Image Alt

San Diego Sober Living - Recovery

Understanding the Factors Behind Men’s Substance Abuse

In August 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the results of a longitudinal survey on alcohol use disorder (AUD) statistics compiled from 1999 to 2020. By evaluating information managed within the Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) database, CDC researchers noticed the AUD gender gap is narrowing, but males still account for 58% of individuals who went through recovery, and they continue to be 2.88 times more likely to develop fatal health issues from severe AUD. The same statistical model was applied to the WONDER database for other substance abuse conditions, and the results were similar in the sense that men outnumbered women.

Men Are More Susceptible to Substance Abuse

The mechanisms of addiction are the same for men and women. If we put a neurochemically identical couple in a controlled environment where they get drunk once a day, there’s a good chance they’ll develop AUD at the same time. If we replace ethanol with other substances, the results will be similar. What the statistics show is that American men are more vulnerable to substance abuse because of sociocultural reinforcement of inherent neurochemical differences. The factors are biological, social, and psychological.

Biological Factors Influence Substance Abuse Vulnerability

Testosterone, a predominantly male sex hormone, often increases the kind of risk-taking behavior that can contribute to substance use. Estrogen, on the other hand, is a predominantly female sex hormone that provides some protective qualities against addiction. The brain regions involved in reward and decision-making, which include the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, don’t operate the same in men and women. 


Then we have the larger body structures of males and more active enzyme processes that affect how substances are metabolized. At the risk of falling into cliches, most men can “hold their liquor” better because of their biological traits.

Social Factors Drive Men to Addiction

Here we have the main drivers of substance abuse among American men. Social pressures such as stoicism and emotional suppression often lead men to take substances that can help them handle negative emotions. 


Then we have the classic peer pressure factor, which is stronger than many people assume. Quite a few men struggle with systemic peer pressure that’s almost subliminal. They’re always trying to fit in or belong to groups where they feel validated, and this is how many end up turning to peers who also engage in substance abuse.

Psychological Factors Impact Substance Abuse

Low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy rank high on the list of psychological factors driving men to addiction. Societal pressures surrounding masculinity don’t contribute to the kind of healthy self-esteem that keeps people away from neurochemical addictions. The insecurities that stem from “failing to be a man,” which can range from not earning enough money to disappointing family members, are powerful drivers of substance abuse and dependence. When men enter Solana Beach sober living facilities as part of their recovery journeys, they get to experience daily life without such pressures, and they also learn to develop healthy coping mechanisms.


If you or someone you love is addicted to alcohol or drugs and needs help, call on the compassionate team at Casa Pacifica. Along with providing sober living housing for men in Solana Beach, we work with our individual residents to develop customized plans that integrate treatment, aftercare, and recovery support. Our services include sober companionship, coaching, and mentorship for those who are recovering from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. For more information about our sober living facilities, call us today.

Sober Living San Diego - Logo

Ask Questions?

    Or call us for more info: (760) 230 – 2996