Addiction manifests differently in men versus women, which makes treatment more difficult.

What to Know

Recent studies are showing that gender may affect how we experience addiction. For example, as a result of biological and social differences, men are more likely to develop an addiction because of social pressures. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to use illicit substances privately for self-medication.

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What to Do

Educate yourself about the differences in how addiction manifests in men versus women, so that you can focus on treatments that are most relevant to you. Because the majority of early addiction research focused exclusively on male test subjects, it is especially important for women to get the facts about how gender may affect addiction susceptibility, recovery, and risk of relapse.

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We now have information about how to better treat addiction by avoiding gender pitfalls. Develop a treatment plan that supports the aspects of addiction relevant to your gender—for example, social pressures for men versus self-medication for women—to increase your chances of recovery.