When a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, it is important to know that there are significant gender differences in drug and alcohol recovery.

Women and men develop dependency to alcohol and different types of drugs for different reasons. These gender differences are pertinent to the causes that play a part in substance abuse and the reasons that women and men give for seeking treatment.

Women Feel More Shame in Drug Addiction

Research introduced by Columbia University shows that while drug abuse by women is at a lower dose amount, women are more likely to develop a substance abuse issue and more likely to feel shame because of it, than men. An increasing number of women who abuse drugs seemingly suffered a traumatic event, such as rape or other sexual abuse and turned to drugs as a coping mechanism.

There is a Difference in Reasons for Drug Use

Additionally, the reasons that women gave for alcohol and drug abuse were psychological and social such as low self-confidence and low self-esteem, depression, stress and loneliness and a lack of a support system. Vicodin, Oxycontin, Ecstasy, Heroin, Marijuana and alcohol are the substances abused most by women.

Women Refuse Recovery for Different Reasons

The Columbia report also indicated substance abuse was introduced to women by a family member or significant other. Sadly, most women will not seek recovery assistance because they are afraid of losing their children. For the women who do try to enter recovery they have a difficult time being able to attend and complete the programs because they are unable to secure childcare.

Further, the social stigmas attached to women who seek help, consider them to be morally deficient and weak - yet another reason why most women will not seek help for their drug and alcohol abuse.

More Men have Substance Abuse than Women

While men, on the other hand, use alcohol and drugs for entirely different reasons. Substance abuse is higher among men than in women. Physiologically, men experience drug sensation at a faster rate and more intensely than women. Socially, men abuse drugs and alcohol for the intent and purpose of getting intoxicated or high. Also men are more open to drug experimentation than women.

There is also gender bias in recovery related to the reasons that men and women give for seeking substance abuse treatment and including stereotype. The Columbia study reported that women suffer more social hindrances that prevent them from seeking the help that they need. Rather than seeking specific drug or alcohol detox or rehab, women are more likely to get help from a mental health program. Still, women are more likely to get some type of help before men will.

Gender Differences in Recovery Success Rates

For women who enter a recovery program, their opportunity for success is greater than men. Research reveals that women in therapy gravitate toward nurturing men in substance abuse programs and as a result will neglect themselves because they are distracted by trying to “help” the men in the group.

Author's Bio: 

Lara Schuster writes for Gallus Medical Detox Centers. Gallus Detox provides safe drug and alcohol detox with customized IV therapy to comfortably alleviate withdrawal symptoms and patients are monitored 24/7 by ICU level nurses. This proven detox method was developed by Dr. Patrick Gallus after 15-plus years as an emergency room physician caring for alcohol and drug addicted patients. Gallus Medical Detox Centers features upscale private rooms, HDTV, Wi-Fi and personal massage. Patient confidentiality is always protected.