Research Shows Women Recover Faster From Addiction

Life After Addiction (What We're Fighting For)

It's impossible to avoid some essence of political incorrectness when addressing the genetic differences between men and women.

We like to think that none exist. But this is only because those differences—some true, some false—are most frequently used to put down, argue against, and denote value from, one sex or the other. The negativity is needless, however. The bottom line is that genetic advantages do exist between the sexes. And observing the mechanisms behind those advantages can increase our knowledge on how to help others gain those advantages, too. In regards to alcoholism recovery, there exists a crucial component for successful recovery, called white matter, which is produced more quickly in the brains of women.

White matter is the central nervous system component that allows for communication between different parts of the brain. Whether you are a man or woman, you have white matter in your brain, and binge drinking can take it away. Yet researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have found that women yield an advantage when it comes to dealing with this loss. Not only do their brains naturally have more white matter, but from what MRIs show, their brains are much quicker to produce it. 42 brains, of males and females, were observed. Brains of male alcoholics did not begin to really recover until after 1 year of sobriety. By that time, the brains of females had mostly recovered, showing normal activity in the central nervous system.

Scientists are optimistic about these findings. A deeper understanding of how brains recover from alcoholism is key in developing more efficient treatment strategies. Any knowledge is an important step in solving the societal plague that is alcoholism—and this knowledge is huge. Alcoholism attacks our bodies in lots of places—our skin, our organs, our hearts—but the main gate, at which it gains access to all the others, is the brain. And the brain's ability to communicate effectively (again, this depends on white matter) has shown to be a fragile pressure-point that could certainly use some better armor.

If you're a man, and you're feeling offended by this assertion that women recover faster from addiction, please understand that in no way does this research conclude that men are weaker than women, with less will-power or any other debilitation. On a purely genetic scale, women may have an advantage, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're more likely to succeed. And if they are…well, they have an advantage. Everything is to scale, perhaps. If you're curious about differences like between men and women, there is are endless studies to be found online.

For information on our approach to drug addiction treatment and recovery, please explore our website or call us for further information.

Alyssa who is the National Director of Digital Marketing, joined the Banyan team in 2016, bringing her five-plus years of experience. She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name.