Women Substance Misuse and Mental Health

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Historically, alcoholism and other drug use disorders have been conceptualized as problems f men, and the study f addictive behaviour in men has shaped the field's understanding f the etiology, course, and treatment f these disorders. Consequently, because women have been substantially underrepresented in most studies exploring outcomes f different treatments for substance abuse, the effects f different intervention approaches on women's outcomes are far less understood than they are for men.


(CCETSW 2000) For example, comparisons f men and women entering treatment for alcoholism indicate that women (a) tend to do so earlier in the course f their problem drinking (i.e., they exhibit a shorter average progression from drinking to being intoxicated regularly to first seeking treatment); (b) are younger, poorer, and more likely to have children; (c) receive less emotional support from their intimate partners and family members; and (d) have a higher prevalence f psychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety.
It is not surprising that several studies have also found differences in treatment response and outcomes for male and female patients. For example, one f the few significant predictors f post treatment outcomes to emerge from Project MATCH, the most comprehensive alcoholism treatment outcome study conducted to date, was gender; women had a significantly higher percentage f days f abstinence from alcohol after treatment than men. Similarly, Sanchez-Craig, Leigh, Spivak, and Lei (1999) reported that alcoholic women had greater reductions in heavy and problem drinking after brief outpatient treatment than men. ...
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