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Identify how the needs of men and women may differ
Discuss conditions that are more typically diagnosed in women
Highlight changes that can be made to increase access, engagement and retention of women in treatment

Women have different physical responses to substances
Women with substance use disorder have greater susceptibility to as well as earlier onset of serious medical problems and disorders
Pregnancy is a significant concern
Women who abuse substances are more likely than other women to have co-occurring disorders Women who have substance use disorders are more likely to have been physically or sexually traumatized and subjected to interpersonal violence
Influence of Relationships. Significant relationships and family history play an integral role in the initiation, pattern of use, and continuation of substance abuse for women
From a sociocultural perspective, women (more than men) tend to define themselves in terms of their webs of social relationships
Women are more likely to be introduced to and initiate alcohol and drug use through significant relationships including partners, and family members
Significant relationships and other adult family members may substantially influence and impact women’s behavior associated with treatment seeking, support for recovery, and relapse
Unique Roles Women are more likely to encounter obstacles across the continuum of care as a result of caregiver roles, gender expectations, and socioeconomic hardships
Women with substance use disorders have enhanced treatment needs related to pregnancy, care of children, and other caregiver roles.
Sources of Stress Overall, women report more interpersonal related stress in relation to negative affect whereas men report more legal and work-related stressful life events

Barriers to Treatment Intrapersonal: Individual factors including health problems, psychological issues, cognitive functioning, motivational status, treatment readiness, etc.
Interpersonal: Relational issues including significant relationships, family dynamics, support systems, etc. Structural: Program characteristics including treatment policies and procedures, program design, and treatment restrictions. Sociocultural: Social factors including cultural differences; the role of stigma, bias, and racism; societal attitudes; disparity in health services; attitudes of healthcare providers toward women; and others.
Systemic: Larger systems including Federal, State, and local agencies that generate public policies and laws; businesses including health insurance companies; and environmental factors such as the economy, drug trafficking patterns, etc.

Treatment retention Family/SO Support Avoiding relationships in treatment Women over 21 More Education Criminal Justice or Child Protective Services Involvement
Pregnancy Trauma informed, supportive, strengths based approach (i.e Seeking Safety)
Overview of What Can Be Done Acknowledge the importance and role of socioeconomic issues and differences among women. Promote cultural competence specific to women. Recognize the role and significance of relationships in women’s lives. Address women’s unique health concerns Endorse a developmental perspective.
Adopt a trauma-informed perspective.
Utilize a strengths-based model for women’s treatment.

Everyone needs to have basic needs, safety and social support needs met
Women face some unique challenges based upon
Sociocultural expectations (esp. caregiving)
Medical and mental health conditions more common in women