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Wasted Lives: Substance Abuse, Substance Use Disorder and Addictions in Men

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Men’s Issues and Men’s Mental Health

Abstract

Men have elevated rates of addictions, substance abuse and substance use disorder, with a M:F ratio of around 2.5:1. Men also tend to have more severe symptoms, an earlier age of onset, as well as older age of remission. This chapter discusses the basic epidemiology, social determinants and psychosocial sequalae of substance abuse and addictions, with a focus on five specific substance use disorders, namely: (i) alcohol-related disorders; (ii) cannabis-related disorders; (iii) opioid-related disorders; (iv) gambling disorder; and (v) Internet gaming disorder. Men experiencing some of these disorders have an increased risk of injuries, poisoning and overdoses, with estimates suggesting that males account for over 70% of deaths in the current opioid crisis. Moreover, these disorders can lead to harmful health behaviours such as lack of exercise, poor diet and sleep difficulties. There are several proven risk factors for substance use disorder and substance abuse per se including: (i) educational failure; (ii) unemployment; and (iii) separation, divorce and loneliness. Evidence suggests that these risk factors tend to have a more intense impact on men compared to women. Despite this male preponderance, there are few dedicated services for men experiencing substance abuse issues, and rates of service utilization among men remain very low.

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Whitley, R. (2021). Wasted Lives: Substance Abuse, Substance Use Disorder and Addictions in Men. In: Men’s Issues and Men’s Mental Health. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-86320-3_3

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