Are men more likely to develop an addiction than women?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
Each year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration conducts the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The survey released in 2010 confirmed that men are more likely than women to use both illicit and legal drugs, including alcohol and tobacco.

Age affects these gender differences. The gender divide doesn't become apparent until after age 17. Experts don't know why gender differences do not emerge until people reach adulthood. It's possible that something happens to the brains of boys as they mature, perhaps making them more vulnerable to addiction. Alternatively, use trends might be changing such that, among the younger generation, both genders use drugs at more similar rates. In fact, historical data suggest that the gender gap among adults in addiction is closing.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.