As awareness about addiction and mental illness spreads, the stigma continues to weaken. There was a time when no one would talk about these things and anyone struggling with addiction or mental illness certainly wouldn’t acknowledge it publicly. However, times are changing and these issues are now more properly seen as illnesses and not failures of character or willpower. Unfortunately, we still have a way to go. The stigma of addiction still prevents many people from seeking help. The good news for men is that they tend to feel the stigma of seeking help for addiction slightly less than women do. Although no one likes to admit he has a problem, drinking and drug use have at least been traditionally seen as masculine problems.
Men have less risk of depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety are the most common mental illnesses in the world and they are also the most common co-occurring conditions with substance use disorders. Although men are at higher risk for some conditions like autism spectrum disorders or schizophrenia, which also increase risk of addiction, they are about half as likely as women to suffer from depression or anxiety.
Men have slightly lower risk of medical complications.
Medical issues always complicate treatment. Detox can put a lot of stress on the body, which may aggravate existing conditions. Medications used in detox and treatment may interfere with other medications. Pregnancy significantly complicates treatment and men don’t have to worry about that. Women also tend to suffer health problems sooner from substance use too, since they metabolize substances differently. For example, a 40-year-old woman is likely to have more liver damage than 40-year-old man with a similar substance use history.
Pinnacle Recovery specializes in inpatient rehabilitation, trauma recovery, AA programs and AA alternatives, experiential therapy, dual diagnosis, family therapy, co-occurring and dual diagnosis addictions. We also offer a wide range of sober living and intensive outpatient treatment programs. Call 1-866-301-0573 today for more information.