Addiction makes no distinction between genders. Substance use problems can affect both males and females. However, there are fundamental distinctions in how each gender is affected by addiction.

These differences are directly related to biological differences between men and women. Some drugs are more potent for one gender than the other.

Approximately 12% of American males aged 12 and above are currently taking drugs. In comparison, 7.3% of females in the same age group Males abuse illegal drugs and alcohol at a higher rate than females.

However, interesting data shows that women show more signs of addiction, drug use, and relapse than men do.

Let’s take a look at how the different addictions affect women.


When people use marijuana, women are more likely than men to have trouble remembering where things are. When women use cannabis, they are also more likely to have anxiety disorders and panic attacks, and they get these problems much faster than men.


Women take heroin in lesser amounts and for a shorter period of time than men. Women are also less likely than men to use heroin. They generally attribute injections to partner encouragement and social pressure.

In the first few years of injecting heroin, women may be more at risk of overdose fatalities. Those who continue to use after the first few years have a higher long-term survival rate than men.

How Do Women Experience Addiction Different Than Men?


Abuse of and addiction to opioids have also become epidemics, and women are much more likely than men to have this problem. Women account for more than 13.8% of opioid addiction and abuse, whereas men account for only 7.8%. Women had a greater rate of opioid overdose deaths. Because of prenatal opioid usage, more newborns are being born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

Cocaine and meth

Stimulants such as cocaine and meth are also commonly abused by both sexes. Women, on the other hand, have been shown to report their first use at substantially younger ages than men. Hormones play a significant role in the biological distinctions between male and female addictions.

To explain, women experience more amphetamine cravings and are more prone to relapse than males. Changes in their menstrual cycles and hormone production are most likely to blame.

Estrogen is important in the “reward” effects of stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine. As a result, women are more likely than men to become hooked on stimulants and consume higher amounts.

Why do women experience addiction differently from men?

Male and female biology is quite diverse, which is one of the main reasons why men and women react differently to drugs and alcohol. Stimulants make the blood vessels in women’s brains widen more than in men’s brains, which changes how their minds work. 

Women also become more addicted to prescription medications. This is due, in part, to their biological makeup. The main reason is that women are more prone to chronic pain than men. This is the primary reason why women become hooked on prescription medications (pain relievers) for chronic pain.

Treating addiction in women

Women’s drug addiction disorders are statistically more stigmatized than men’s. In a drug treatment program, men are more likely to receive specialized care. There are numerous barriers that women may face when obtaining specialist drug therapy

Lower-income, the need for childcare, and the prospect of pregnancy are all examples. Loss of custody of a child, social shame, and punishments from a partner are all things that can stop women from getting help.

Every client, whether male or female,  who walks through the doors of the Robert Alexander Center for Recovery in Kentucky receives a treatment that is evidence-based, individualized, and supportive. 

We are aware that there is no silver bullet or treatment that can be considered universally effective for addiction disorder. Individuals are where our attention is directed. In order to assure the client’s long-term success in recovery from substance misuse, we create individualized treatment plans for each patient. 
We are here for you from the moment you first call, through the entire intake process, and even after you have been discharged. The staff at the Robert Alexander Center for Recovery in Kentucky cares about you and the people closest to you, and we are here to assist you in finding a recovery from drug and alcohol misuse that is long-lasting and sustainable.

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