Men and women use substances and mental health issues can also plague both genders. Men are particularly high risk for addiction if they have certain conditions present. That does not mean they are going to be addicted to substances or experience mental health issues. It just means they are more likely to struggle and there are ways to both prevent and support those who are at risk.
Men are more likely to use multiple illegal substances than women. They are almost more likely to start as adolescents using multiple substances if they are at high risk. Higher doses of drugs may be used, as well, that keeps them engaged in binge drinking behavior, use of drugs and more. There are many reasons why men might use earlier and go for harder drugs than women, who gravitate more to alcohol or prescription medication.
The answers lie in both environmental issues along with biological differences for men and women. Men are more prone to substance use because they may also be more influenced by peers to try drugs. Depending on the situation, men can be with other guys who are using substances and decide to give it a try whereas women may keep it more hidden.
Reasons for Use
Men are still not seen as capable of reaching out for help to deal with their emotions or stress. Although this is not as true as it used to be, men are very highly emotional beings. They have feelings and thoughts that keep them from seeing a therapist. It may be they think that’s too weak or they should take more risks, so don’t want to see a therapist. Men may also be more at risk for mental health and addiction challenges if they:
- Have a family history
- Have mental health issues in the family
- Experienced childhood trauma or mental illness
- Were impoverished growing up
- Experienced neglect or abuse in the family
Substance abuse is a challenge for men who feel they cannot reach out to others for support. Not all men feel this way, but society can still perpetuate myths that men cannot find help for addiction. Drinking culture also drives behavior, where it is socially acceptable to drink on college campuses at parties, frats, and to go for ‘after work drinks’ but not deal with their emotions in a healthy way. Finding healthy outlets is key to success in recovery, but also prevention of substance use issues in the first place.
When a man shows signs of addiction, he likely has been burying those signs for awhile. They may be hidden or out in the open. The struggle is to find ways to cope with them in a healthy way. An intervention is one way families can support a loved one getting help. Another is seeking treatment with them. Family therapy should be part of the integrate process of therapy and healing for everyone. The family unit is always impacted by addiction and mental health issues. Dual diagnosis treatment is essential for men who struggle with mental health issues and need support for addiction.
At Alta Loma Transformational Living, we come up with a customized plan for you. Our goal is to support your journey of healing from addiction by giving you tools, resources, and support. If you are struggling with addiction, let us help with our dual diagnosis program for men. Call us today: 866-457-3843.