Top Ten Drugs That Work Differently In Men Then In Women
Research shows that drugs can be gender specific and affect mental and biological responses differently. Men and women have different vulnerabilities to different drugs for a variety of reasons. This article will explore how drugs can affect the sexes in unique ways.
Stimulant abuse among women causes dangerous changes in their brain volume, yet no significant changes are observed in men who abuse stimulants. According to new research, women will also be adversely affected in their ability to make critical decisions. Stimulants cause the brain’s grey matter to shrink in women and this affects learning, behavior, organization skills, habit formation and reward processing.
The effects of alcohol abuse negatively impact women more than men. Women are lacking an enzyme in the stomach that breaks down alcohol so the alcohol immediately goes into the bloodstream. Female alcoholics have higher rates of accidents, suicides and health issues than male alcoholics. Blood alcohol levels are higher in women who drink the same amount of alcohol as men. They can also develop more health issues like liver disease even if they drink less than men.
Studies show that women are more susceptible to abusing cannabis compared to men. They are also more sensitive to the THC component in cannabis because of the way it interacts with estrogen. Women may also acquire a tolerance to THC faster than men do.
Overall, women are shown to smoke less than men and they choose cigarettes with less nicotine content. They also have more difficulty trying to quit and experience more relapses. Women who smoke are more prone to lung, colon, cervix and ovarian cancer. They also have a higher risk of myocardial infarction than men who smoke and are more susceptible to disease of the cardiovascular system, thrombosis, lower bone density and early on-set menopause.
Men are shown to have higher blood concentrations of cocaine than women who take the same amount of the drug. Both sexes experience similar levels of impairment of memory, concentration and academic ability even when women are given larger amounts of cocaine than men. Women also had less abnormal blood flow in the prefrontal cortex of the brain than men who took the same amount of the drug.
Beer has a sedative effect on both sexes. It is made from hops which are considered a powerful estrogenic plant. The estrogen in hops is estradiol, which causes a drop in testosterone in men. It interferes with the testes’ ability to produce testosterone. The high presence of estrogen in beer also causes increased belly tissue and larger breasts. Men who are heavy beer drinkers can also experience erectile dysfunction.
Benzodiazepines must dissolve in lipids in the body to be able to cross from the bloodstream to the brain. Because women have more body fat than men the drug remains in their system longer and can cause toxicity and adverse effects at lower doses.
- Anabolic Steroids
Anabolic steroid abuse affects hormonal production in the body resulting in permanent damage. Men who use steroids will have a reduced production of sperm and will experience testicular atrophy. They may also develop male-pattern baldness and develop breasts.
Women who use steroids may experience a decrease in breast size and body fat. Their voice will deepen and the clitoris will enlarge. Women may also develop hair loss on the head but excessive hair growth on the body.
Opioid drugs are known to cause low testosterone levels and erectile dysfunction in men. Low testosterone in men will also cause fatigue, depression, hot flashes and night sweats. Men may also develop diminished muscle mass and osteoporosis. Women who use opioid drugs can stop menstruating and have a lower libido.
The use of Xanax can cause erectile dysfunction in men. Women who take Xanax will experience a decreased libido and the inability to achieve orgasm.
Gender specific drug testing was virtually non-existent until recently. For the safety of men and women, more drugs are being studied to learn the different effects on gender. Formulations and doses of the same drugs are beginning to change for women and men due to new research.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.