For starters, is there a difference between drug use between men and women?

In a word; yes.

As the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states rather bluntly; “men are more likely than women to use almost all types of illicit drugs, and illicit drug use is more likely to result in emergency department visits or overdose deaths for men than for women”.

Furthermore, “for most age groups, men have higher rates of use or dependence on illicit drugs and alcohol than do women”.

Back in 2011, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that “men aged 18 or older have almost twice the rate of substance dependence as adult women”.

In addition to drug abuse, men also have more issues with alcohol use than women. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) noting:

  • The prevalence of binge drinking and heavy alcohol use was 29.7% for men and 22.2% for women in 2019
  • 9 million men suffer from alcohol use disorder compared to 5.5 million women
  • 68,000 men die from alcohol-related causes every year in comparison to 27,000 women

These are clearly some pretty stark and sobering discrepancies between the sexes concerning substance use and abuse.

What Are the Signs of Drug Use to Look For?

The signs of drug use in men can vary a bit depending on which drug they’re taking but in general, there are many common signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for:

  • Sudden changes in weight, either gaining or losing
  • Difficulty sleeping and/or insomnia
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Diminished care for personal hygiene, i.e., body odors, not shaving, wearing dirty clothing
  • Poor coordination
  • Issues with teeth
  • Scratching skin or changes to the skin
  • Increasingly secretive
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Aggression
  • Lethargy
  • Shift in friends or peers to a more questionable group of people
  • Failing to meet responsibilities at work, school or home
  • Decreased interest in activities or hobbies that used to bring joy
  • Spending a disproportionate amount of time seeking, using or recovering from drugs
  • Financial trouble or borrowing money
  • Involved in criminal activity to fund drug habit
  • Using despite the clear negative consequences
  • Inability to quit despite genuine efforts to do so

As you can tell, there’s quite a bit that will change in a man’s life when drugs begin to take over. These signs and symptoms may appear one at a time, innocent and innocuous at first, but left unchecked can quickly metastasize into a full-blown addiction right under your nose.

How to Get Help With a Drug Addiction

Getting help with a substance use disorder is possible and even the most severe drug addictions are treatable.

Addiction is defined by NIDA as a “chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. It is considered a brain disorder because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control. Those changes may last a long time after a person has stopped taking drugs.”

Undoing those functional changes so to speak takes time and the key is to not only dedicate the appropriate time but also to utilize the right resources to help you or your loved one get back on track. Rehab is an approach that has worked wonders for men for decades and can truly be a gamechanger in the process of reclaiming your life from drug abuse.

At Valley Recovery Center, our all men’s rehab offers 30-, 60- and 90-day residential treatment programs that are built around your needs.

Each program is totally individualized and customized.

The beauty of the residential treatment is that it really allows you to focus squarely on recovery, removing any distractions or triggers from your view.

To learn more about our programs, reach out to us today.


Photo Gallery