Experts have come up with a fresh perspective to the behavioral traits that make people more prone to prescription drug abuse. Some of the usual causes of the growing trend of abusing prescription drugs could be easy accessibility to the medications that have an impact on the probability of developing an addiction.
It has also been found that healthcare experts are prescribing more drugs to manage pain than ever before. The rising number of online pharmacies selling highly sedative drugs has also made it easier to find drugs, irrespective of age or medical condition.
A study by the University of Akron Ohio University’s Lancaster campus and the Morgan State University in Baltimore focused on the relationship between drug abuse and its correlation to masculinity and femininity.
Published in the journal Addiction Research & Theory in June 2016, the study is the first of its kind to advocate that gender and behavior constraints should be taken into consideration to encounter the perennial issue of prescription abuse.
Prevalence of opioid abuse in masculine students
The scientists conducted a survey in which students attending “Introduction to Sociology” classes reported making nonmedical use of various prescription drugs. Using a seven-point scale, the students rated themselves based on how they stood on 30 personality traits. The researchers then correlated their cumulative with 796 students, mostly college students.
The researchers labeled traits as masculine or feminine, as per the Bem Sex Role Inventory – a tool to measure gender orientation. While “masculine” traits included assertiveness, dominance and freedom, “feminine” traits included empathy, compassion and expressiveness. However, there were various “neutral” traits such as reliability, jealousy and tactfulness, as well.
On an average, masculine people are associated with high levels of risk-taking behavior and competitiveness that could result in drug abuse owing to peer pressure or injury.
It was observed that more than a third of more masculine students reported using prescription abuse drugs at some point in their lives, compared to one-fourth of the more feminine students. Thus, three in every 10 students were found to misuse prescription drugs like Adderall and Vicodin.
“The goal was to try to explain why we see differences between males and females in terms of risk for use and abuse,” said Robert Peralta, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Akron. “In sociology, we like to acknowledge the reality of gender as a social construct and phenomenon that’s separate and different from biological sex. This was really a first attempt … to see if there was risk associated with gender identity.”
The study established the fact that young men and women with typical masculine traits might be more susceptible to prescription drug abuse. Peralta hopes that the study will open new avenues of research to gain an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon.
Tackling prescription abuse
Today, prescription abuse has become one of the biggest challenges to the clinical community. Uninhibited abuse of drugs can cause not only obvious changes in behavior and personality, but also irritability and anxiety. A prolonged dependence on prescription drugs brings long-term changes in the brain’s reward system and leads to addiction.
If you or your loved one is suffering from the prescription drug abuse problem, you can seek help from one of the reputed prescription drug abuse treatment centers. The Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline can guide you to effective treatment programs and facilities. Chat online with an expert or call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-450-1557.