Mental Health and Addiction in Men

Written by Robert Castan | Edited By Editorial Team

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Mental Health and Addiction in Men

More often than not, men tend to use illegal drugs and abuse alcohol more than women. The 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicates that men are more likely than women to abuse marijuana, heroin, alcohol, and prescription drugs. Men are not only more likely to rely on drugs or alcohol, but they are also at a higher risk of facing comorbidity.

More than half (52%) of people with both a substance use disorder and another mental illness are men. Experts have found that problems with mental health and addiction in men are likely greater than reported as men experiencing emotional pain are “more likely to react with anger, self-destructive behavior, self-distraction, or numbing of pain with substance use, gambling, womanizing, and workaholism.” The stigma in America that suggests men are weak if they show emotion or pain is pushing millions – 4.1 million, to be exact – to find solace in addiction.

Mental Health and Addiction in Men by Substance

While men and women face similar mental health issues, like depression and anxiety, how the two genders deal with the symptoms of those problems is drastically different. More than 6 million men suffer daily from depression each year, but rather than report feelings of sadness or inadequacy, they chalk the emotions up to fatigue, irritability, and loss of interest in work or hobbies.

More than 3 million American men have panic disorders, agoraphobia (fear of places or situations that may induce panic) or any other phobia. Roughly 1.15 million men are affected by bipolar disorder. Ninety percent of people diagnosed with schizophrenia by the age of 30 are men. These mental disorders, among others, are often why a dual diagnosis Arizona rehab facility is sought out. When men seek treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, they need someone who will help them with their addiction while also coping with their mental illness.

Men and Alcohol

Roughly one in five men will develop a dependency on alcohol during their lifetime. Men are nearly twice as likely as women to develop alcoholism and research shows it’s partially due to the release of dopamine in the brain. The “feel-good” hormone the body releases during exercise, moments of pleasure, and other happy events in life is released more powerfully in men when alcohol is consumed. Partner the feeling of relaxation with the mental health challenges millions of men face, and the dependency on alcohol increases until binge drinking is a regular activity.

Men and Marijuana

Marijuana use disorder is associated with an increased risk of at least one other mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety. While both men and women are at risk for comorbidity when it comes to marijuana use, men who are addicted to the drug have higher rates of other substance use problems. They may also experience antisocial personality disorders. Dual diagnosis Arizona drug treatment facilities must treat each of the problems together in order to obtain a full recovery.

Men and Opioids

While women are more likely to rely on opioids, like prescription pain pills, for emotional or physical pain relief, men are more likely to become highly addicted. Men turn to and stay addicted to heroin longer than their female counterparts, and ultimately, suffer fatal overdoses nearly twice as often. In 2017, some 32,337 men died of an opioid-related overdose compared to 15,263 women.

How Substance Abuse Interacts with Mental Health

Mental health and addiction in men are two different health issues that must be diagnosed separately but treated through integrated intervention. At SpringBoard Recovery, a highly rated dual diagnosis Arizona drug addiction treatment facility, we take the time and proper steps to recognize both the mental health concerns and substance abuse.

Dual diagnosis deserves committed, intense treatment from qualified drug rehabilitation specialists. SpringBoard Recovery Center focuses on underlying mental health disorders while treating patients affected by drug or alcohol addiction. Our specialists understand that seeking treatment for any mental or substance abuse issue is more challenging for men.

The pressure of social norms, continuously downplaying symptoms, and reluctance to talk about stressful life events mean men are less likely than women to seek help for depression and other mental health issues as well as substance abuse. Only 1 in 4 men who suffer from depression speak with a mental health professional, and just one-third will take prescribed medication for depression. When left untreated, mental health problems not only drive many men to alcohol or substance abuse, but the effects of the drugs worsen their mental health.

Dual Diagnosis Arizona Treatment

The theory that you or a loved one cannot be treated for depression because of alcohol or drug dependency is outdated. SpringBoard Recovery is a leader in drug and alcohol treatment that specializes in co-occurring disorders. The stigma that men can’t accept or seek help because it’s a sign of weakness is overcome by our highly skilled addiction specialists who treat both issues at once.

We take the time to explain the way each condition affects the other and how our dual diagnosis treatment plan addresses each issue. Treatment planning should not be the same for everyone. By customizing plans for mental health and substance addiction in men, SpringBoard Recovery breaks the cycle by addressing both conditions.


  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2016/NSDUH-DetTabs-2016.pdf
  • JAMA Network: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/1733742
  • Mental Health America: https://www.mhanational.org/infographic-mental-health-men
  • Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101018112308.htm
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/substance-use-in-women/sex-gender-differences-in-substance-use
  • KFF: https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/opioid-overdose-deaths-by-gender/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D
  • Help Guide: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/addictions/substance-abuse-and-mental-health.htm
  • MedlinePlus: https://medlineplus.gov/dualdiagnosis.html#:~:text=A%20person%20with%20dual%20diagnosis,their%20lives%20and%20vice%20versa.
  • American Psychiatric Association: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression
  • Behavioral Health Evolution: http://www.bhevolution.org/public/cooccurring_overview.page

  • Author: Robert Castan

    Robert Castan is a member of the Executive Leadership Team at SpringBoard Recovery. Robert started his professional career as a house manager and has become an industry leader and trusted voice in the treatment world. He brings extensive knowledge of organizational growth, industry-leading outcomes, and comprehensive marketing to SpringBoard Recovery. Robert has been walking his own path of recovery for over 10 years. This path has truly driven his ambition to help make treatment available to others who are struggling with addiction. Robert finds great joy in traveling and keeping physically active, with an emphasis on biking. Robert resides in Arizona with his husband and two four-legged children.   The U.S. Alcohol Crisis, Still Deadlier Than the Opioid Epidemic   Zombies and Other Future Threats to the Health of American Youth Dire Mental Health: A Catalyst for Post-Pandemic Drug Addiction The Benefits of Rehab Center Staff Working Their Own Recovery Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm Robert Castan on Successful Addiction Treatment and Entrepreneurship Castan: The road less traveled of addiction & recovery in Scottsdale Opioids & COVID Driving Phoenix’s Rising Fatal Drug Overdoses Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm Successful Addiction Treatment Programs & Entrepreneurship

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