Men’s Health Month: Men and Addiction

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Men’s Health Month: Men and Addiction

Men and women are far from equal when it comes to addiction and addiction treatment. In fact, researchers are continually exploring gender differences in substance use disorder as well as other addictive behaviors. In honor of Men’s Health Month this June, we’re taking a look at a few key statistics and facts from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The National Institute on Drug Abuse regarding men and addiction and addiction treatment.

Share them with someone you love who may be struggling with alcohol or drug addiction or read them as a reminder to yourself that you’re not alone and gender-specific treatment is available.

  • Approximately 5 million men report past-year misuse of drugs or alcohol.
  • Men are four times more likely than women to be heavy drinkers and twice as likely to be alcohol dependent.
  • Men are more likely to develop a severe addiction disorder, more likely to exhibit co-occurring antisocial personality disorder, and abuse more than one substance.
  • Men begin using substances at an earlier age, and use more often.
  • Men are 2.3 times more likely than women to enter treatment for their addiction, but many enter via the criminal justice system.
  • Men are often struggling with emotional isolation, anger or aggression, sexual problems, narcissism, father/son relationships, spiritual disconnection during treatment.
  • Men are more likely to struggle with recovery roadblocks like pride and denial as well as relapse triggers including depression and anxiety.
  • More than half of men who struggle with addiction also have another mental illness, including depression, bipolar disorder and PSTD.
  • Men have nearly a four-fold increase in the risk of suicide while drinking.
  • Men are nine times more likely to die of alcohol-associated heart disease.
  • Men are more likely than women to drink excessively and are more likely than women to take other risks (e.g., drive fast or without a safety belt). This further increases their risk of injury or death.
  • Excessive alcohol use can interfere with testicular function and male hormone production resulting in impotence, infertility and reduction of facial and chest hair.
  • Alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver and colon in men.
  • Alcohol use by men increases the chances of engaging in risky sexual activity including unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, or sex with a partner at risk for sexually transmitted diseases.