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The National Alliance on Mental Illness, for example, states that depression is twice as common in females as in males.Prescription painkillers, tranquilizers, and alcohol are common drugs of abuse among people who suffer from mood disorders and anxiety.The frequency of psychiatric conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, anorexia, and bulimia — all of which are associated with an increased risk of substance abuse — among women may be partly responsible for their vulnerability to chemical dependence and addiction.
Nationwide studies confirm that even though addiction develops more commonly in women, more men enter rehab at specialized treatment facilities.
The 2014 TEDS Report includes the following statistics: Studies of drug addiction treatment show that drug abuse patterns vary not only by gender, but also by age.
The study of how gender influences drug addiction is relatively new. Anderson, Ph D, points out in Drug Use and Gender, male drug abuse set the standard for addiction studies until the 1980s.
At that time, researchers began to investigate the specific ways that drug abuse affected females.
The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicated that close to 12 percent of American males age 12 and older were currently using illegal drugs, compared with just over 7.3 percent of females in the same age group.
Multi-drug use was also more common in males than in females.In addition, women face more obstacles to treatment, including lower incomes, the possibility of pregnancy, and the need for childcare.In addition, women may be more prone to hiding their substance abuse out of fear of social stigma, loss of child custody, or repercussions from a partner or spouse.Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) suggests that more males use drugs at an earlier age not because they are more susceptible to substance abuse, but because they have more opportunities.Teenage males are more likely to be exposed to drugs through their peer group than teenage girls, who are often introduced to drugs by boys.When they do get help, women are less likely than men to receive care at a specialized drug treatment facility.Instead, they are often treated by primary care providers or through mental health programs.The same journal reports that a higher percentage of young adult females are addicted to cocaine or to prescription medications — even though males in that age group abuse those drugs more frequently and take them in larger amounts.Disturbingly, recent statistics show that overdose deaths among women are increasing, especially among females who abuse prescription opioids.Why do women respond differently to the effects of drugs?The specific reason for these differences is still being investigated.