The Role of Gender in Mental Health

Substance Dependence

Prolonged use of substances like alcohol and drugs can lead to mental and physical dependence, which affects one’s health and behavior. About 1 in 12 women and around 1 in 5 men will develop alcohol dependence during their lives. Substance abuse doesn’t have to involve alcohol or illicit drugs. In fact, prescription pill abuse is one of the fastest growing causes of dependence. Similar gender differences have been found in the spread of drug abuse and dependence. Mental health problems like depression can spur abuse, and abuse can, in turn, affect mental health risks. Additionally, people with certain chronic conditions like MS report higher rates of substance use, perhaps as a means of coping. Substance abusers are also more likely to engage in risky behavior and be hospitalized or jailed. Considering the effect that abuse and dependence can have on one’s health, it is important to seek support and treatment.

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Review Date: 
April 11, 2014

Last Updated:
July 1, 2014