Age and gender can play important roles in addiction recovery and drug abuse prevention.
What may be an effective method of addiction treatment or prevention for middle-aged men, for example, might not work with teenage girls. Researchers explored the issue by developing RealTeen, a web-based service aimed at preventing drug abuse in middle school-aged girls.
RealTeen was developed at the School of Social Work at Columbia University to addresses gender-specific experiences like self-esteem, stress, mood, communication and body image. The program’s developers’ goal was to provide schools, health centers and communities with a low-cost, engaging and customizable intervention alternative while increasing reach and efficacy in areas where traditional methods may lack.
Drug use among adolescent girls has been on the rise; quickly matching — and in some cases surpassing — boys’ rates of drug use.
Peer influences and positive attitudes about drugs are the top pathways to substance abuse for both genders. However, for girls, having low self-esteem, depression and high-stress levels all contribute to an increased risk of developing a substance use disorder. Women, in general, have higher stress levels, are more susceptible to depression, and have a harder time quitting drugs than men, so prevention through web-based programs tailored to today’s young girls could… (continue reading)