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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: August 2009

3 - Substance use and abuse in women


This chapter describes how and why women may also be gaining ground on their male counterparts in the consumption of alcohol and illicit substances. Surveys of substance abuse and dependence in the general population fairly consistently show overall rates in females to be lower than those in males. Women with affective and anxiety disorders are more likely to present with alcohol or drug abuse/dependence than are women without such disorders. Antisocial personality disorder (APD) is another psychiatric condition strongly associated with substance abuse and dependence. The impact of substance abuse on reproductive fitness in women is evidenced by higher rates of amenorrhoea and anovulatory cycles. The high rate of treatment dropout for women with drug and alcohol problems is of great concern to clinicians and researchers as there is a powerful association between dropping out and negative outcome.

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