Challenges for Women Entering Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: Women with opioid use disorder (OUD) face unique challenges the moment they enter treatment. This narrative review focused on recent literature regarding sex- and gender-based issues that could affect treatment outcomes in women with OUD. Recent Findings: Women respond differently to opioids based on hormonal factors, are more likely to present to treatment with mental health conditions, especially depression, and are more likely to have experienced trauma via intimate partner violence compared with men. Women also face stigma when entering OUD treatment, particularly if they have children. Summary: Future research to improve OUD treatment outcomes in women should account for sex as a biological variable and gender as a social construct. Women have a fundamentally different experience than men during the course of OUD and upon treatment entry. Programs that address childcare/family support, mental health, and trauma are warranted for women with OUD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number76
JournalCurrent psychiatry reports
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Gender differences
  • Mental health
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Sex differences
  • Trauma
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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