Drug and alcohol relapse among men and women

Looking at potential causes for drug and alcohol relapse among men and women

In a study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, Dr. Robert Fiorentine and his colleagues found that women drug abusers were less likely than men drug abusers to relapse after entering a drug and alcohol rehab program because women were seen as participating more frequently in group counseling. It was this intense level of drug and alcohol rehab engagement which then helped them to remain drug-free [source].

Of course, when looking at reasons why men and women experience drug and alcohol relapse after going through a treatment program, numerous other factors come into play such as:

  • emotional trauma
  • personal relationships with friends, family members and/or spouses
  • past childhood abuse/trauma
  • depression
  • other situational and environmental factors

Challenges that may prevent women from entering drug and alcohol rehab

Women face a number of challenges when it comes to seeking help for their addiction and/or entering a drug and alcohol rehab center. For some, it is the stigma that is automatically attached to drug and alcohol addiction. For others, seeking rehab at a reputable rehab center is out of the question as there are concerns over whether entering rehab will cause the loss of custody over a child. For other women who may be pregnant, there is the uncertainty that they will even be admitted to a rehab facility for their addiction.

As many women are the primary caretakers of children, special consideration must be taken in order to account for items that most adult male residents don’t have to deal with such as: pregnancy, child custody, medical and mental health services and other services involving women with children.

The hardest part is taking that next step to get help

Past and present research indicates that once admitted into a drug and alcohol rehab program, both men and women seem to have an equally positive experience at gaining the skills set for learning how to maintain sobriety; and most will stick it out through the completion of the rehab program. However, often what is the most difficult is recognizing that an addict has a problem and then working to gain admissions into a reputable rehab program.

At BRC Recovery, we’re here to help you or your loved one overcome their addiction. Whether you’re an adult male addict or a recovering female addict, we have all of the tools necessary to get you back on the path to sobriety.

For information on BRC’s admissions process, click here or give us a call today at 1.866.905.4550.



  • Men and women in drug abuse treatment relapse at different rates and for different reasons |Stocker, S. | NIDA Notes Volume 13, Number 4 (1998)
  • Gender and use of substance abuse treatment services | Carla A. Green, Ph.D., M.P.H. | NIAAA

Further Reading:

  • Gender differences in alcohol and substance abuse relapse | Walitzer, K. and Dearing, R. | Clinical Psychology Review 26 (2006) 128 – 148