Gender Differences in Treatment-Seeking Brazilian Drug-Dependent Individuals

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The authors compared 66 women and 66 men entering an outpatient treatment for drug dependence, focussing on demographics, progression of dependence, and other associated clinical features. Most of the subjects were dependent on cocaine (75%). Women, as compared with men, had a higher level of education, were more likely to have migrated from other places to the city of Sao Paulo, to report past suicide attempts, and to have first-degree relatives with alcohol problems. There were no gender differences regarding the total time of drug use, baseline severity of dependence, and rates of concurrent psychiatric comorbidity. Clinicians working with drug-dependent women should note the high rates of suicidal behavior in this population, and should explore, besides psychiatric status, risk factors such as impulsive temperament traits. It should also be noted that higher rates of alcohol problems in women's family background pose challenges for the development of effective preventive and treatment strategies.

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