Women in treatment more likely than men to have a substance-dependent partner.

Chapter 12

Gender and Sexual Orientation Differences


Power Point for Addiction Treatment: A Strengths Perspective Katherine van Wormer Diane Rae Davis Cengage Publishing Company 2012 copyright


Gender Issues

Recent trends—voices of women and gays and lesbians are increasingly heard regarding treatment, research.

Some emphasis on gender-sensitive treatment.

Class and cultural differences in drug use.

Male/female ratios differ in drinking quantity ratios from 13:12 in Italy to 28:11 in Canada, 46:5 in Mexico, and 15:3 in Russia.

In American high schools, substance use rates about the same.

Adult men, twice the rate of women for marijuana and cocaine use and gambling, meth and tranquilizers about the same.

More eating disorders in women


Gender Differences

Shame factor for women in treatment.

Women in treatment more likely than men to have a substance-dependent partner.

Treatment less accessible for mothers than fathers due to child care responsibilities.

Many women lose custody of children over substance misuse.

Abstinence demands unrealistic.

Lack of treatment availability for pregnant women.

Good results with recovery coaches and family courts.


Gender Differences continued

Meth addiction rates high among women.

One study showed that 80% of female meth addicts were victims of domestic violence.

Violence—3 of 4 intimate partner murders are of women.

Women alcoholics —47% in treatment molested as children in study of 472 women (Downs). Treatment needs to focus on PTSD issues. Women smoke to control weight, males to relieve boredom. Escape gamblers (women). Women start gambling later in life than men do.


Biological Differences

Women get intoxicated quicker than men.

Women have a higher mortality rate with heavy drinking.

Lives are shortened by 15 years on average with alcoholism—heart and liver damage.


Women’s Treatment Needs

1. Address barriers to treatment that many women experience, such as lack of transportation, child care, and treatment availability. 2. Changing program goals and processes to accommodate women’s needs for more support, less confrontation, job skill training, and parenting skills. 3. Embracing an empowerment model of change. 4. Female counselors who can attend to shame and stigma issues. 5. Need to celebrate any significant decrease in substance use.


Sexual Orientation

Heterosexism and homophobia: U.S. studies of schools shows suicide is 14 times the heterosexual rates.

Lesbians—lowest rate of AIDS of any group, but double the drug use of other women, 55% smoke at some point in their lives; 28% are obese.

Reasons for high drinking rate—gay bar, fewer are mothers….G/L AA.

Gay males—high risk of sexual abuse in jail cells.

Religious fundamentalism correlated with suicide…alcohol problems persist across life span.

Transgender….See Do’s and Don’ts…table 11.2

Resources: Pride Institute and PFLAG


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