According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), gender differences can influence the causes, effects, consequences, and treatment of substance abuse disorders. A recent NIDA News Scan focused on several investigations supported by the NIDA.
The evidence from a literature review by Dr Shelley Greenfield of McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical Center and her colleagues suggests that women with substance abuse disorders are less likely than men to seek treatment but that treatment retention and completion may have a stronger association with positive outcome in women. In another study, Dr Benita Walton-Moss and Dr Mary E. McCaul of Johns Hopkins University analyzed data from 153 women and found that the most common factors associated with enrollment in a treatment program were multiple pregnancies, history of physical abuse, and perception of serious legal problems.
Dr Pamela Noel of the University of Iowa observed 90 young women undergoing treatment for substance abuse. The findings of her study suggest that case management may be more important than treatment intensity in retention and completion rates, thereby reducing attrition and providing better outcomes.
Dr Cheryl Oncken and her team from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine examined the effects of the nicotine patch on smoking cessation in 152 postmenopausal women and found that the nicotine patch improved smoking-cessation rates compared with placebo.
In a study on smoking cessation in pregnant women, Dr Stephen Higgins from the University of Vermont and his associates found that the act of smoking during the first 2 weeks of a smoking-cessation program can be highly predictive of cigarette use 3 months later.
Finally, Dr Lauren Wakschlag of the University of Illinois at Chicago and her colleagues are the first to show a link between smoking during pregnancy and child behavioral problems in the first 2 years of life.