Addiction Patterns Relative To Gender

Addiction does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, rich or poor, successful or struggling, or of any particular ethnicity. If a person begins to use drugs or alcohol to the point where it creates unmanageability in their lives, chances are they have developed addiction patterns that can result in a lot of trauma. Though several predispositions determine the overall rate of addiction across the board, gender is one characteristic that has significant attributes. 

Substance Abuse in Adolescents

Substance abuse usually starts in the adolescent years. Although this time is latent with experimentation, adolescents’ drugs are more illicit than they were even a decade ago and more addictive. Studies have shown that although men have a higher percentage of addiction rate than women overall, during the adolescent years, more girls from the ages of 12-20 have a higher risk of abusing alcohol, prescription opioids, and stimulants. 


Throughout a lifetime, men are almost three times more likely to suffer from alcoholic tendencies than women. One in five men are likely to develop alcoholic patterns and tend to drink in larger quantities. Women only have a 7-12% chance of developing a long-term problem; however, their bodies’ damage tends to be longer-term and tends to generate more prolonged drinking patterns with less alcohol. There is also the added risk of drinking while pregnant and creating long term health defects for their fetus. 


Starting as adolescence, women begin using amphetamines like cocaine and methamphetamine in larger quantities and more frequently than their male counterparts. Although, in later years, the gender difference balances out, women are more likely to use larger quantities than men. The difference is both a physiological difference to sensitivity that stems in their brain and the preconceived societal notion that they need and depend on outside substances to give them the energy to take on work and home life. 

Marijuana and Tobacco

More men than women use marijuana, and they start at an earlier age. Women will have longer brain abnormalities than men due to their effects. Mental health plays a role in both genders. Women tend to use marijuana to deal with anxiety, while men utilize it for antisocial personality disorders. The same goes for smoking cigarettes. More men than women will develop a nicotine dependence, and men are likely to smoke more cigarettes daily than women. 

Although addiction does not discriminate, it is essential to look at underlying risks that could propel drug and alcohol use. Social pressures, economic status, and mental health are just three contributing factors- but others such as age, genetics, and family history can also play a role. 

Those who suffer from addiction or alcoholism did not ask to develop a problem. The addict’s brain became dependent on the imbalance and rush of serotonin and dopamine that the use of these substances provides. Although men more commonly use drugs, women tend to develop longer-term health risks, overdose, and relapse at a higher rate than men. 

Although, patients and families can perceive it as a painful and scary process, addiction patterns have saved many lives and healed families. Music City Interventions offers a confidential, professional, and caring approach to intervention services for families and their loved ones affected by addiction or alcoholism in Nashville or across the US. Our goal in alcohol and drug addiction treatment is to discreetly and effectively work with our clients through loving confrontation and intervention for the suffering addict. Call today, and start on the right path for recovery.