Although there has been significant achievements in addiction treatment research, many rehabilitation programs are often still operating on older information. One such area is that an increasing number of opiate abusers are women, and having additional gender-specific treatment options can help the overall effectiveness of a client population.
“A rising number of women are seeking treatment for opioid addiction in Canada and other countries yet, in many cases, treatment is geared towards a patient profile that is decades out of date: predominantly young, male, injecting heroin, and with few family or employment responsibilities,” explained Monica Bawor, lead author of a study that focuses on the changing face of addiction.
The study was conducted by researchers at the McMaster University in Ontario. The main objective of the study was to examine the differences between males and females that attended methadone clinics. The hope is that when the differences are understood, treatment can be adjusted to account for different demographics. After examining 503 men and woman from different treatment facilities around Canada, the researchers came up with some major differences between the two populations.
For example, was more common for women addicts to have child care responsibilities. This is important because women may find it harder to enroll in treatment if they are the sole care provider for their children. This is also important because as women get healthier in treatment, childcare problems may pop up to deter them or distract them from their program. It was also established that women are more likely to have a family history of psychological problems and they seem to experience more extensive physical and mental problems as well.
The results of the study were published in the journal Biology of Sex Differences, and highlight the need for more treatment protocols to include gender-specific therapies, as the needs for men and women in rehabilitation can sometimes be quite different.