How Men Experience Addiction

Men and women may begin using substances for similar reasons, but they experience addiction, mental health, and recovery differently. Men are driven to use substances for a range of reasons, including:

  • Body image issues.
  • Dissatisfaction with work or school.
  • Family history of substance abuse.
  • History of trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or physical, sexual, and verbal abuse.
  • Mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.

Substance Abuse Differences Between Genders

It doesn’t matter the age or race, men use alcohol and drugs in larger amounts and more often than women. In addition, they also start using substances for different reasons than women.

Men are more likely to use substances:

  • From an earlier age.
  • As part of male institutions and social rites of passage such as sports and fraternities.
  • Recreationally.
  • To boost performance at work or in school.
  • To self-medicate for military-related post-traumatic stress disorder.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking typically starts for men at an earlier age than women. It’s also more common in men and is likely to result in alcohol use problems. Therefore, men are five times more likely to develop a substance use disorder (SUD).


Although men are less likely to talk about it, many men are carrying the weight of childhood physical and sexual abuse. Or they may be a victim of a domestic partner currently. 


Men often feel extreme amounts of shame when dealing with emotional and substance abuse issues. This makes them less likely to find medical or behavioral health treatment for their problems. Furthermore, after men enter treatment, they often have difficulty talking about their emotions and how to deal with them properly. 

How Men Abuse Substances

Although drug abuse and addiction are critical problems for both men and women, there are some differences in how they use drugs, such as:

  • Men have generally higher rates of alcohol use. Except for adolescents and young adults (age 12-20) men drink and binge drink more than women.
  • Men use marijuana more.
  • Men with marijuana use disorders are more likely to abuse other drugs or have an antisocial personality disorder.
  • Men typically use larger amounts of heroin and are more likely to inject it.
  • Men disclose using illegal drugs more frequently than women.
  • Men are 2 to 3 times more likely to have drug abuse or dependence disorders.
  • Men are also more likely than women to use almost all types of illicit drugs, which results in more emergency department visits or overdose deaths for men rather than women. ”Illicit” means the use of illegal drugs including marijuana (according to federal law) and the misuse of prescription drugs.

Benefits of Men’s Rehab

The longer a person participates in treatment, and the more specialized that treatment is, the more favorable the outcome. Highly specialized men-only addiction treatment offers numerous advantages, including:

12-Step immersion

BRC Recovery utilizes a 12-Step immersion approach to treatment. We take great care in our community-based environment and programming that addresses the unique issues men face in accordance with the 12-Step philosophy.

Less time is spent discussing gender issues

Men and women both struggle with pressures related to work, family, relationships, and self-esteem, but those pressures are different. In gender-specific addiction treatment, men are recovering with other men who share similar personal issues and understand what it’s like to experience addiction as a man. Focusing on the male addiction experience makes for a more enriching fellowship.

There are fewer distractions

The treatment environment is one where clients can focus solely on recovery. With both genders present, the possibility of romantic distractions arises. A romantic relationship might be a pleasant diversion from the challenges you’re going through, but it’s still a distraction. For many people, gender-specific addiction treatment means one less distraction so clients can be fully immersed in healing.

It leads to more candid discussions

So much of recovery involves being vulnerable, which can be difficult to do if you don’t feel fully comfortable opening up in a group setting. There is safety and comfort in being surrounded by people who are similar to us. It enables men to discuss their experiences without fear of judgment or shame.

It establishes a peer network

A healthy, supportive peer network is crucial to maintaining recovery. Gender-specific treatment facilitates bonding and relationship-building both in and out of the traditional treatment environment. BRC clients participate in a range of recreational activities in Austin, TX.

The BRC Recovery Experience

At BRC Recovery, our Primary Treatment Men’s program accommodates up to 30 men ages 18 and older. The longer a man participates in a treatment program, the better chance he has of securing lasting sobriety. Our continuum of care spans 15 months and includes:

90-Day Primary Treatment Program

Our 90-day primary program is a residential treatment  program at our men’s rehab in Austin, Texas. After completing a detox in our detox center, you are ready for treatment in the 90-day program. In this program, you live at the treatment facility so you can fully involve yourself in your treatment without any of the distractions of the outside world. You will be safe and secure on our 70-acre property with 24-hour medical supervision to help you recover comfortably.

Treatment Methods

In treatment, you will participate in therapy services chosen specifically for you and your needs. These therapies include:

  • Individual Therapy – One-to-one confidential treatment sessions with your counselor. These sessions are meant to help you discover yourself and your reasons for using substances better.
  • Group Therapy – Group sessions can help you learn from other people in your peer group. They can offer support, different ways of looking at things, and information on how to handle difficult situations.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – Behavioral therapy is very effective in treating SUDs. You will learn how your inaccurate thinking affects your behavior, cope with stress, and improve relationships. 
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – DBT is a behavioral therapy that helps people who have difficulty regulating their emotions or are displaying self-destructive behaviors.
  • Family Counseling – Family Therapy helps families mend the broken relationships that often occur in the families of people with substance use disorders.

All-male group therapy has proven to be highly effective, and structured activities with other men can provide necessary peer support. Individual therapy with a positive male role model as well as female clinicians who can exemplify appropriate female-male relationships are also helpful in the recovery process.

90-day Men’s Rehab Transitional Living Program

Leaving the structure and security of the treatment facility can be a challenging and frightening prospect for many people. Our 90-day transitional living program is a safe way to step into sober living while still retaining the support and help of your counselor and a recovery manager.

12-month Men’s Rehab Aftercare Monitoring Program

As a way to increase your chances for a continuing successful recovery, we have a monitoring program for the year after completing treatment. In this program, we monitor your drug or alcohol use through testing and check your attendance at 12-step meetings. 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Many people with a mental health disorder also have a substance abuse disorder and vice versa. It’s common for people of either sex to try to treat their illness with substance abuse. And sometimes, substance abuse can increase the likelihood for certain mental illnesses. It’s a complicated cycle, and requires professional evaluation and treatment. 

If a person has a mental disorder and a substance use disorder at the same time, it’s called a dual diagnosis. The two disorders feed off each other so they need to be treated at the same time, preferably by the same treatment team. 

Common Mental Health Disorders for Men

The most common mental health disorders in men are the ones that go undiagnosed and untreated, thanks to our society’s attitudes toward mental health. Regardless, the most commonly diagnosed mental health issues for men (besides substance abuse or dependence) are:

  • Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Depression

These disorders more often co-occur with alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism.

Permanent Recovery is Possible at Our Men’s Rehab in Austin, Texas

If you are interested in finding  treatment for yourself, your son, nephew, grandson or another man in your life, look for a men’s rehab that addresses substance use disorders, effective communication training, skills for managing difficult emotions, and treatment of any underlying mental issues. This can all be found at BRC Recovery men’s rehab in Austin, Texas. 

BRC Recovery’s community-driven atmosphere and 12-Step Immersion Program fosters accountability and effects change, even among men who have relapsed or consider themselves treatment-resistant. For more information about how our gender-specific program can help you achieve lasting sobriety, call us today.


Call us today for more information about how our gender-specific program can help you achieve lasting sobriety