They describe the crisis as evolving in three phases, over several decades from the 1990s. The first phase involved an increase in the use of prescribed opioids as a result of lenient regulations on prescriptions and marketing by pharmaceuticals. The second phase involved a tightening of these restrictions alongside a shift in drug use towards heroin. The third phase – since 2013 – has seen a shift towards synthetic opioids including fentanyl.

In addition, both males and females showed remarkably low help-seeking for their AUD. This could inform policymakers and relevant stakeholders to strategize campaigns to educate the public and destigmatize help-seeking. The second phase would be an implementation research evaluation of AUD services in Singapore to uncover barriers and adopt evidence-based improvements.

What is substance use disorder?

In summary, similar to global estimates, males in Singapore had a higher prevalence of AUD than females. Although unlike Lim et al. and other studies conducted in different populations, this study did not uncover any gender convergence for AUD (Grucza et al., 2018; Kang et al., 2020; Lim et al., 2007; Slade et al., 2016). However, the exacerbation of OCD symptoms among females with AUD and OCD comorbidity warrants careful monitoring in Singapore. Moreover, although international findings had reported mixed evidence on gender differences in relation to recovery, the study unveiled an earlier age of recovery for females with AUD.

Women are more likely to develop a dependence at lower drinking levels than men. Girls between the ages of 12 and 17 are more likely to misuse all types of prescription Opioids and Stimulants than boys of the same age. All authors contributed to study conception and all have read and approved the final manuscript. MK and AD were responsible for study design, analysis and interpretation, and drafting the manuscript. CHS, CZS and TNJ contributed to acquisition of the data and interpretation of the findings.

Gender Differences in Alcohol Use Disorder

Research has found that women enter addiction treatment with lower self-esteem than their male counterparts (Beckman 1994). As a result, use of supportive therapies (e.g. empathy, connection, warmth) has been found to be more effective (SAMHSA, 2009). Women entering treatment are more likely to have primary responsibility for their children, where as the majority of fathers entering addiction treatment have another primary caretaker (e.g. mother) available. Statistics indicate that some demographics and communities face elevated risks of drug abuse and drug disorders.

There are also biological differences between men and women, revolving primarily around testosterone and estrogen production and average body size and composition, which cause substances to affect the body adversely. The protective effect of alcohol at low dose is less clear in women than in men, in whom a clear decrease in RR of ischemic heart disease is observed at doses lower than two to three standard drinks daily. Similarly, the RR of liver cirrhosis increases by 13 with four standard drinks of alcohol in women compared with six standard drinks daily for men. For more information on our progressive approach to drug addiction treatment, call our intake counselors today. Developing emotional intelligence in a safe space is essential to men’s recovery, and it is often easier to do this in a single-gender program. Opening up in group therapy feels more natural when you know that the people around you have experienced the same pressures and perhaps some of the same circumstances you have.

How is treatment for women different from treatment for men?

The violence sometimes took the form of social humiliation e.g. the women were tonsured and publically scolded for the perceived immorality of their lifestyle. This is largely the result of alcohol vs drugs a steep rise in opioid deaths in recent years. A higher percentage of jail inmates in 2002 than in 1996 reported regular drug use (used drugs at least once a week for at least a month).

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