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Why are men more likely to develop addictions?

Men are statistically twice as likely to become frequent drug users or develop an alcohol dependency than women. In this blog, Port of Call asks: how can we help more men to access addiction treatment? Port of Call is here to help you find the right rehab or to offer you advice and guidance about your addictions.

Every November the Movember campaign encourages men to ‘change the face of men’s health’ by growing a moustache, raising much-needed awareness and funds for some of the biggest health issues faced by men today. The campaign’s main areas of focus are prostate cancer, testicular cancer, physical inactivity and poor mental health.

Mens mental health

The shocking statistics surrounding men’s mental health is that an average of 13 men commit suicide every day in the UK. According to men’s charity the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), male suicide accounted for 76% of all suicides in 2014 and is the single biggest cause of death in men under 45 in the UK.

Mental health and addiction

Is alcohol addiction a mental illness? Well, addiction is often linked with mental health problems. If you have an addiction problem it may have started as a way to cope with feelings that you felt unable to deal with in any other way. When you have both a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue (such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety) it is called a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis.

In a dual diagnosis, both the mental health issue and the drug or alcohol addiction have their own unique symptoms. These can get in the way of your ability to function, handle life’s difficulties and relate to others. To make matters worse, the co-occurring disorders can also affect each other and interact.

When a mental health issue goes untreated, the substance addiction usually gets worse as well. If alcohol or drug abuse increases, mental health problems usually increase too.

Men are twice as likely to develop drug and alcohol addictions

According to The Guardian’s British Drugs Survey 2014, there are approximately one million Britons who have had a problem with drugs and still use them. Of those, male drug users are twice as likely as women to develop a problem at some stage (18% and 9% respectively). Meanwhile, the NHS estimates that around 9% of British men show signs of alcohol dependence, compared to 4% of UK women.

While we can’t make sweeping statements that mental health and addiction statistics amongst men are indelibly linked, it certainly isn’t a leap of the imagination to suggest that there might be a certain degree of overlap. What is for certain is that men are generally less inclined to talk about their problems, which is why the Movember campaign is so crucial if we are to break down those barriers.

The problem with keeping emotions bottled up however is that sometimes this can prompt people to mask their feelings, or seek oblivion, through drugs and alcohol. Port of Call would like to stress that there is an alternative route to drinking and using: talking. Our free and confidential hotline can be a genuine outlet for change and advice. Our advisers are there to listen, offer impartial advice, and get you the treatment you need as efficiently as possible.

For the sake of your mental health, as well as your physical and emotional wellbeing, give us a call today.

Make us your first Port of Call. If you, or a loved one, are dealing with addiction we can help you to access the right addiction help at the right time. Whether you think you may need drug or alcohol rehab, take the first step today by speaking to one of our advisers for free on 08000029010.

About the author: Alex Molyneux

Alex is our admissions team leader. Over the last 5 years he has spoken with more than 10,000 people via our helpline and has organised over 1,000 detox and rehabilitation placements.

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