Struggling to Reconnect: Women's Perspectives on Alcohol Dependence, Violence, and Sexual Function

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Until recently, substance use disorders and sexual function were two areas in which women received comparatively less attention then men. Recent studies have challenged sexual stereotypes about women who drink and use other substances. This study explores the experiences of women dependent on alcohol and/or other substances who have stopped their use. These women were subjected to significant abuse during both childhood and adulthood. A pattern of using alcohol and other substances as a means of managing negative feelings, disconnecting from abuse, reconnecting to form new relationships, and disconnecting from subsequent abuse was prominent in the women's stories. The women in this study also experienced problems with sexual function both while using and following cessation of use. Findings highlight the complex relationships among substance abuse, trauma, and sexual problems as well as the importance of routinely assessing for sexual problems. Suggestions for treatment and future research are offered.

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