The first step in establishing gender-based differences in drug abuse treatment is to appreciate that women are affected differently by alcohol and other drugs. Green (2005) explains that although women drink less alcohol than men, they tend to develop alcohol-related problems much faster than men. They experience shorter intervals between regular drunkenness and loss of control over drinking much faster than men. They also report more drug-related problems than men, besides experiencing interference with their functioning in life domains to a greater level. Identification of substance abuse problems by health care agencies is also more difficult in women than in men. These physiological or biological drug impacts of women translate to differences in treatment outcomes and relapses. Hence, drug treatment should be made more gender-responsive as of now it is much inclined towards a male-responsive regimen. It is widely appreciated that women face a number of barriers to receiving drug abuse treatment. One of these barriers is the relationship between substance abuse and pregnancy, where Brady and Ashley (2005) present statistics indicating that most women who abuse drugs are pregnant. This is true for alcohol, cocaine, amphetamine and marijuana among others. This plays a part in preventing women from seeking counseling and treatment from professionals due to the fact that they are afraid of losing custody of their children. An intervention for this scenario should focus on the realization that this is a cross-system problem affecting counseling, health and criminal justice systems. Hence, across-the-board cooperation should be prioritized, for example, through allowing counselors to take precedence rather than the courts so as to ensure that women do not shy away from treatment. According to the UN-ODC (2004), women experience a number of social, cultural and personal barriers that make it difficult for them to access treatment for alcohol and other drugs or make it difficult for them to complete treatment programs. One of these socio-cultural barriers is stigmatization, where substance abuse amongst women is shunned by society making them live in denial and prevent them from accessing treatment. Alternatively, they may seek these services elsewhere, for example, hospitals rather than professional counseling facilities which jeopardize their chances of recovery. From another perspective, women may take to substance abuse as a solution to distress rather than a problem, which obviously means they fail to seek treatment services. To counter this, it is advisable that hospitals accept a psychosocial explanation of disease besides the biomedical model, and embrace counseling in their treatment services. This coincides well with the advent of multi-disciplinary treatment regimes. Community-based counseling and treatment should be encouraged to reach the women who find it hard to visit counseling facilities. Raising awareness is also a powerful intervention besides gender-specific treatment services for women in addressing stigma. The social explanation in which women abuse drugs as a way out of distress and depression elicits inquiry into the genetic link in alcoholism. There is now evidence from research pointing to a significant likelihood that alcoholism is linked to genetics with many efforts
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Gender Differences in Drug Treatment: How Women Differ in Drug Treatment as Opposed to Men Name Institution Gender Differences in Drug Treatment: How Women Differ in Drug Treatment as Opposed to Men There is sufficient evidence to show that women and men are not only affected differently by alcohol and other drugs but also need different treatments to solve problems effectively such as addiction…
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