How Addiction Affects Men

While men and women share similar behaviors and symptoms while undergoing addiction recovery, there are some significant differences between how the two sexes handle their recovery. For example, a scholarly article featured in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that, while women in recovery experienced more shame and depression than their male counterparts, men were more prone to feelings of detachment. Men may also have many different reasons for substance abuse than women. 

At Choice House, we focus on helping men in their addiction recovery process. Our facility focuses on how addiction affects men specifically and how we can help. Of course, we don’t want to diminish the struggles women and gender non-specific people have with addiction as everyone can experience the same effects of substance use. However, we want to focus on how addiction can affect men, specifically. 

Addiction is More Common in Men

While the gap is quickly diminishing, addiction is more common among men. It has been found that around six percent of women have gone through an addiction, while men around 11% percent of men have experienced one. According to this research, men are more susceptible to addiction than women, but why is this? There is no one explanation, but it could have something to do with the biological differences between the two genders. 

For the most part, men are larger than women and thus require more of a substance to start feeling its effects. This, in turn, can cause men to spend more money on their substance of choice and experience a more severe addiction. Men are also more likely to use substances to help with social situations, explaining why addiction is more prevalent. 

Men Are More Likely to Use Illicit Drugs

There are certain drugs that men are more likely to use than women. Opioid abuse, for example, is more prevalent in men. There have also been many more cases of men dying from an opioid overdose compared to women. Opioids can include drugs like heroin, codeine, oxycodone, and more. 

Alcohol abuse and addiction are also more common in men. Alcohol use can be related to peer pressure; however, men and women can experience similar peer pressure types. It has recently been shown that there is less difference between the number of men and the number of women who abuse alcohol. Women are also more likely to binge drink than men, which means drinking a lot of alcohol within a short period. 

Lastly, men are more likely to abuse marijuana than females. Male marijuana smokers are more likely to use the drug daily. On the other hand, women have been found to experience marijuana abuse symptoms, like panic attacks, more than males. 

Recovery for Men

The recovery process may be different for men. For example, men experience stronger alcohol withdrawal symptoms than women, making it harder for some to control their addiction. 

Men are less likely to put themselves in treatment, which can be caused by several reasons, including the stigma surrounding it or the fact that many men want to help take care of their families. Some men also have a hard time opening up to the idea of addiction treatment as it requires them to show emotional vulnerability. However, men seem to have an easier time after treatment as they are less likely to go through a relapse than women. 

Stigma surrounding men can affect when or if they seek treatment. Many men are raised to believe that emotions aren’t “manly.” As men learn that vulnerability is a “womanly” thing, they may not even know how to express their feelings. Recovery requires you to look deep into yourself and your past to experience healing. However, this can be frightening for many and may be why men do not seek treatment. 

Why Gender-Specific Recovery is Good for Some Men

While some men have no trouble going through addiction recovery treatment that isn’t gender-specific, some find it easier to go through recovery alongside other men. It can be more comfortable for some men to open up about their thoughts and emotions while among other men. Gender-specific treatment programs can also be more tailored to the temperament of men. 

Additionally, some men find recovering in an environment without the opposite sex to be less distracting. Focusing on women and relationships in early recovery can be dangerous. When your attention is fixated on the opposite sex, you may not focus solely on your treatment and doing your best to heal. Gender-specific treatments have been more effective when keeping men clean and sober even after treatment, meaning less chance of relapse for some. 

No matter what your reasons, Choice House can provide you with the gender-specific recovery that you need. 


Struggling with addiction can affect anyone, no matter your gender, race, or sexuality. However, there are ways that substance abuse seems to affect men, specifically. At Choice House, we provide an environment for men that focuses on outdoor activities as a means of addiction recovery. We are located in the beautiful city of Boulder, Colorado, allowing us access to some of the best spots for hiking, skiing, fishing, and much more. At our sober living facility, we host various programs that are all designed to help you overcome your addiction. We also focus on making sure that you are prepared to avoid relapse after leaving Choice House. Going through addiction treatment can be frightening, but our trained professionals and supportive community will be there to help you every step of the way. Call Choice House at (720) 577-4422 for more information on our gender-specific treatment methods and how we can help you today. 

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