Learn Whether Gender Matters in Addiction Recovery

Addiction has historically been seen as a man’s problem, not one that typically affects women. Recently, addiction research has focused attention on the differing impact addiction has on women and men. Women and men process the experience differently and often need different support mechanisms to get through addiction recovery. Learn more about whether gender really matters in treating addiction in men and women.

Who’s Affected

Men and women are both impacted by drug and alcohol addiction. Men are twice as likely as women to meet criteria for drug addiction though rates of prescription drug abuse are nearly equal. Men are more likely to struggle with alcohol abuse at a rate of about three times that of women.

Risk Factors

The risk factors affecting men and women vary depending on the individual while gender differences do show up as well. Women are more likely to self-medicate emotional and psychological issues. Anxiety, depression and borderline personality disorder are more common among women which can increase the risk of drug use. Men are more often affected by antisocial personality disorder which can have an impact on drug or alcohol use.

Stressors for Women

Some common stressors for women that may lead to alcohol and drug abuse include:

  • Relationships
  • Childhood trauma
  • Stress
  • Parental drug use
  • Home environment
  • Victimization


Everyone suffers with addiction. In a comparison of men versus women, they both suffer serious medical, social and psychiatric consequences. Women progress more rapidly than men from dependence to treatment in a shorter period of time. Women risk specific consequences men do not including lung cancer and heart attack risks from smoking as well as victimization, abuse, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Barriers to Treatment

Men and women face equal barriers to treatment but women are less like to seek help due to concerns over child care options, lack of social support and responsibilities at home or work. These barriers make it hard for women to find ways to engage in the process of recovery.

Once women find a place to seek treatment, both men and women are comparable in terms of abstinence and relapse rates with women gaining a slight upper hand. Like men, women may benefit from services which are sensitive to specific needs including group or family therapy, parenting education, treatment for mental disorders and other approaches.


The Villa supports men and women in finding the best pathway to recovery. Each person is provided with a great opportunity to thrive and succeed in recovery regardless of gender. Call us to find out how to get started.