Addiction in Men
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Addiction in Men
Addiction is a debilitating condition that can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender. Still, there are some differences in how and why addiction affects different sets of the population.
While addiction is an issue for both men and women, it can have different effects and causes. These differences can be due to the perceived role of men and women in our society, expectations, and assumptions about each gender. We take a holistic approach when treating clients – we look at the whole picture of their life. Taking gender into consideration is just one part of this.
Some men fear pressure and possible discrimination from the rest of society if they feel they don’t fit into the traditional male role. Our relationship with ourselves plays a vital role in understanding why we use substances.
When we begin to understand the particular challenges that men face, we can best help them.
The male stereotype is one of toughness, independence, and a stone-like, stoic attitude to life. Of course, this is just a stereotype. It does not reflect the broad spectrum of what it is to be a man. Still, many men struggle to fit into this stereotype, often due to fear of discrimination and exclusion from others.
When faced with stress and overwhelm, a lot of men find it difficult to ask for help. Further, from childhood, men are taught that emotional vulnerability and asking for help are inappropriate. This creates many problems as boys grow into adolescence and adulthood and face the emotional and relational struggles that are a normal part of life.
When men think that being vulnerable and asking for help is weak, they tend to suppress their problems. Men may not know where to turn when faced with stress. As a result, many men may turn to substance use to mask or escape from their feelings.
Some feelings may feel confusing or uncomfortable because men may not have learned to accept their feelings. Substances then seem appealing because they offer some temporary altered state in which a man finds relief from complex and confusing emotions.
Any relief gained from using substances is, of course, temporary. The relief or escape subsides, and a man may once again find himself struggling. He will use more substances to continue to cope and in greater frequency and dosage as the body builds up a tolerance to the drug.
Living one’s life with the aid of substances, especially those not prescribed by a medical professional and not taken with care and safety, makes it hard to function normally and healthily in each of the roles that men take on throughout their life span. Substance use impacts our ability to be a healthy father for our children, a loving husband for our partner, a healthy son to our parents, and a loving brother.
Once a pattern of substance abuse emerges. It can be challenging for men to know where to look for help. Men are typically less open about their feelings and emotions than women. According to SAMHSA, asking for help can feel like a weakness and may be met with further feelings of fear, guilt, shame, and inadequacy.
Symptoms of Addiction in Men
The following are some general signs and symptoms of addiction in men. If you suspect that an addiction has developed in you or a loved one, consider the following signs. This is not an extensive list but a general overview of how addiction can manifest in daily life.
- Sudden, drastic behavioral changes
- Mood swings
- Neglect of personal hygiene and grooming
- Changes to standard sleep patterns
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Glassy eyes, runny nose (depending on the type of drug used)
- Secrecy about whereabouts and spending money
- Failed attempts to stop using a given substance
Men who struggle with substance addiction are also more likely to experience maladaptive anger. According to SAMHSA, this can manifest as aggression and violent outbursts toward both themselves and those around them.
Anger is a powerful emotion and often arises out of feelings of fear and confusion. Given the struggles men face regarding vulnerability and emotional acceptance, it is not surprising that anger and aggressive behavior increase alongside substance use.
Common Drugs of Abuse in Men
There are certain substances most often abused by men. Understanding which substances men use most often is important because it informs the risk of polydrug use. It also informs how to treat it best.
Alcohol is one of the most common drugs of abuse in both men and women worldwide. Despite its legal status, alcohol is a dangerous drug with a high potential for abuse. Among men, there is a stereotype that one should ‘handle’ or ‘take’ alcohol well. SAMHSA reports that men have much higher rates of alcohol use and episodes of binge drinking than women.
Other than alcohol, cannabis is one of the most widely used drugs worldwide. Cannabis use is growing among all demographics. People take it for its mild euphoric and relaxing properties. Despite its apparent positive qualities, cannabis is also frequently misused. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that more men than women use and abuse cannabis.
Opioids and Opiates
Opiates are a type of drug derived from the poppy plant and include substances such as heroin and methadone. Opioids are synthetic substances such as fentanyl and oxycodone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more men die from opioid-related overdose than women.
Stimulant drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine are some of the most commonly abused drugs among the male population. Stimulant drugs hijack the body. They take over processes that are typically governed and regulated by the body, such as heart rate and blood pressure. Research has found that men are twice as likely as women to abuse stimulants.
Change Your Life Today
Addiction Treatment for Men
At Detox West Tennessee, we offer addiction treatment programs, including detoxification and rehabilitation, designed specifically for men. We also provide female-specific treatment. We provide gender-specific treatment to help clients receive targeted treatment.
Recovery programs require a compassionate understanding of the client, so we tailor our programs based on our clients’ specific needs and challenges.
Our male-specific treatment programs address and provide for the physical, emotional, and mental health needs that affect men.
Benefits of Male-Specific Treatment
Starting an addiction treatment program can be daunting. You may feel overwhelmed and vulnerable as you begin to open up about your experiences and receive the support you need. Receiving compassionate support can feel strange at first because it may be the first time you have opened up about your deepest issues.
We understand that it can be frightening to be seen so open and vulnerable. Here at the center, compassion and non-judgment are a priority. Soon after beginning treatment, many of our male clients start to feel comfortable with their vulnerability and come to understand how important that vulnerability is on the road to recovery.
Treatment is entirely confidential. It can be scary to think others know our business, especially if we’re scared of being vulnerable. We assure our clients that we will maintain their privacy.
Recognition of Strength
Strength is a term that is often misused, especially regarding men and their experience of emotion. Here at the center, we emphasize to our male clients that the strength it took to acknowledge the issue and enter treatment is far greater than the perceived strength of holding back on one’s emotions and trying to get through this difficult time alone.
Compassionate support improves treatment outcomes. In our male-specific treatment programs, we encourage family and spouse involvement, as long as the client is willing to accept that support. We understand that it can be difficult for men to let their loved ones in on treatment. Still, knowing that they have the support of their loved ones can yield surprisingly positive outcomes.
What We Offer
At Detox West Tennessee, we help men affected by addiction break the physical and mental hold of substances and develop the skills and strategies necessary to remain sober.
The first step in each of our programs is a medically supervised detox. Detoxification refers to the process of eliminating toxic chemicals from the body. Clients must undergo detoxification before beginning addiction rehabilitation because substances in the system can hinder the recovery process. Medical experts lead the detox program. Clients are safe and supported around the clock.
We also arrange for appropriate aftercare to help clients stay focused on their recovery. Sober support after treatment increases one’s chances of a successful recovery by reducing the risk of relapse.
If you are a man struggling with addiction or have a male loved one who is struggling, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. Seeking professional help is a necessary step on the path back to health and quality of life.
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