Learn more about gender-specific treatment resources for women and their families.
- Substance Use and Behavioral Health
- Family-Centered Treatment
- Trauma, Violence, and Trauma-Informed Approaches
- Pregnancy and Substance Use
- Women’s Health
- Special Populations
Guidance Document for Supporting Women in Co-Ed Settings – 2016
In 2016, SAMHSA published this guide for clinicians, which focuses on best practices for treating women who have substance use disorders (SUDs) and are being served in co-ed treatment and recovery settings. The document highlights gender differences related to SUDs, gender-responsive services, trauma-informed care, cultural sensitivity, and developing healthy relationships.
Final Report: Opioid Use, Misuse, and Overdose in Women – 2017
This report was developed as part of an initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health to examine prevention, treatment, and recovery issues for women who misuse opioids, have opioid use disorders, and/or overdose on opioids.
Addressing the Unique Challenges of Opioid Use Disorder in Women – 2017 (1 hour, 1 minute)
This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Grand Rounds webinar centers on how health care providers, researchers, and the public health community can best address the complexities of opioid use disorder among women. Speakers give an overview of the federal response to the disorder, along with approaches to care and prevention of substance use.
Addressing the Needs of Women and Girls: Developing Core Competencies for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Service Professionals – 2011
This SAMHSA document provides mental health and substance abuse professionals with a comprehensive overview of unique prevention, treatment, and recovery skills and practices, including trauma-informed care, to effectively serve women and girls.
Guidance to States: Treatment Standards for Women with Substance Use Disorders at the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors – 2008
The Women's Services Network partnered with federal and state stakeholders to craft a guidance document developing standards to address the treatment needs of women with substance use disorders. It provides implementation strategies to assist states in developing treatment standards for women.
Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 51, Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women – 2015
This SAMHSA document reviews gender-specific research and best practices regarding the specific substance abuse treatment needs of women. This TIP provides practical clinical and administrative information to help respond to these treatment needs, including information about specific treatment issues and strategies across substance abuse treatment services.
Action Steps for Improving Women's Mental Health – 2009 (PDF | 4.3 MB)
This SAMHSA report presents action steps that policymakers, health care providers, researchers, and others can take to help improve the mental health and well-being of women and girls.
Gender Differences in Primary Substance of Abuse across Age Groups – 2014 (PDF | 895 KB)
This SAMHSA In Brief discusses that results of the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), which collects data on admissions to substance abuse treatment facilities across the United States and can be used to examine differences in primary substance of abuse among males and females by age.
CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain – United States – 2016
These Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations address the use of opioid pain medication in certain special populations, including pregnant women.
The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health – November 2016
This report explains the effects on the brain of alcohol and drugs and how misuse can become a disorder. The report includes information about women and substance use, including sex-based differences.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Rx Awareness campaign tells the real stories of people whose lives were torn apart by prescription opioids. The website includes videos and radio spots featuring two women whose lives were nearly destroyed by opioid abuse.
Why Females Are More Sensitive to Cocaine
This National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) report focuses on research that shows women have more intense highs from cocaine than men, and they become addicted to the drug more rapidly. New NIDA-supported research supplies a possible answer.
Substance Abuse in Women
This NIDA report focuses on the women’s unique issues related to substance use, related to both sex and gender. Sex and gender can interact with each other to create even more complex differences between men and women.
Sex and Gender Differences in Substance Use
This NIDA article centers on sex and gender differences related to substance use.
Prescription Painkiller Overdoses: A Growing Epidemic, Especially Among Women
This page of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website presents the problem of prescription painkiller overdoses among women, what can be done, and the science behind the issue.
Using Matrix with Women Clients: A Supplement to the Matrix Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People with Stimulant Use Disorders
The Matrix model is a long-established, structured, evidence-based treatment program for people who abuse or depend on stimulant drugs. In this supplementary manual, SAMHSA tailors original program materials to the needs of women.
Women Veterans Health Care: Health Awareness Campaign: Substance Abuse and Treatment
In addition to offering downloadable posters encouraging women veterans to seek help for addiction, this page of the Department of Veterans Affairs website briefly describes substance abuse among veterans, challenges and treatment unique to women, and the growing number of women veterans.
Perspectives on Family-Centered Care for Pregnant and Postpartum Women: Broadening the Scope of Addiction – 2017
This interview monograph from the ATTC Center of Excellence on Behavioral Health for Pregnant and Postpartum Women and Their Families features the unique perspectives of leaders in the pregnant/postpartum women’s treatment and recovery field. Through policy, research, and practice lenses, these leaders share how the field has broadened its scope to begin serving the whole family. Interviewees discuss the historical evolution toward family-centered care and next steps for improving care for families.
Easier Together: Partnering with Families to Make Recovery Possible – 2016
This free training curricula was designed by the ATTC Center of Excellence on Behavioral Health for Pregnant and Postpartum Women and Their Families to increase the capacity of behavioral health professionals to serve the unique needs of pregnant and postpartum women and their families. The curriculum contains trainer and participant and PowerPoint slides with presenter notes.
Bring Them All: A Family-Centered Approach to Treatment
This documentary was produced by the ATTC Center of Excellence on Behavioral Health for Pregnant and Postpartum Women and Their Families. It features a revolutionary program in Compton, California, that lets women bring them all—fathers/partners and children of all ages—to experience the recovery journey together.
Guidelines for the Identification and Management of Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders in Pregnancy – 2014 (PDF | 3.5 MB)
These guidelines from the World Health Organization contain recommendations on the identification and management of substance use and substance use disorders for health care services which assist women who are pregnant, or have recently had a child, and who use alcohol or drugs or who have a substance use disorder. They have been developed in response to requests from organizations, institutions and individuals for technical guidance on the identification and management of alcohol and other substance use and substance use disorders in pregnant women, with the target of healthy outcomes for both pregnant women and their fetus or infant.
Family-Centered Treatment for Women with Substance Abuse Disorders: History, Key Elements and Challenges – 2007 (PDF | 2.2 MB)
This monograph introduces the concepts and evolution of the field in providing a family-centered treatment approach for women and their families. It examines the role of family in the context of treatment for women and addresses the treatment needs of children and the inclusion of fathers, husbands, and other family members in treatment planning. The discussion includes key principles, components of service needs, modalities of treatment delivery, and challenges and solutions to establishing and operating family-centered treatment programs.
Funding Family-Centered Treatment for Women with Substance Use Disorders – 2008 (PDF | 2.1 MB)
This resource paper is a companion to the Family-Centered Treatment monograph and assists treatment providers and state substance abuse agencies to identify and access potential sources of funding for comprehensive family-centered treatment.
Substance-Exposed Infants: State Responses to the Problem – 2009 (PDF | 1.6 MB)
This report prepared by the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare describes the findings of a review of state policies on substance exposed infants, variations among states in both policy and practice, and opportunities for improving interagency collaborations.
Therapeutic Services for Children Whose Parents Receive Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Treatment – 2011 (PDF | 765 KB)
This report was funded by the SAMHSA National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW). Its goal is to identify policies and practices that states have implemented to offer high-quality services for children whose parents enter treatment for SUD. The report reviews services primarily funded by the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, and it identifies how states have defined therapeutic services for children, what services states offer for children, how states determine services a child should receive, and how states ensure children have access to services.
SAMHSA's Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach – 2014
This publication introduces a concept of trauma and offers a framework for how an organization, system, service sector can become trauma-informed. Includes a definition of trauma, a definition of a trauma-informed approach), six key principles, and 10 implementation domains.
Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 57: Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioral Health Services – 2014
This SAMHSA TIP assists behavioral health professionals in understanding the impact and consequences for those who experience trauma. Discusses patient assessment, treatment planning strategies that support recovery, and building a trauma-informed care workforce.
Preventing Intimate Partner Violence Across the Lifespan: A Technical Package of Programs, Policies, and Practices – 2017
This technical package from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presents a select group of strategies based on the best available evidence to help communities and states sharpen their focus on prevention activities with the greatest potential to prevent intimate partner violence and its consequences across the lifespan.
Facts About Suicide Among Women Veterans – August 2017
This fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention provides current information about women veterans’ suicide rates and prevention resources.
Trauma-Informed Care Walkthrough Project Report: Data and Findings – 2015 (PDF | 459 KB)
This report describes findings from the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) Trauma-Informed Care Assessment Project. NCSACW selected five collaborative partnerships from across the country to participate in the trauma-informed care walkthroughs in 2014. Trauma-Informed Walkthrough is a process an organization can use to assess how trauma-informed it is by identifying trauma triggers and implementing strategies to mitigate them.
Health Care Providers' Role in Screening and Counseling for Interpersonal and Domestic Violence – 2013
This fact sheet describes guidelines for screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence.
Developing Integrated Services for Women with Co-Occurring Disorders and Trauma Histories: Lessons from the SAMHSA Women with Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Disorders who have Histories of Violence Study (PDF | 368 KB)
This report details site-level activities, highlighting challenges and responses in the Women, Co-Occurring Disorders and Violence Study’s four domains: service system integration, clinical integration, services, and consumer integration. It contains lessons gathered from this innovative multi-site initiative that can help other communities who are working to integrate services for women with co-occurring disorders and histories of trauma.
Enhancing Substance Abuse Recovery Through Integrated Trauma Treatment (PDF | 323 KB)
This paper from the National Trauma Consortium describes the four models developed and tested in the Women, Co-Occurring Disorders and Violence Study (WCDVS), as well as another model that can be integrated within substance abuse treatment and provides guidance for providers in choosing a model for their agency. The WCDVS was one of the first large-scale studies to investigate promising models for treating women with these complex problems.
The UN Women is the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide, including ending violence against women. This website highlights its work.
Clinical Guidance for Treating Pregnant and Parenting Women With Opioid Use Disorder and Their Infants (2018)
This SAMHSA Clinical Guide provides comprehensive, national guidance for optimal management of pregnant and parenting women with opioid use disorder and their infants. The Clinical Guide helps healthcare professionals and patients determine the most clinically appropriate action for a particular situation and informs individualized treatment decisions.
Protecting Our Infants Act: Final Strategy – 2017 (PDF | 124 KB)
Congress passed the Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015 (POIA) to respond to the unmet needs of pregnant women and their newborns. The law mandated the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to: (1) reduce the gaps in research; (2) develop guidance of best practice to treat Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS); and (3) to coordinate federal efforts and reduce duplication among relevant federal programs. The Final Strategy includes background information on prenatal opioid exposure and NAS, and strategies for preventing prenatal opioid exposure, treating both the mother and the infant, and providing services for pregnant and parenting women with opioid use disorder.
Protecting Our Infants Act: Report to Congress – 2017 (PDF | 410 KB)
This report provides background information on prenatal opioid exposure and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), summarizes U.S. Department of Health and Human Services activities related to prenatal opioid exposure and NAS, presents clinical and programmatic evidence and recommendations for preventing and treating NAS, and presents a strategy to address the identified gaps, challenges, and recommendations.
A Collaborative Approach to the Treatment of Pregnant Women with Opioid Use Disorders
This 2016 SAMHSA report explores the scope of the problem of pregnant women with opioid use disorders. It includes guidelines for supporting collaborative policy and practice, a comprehensive framework for intervention, and a guide for collaborative planning.
Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 58: Addressing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
Part of SAMHSA’s Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) series of best-practices guidelines, this publication explores fetal alcohol spectrum disorders through three avenues: background and clinical strategies for prevention and intervention, an administrator’s guide to implementing prevention and intervention, and a literature review.
Depression in Mothers: More Than the Blues: A Tool Kit for Family Service Providers – 2016
This SAMHSA tool kit equips providers with information about depression, and offers strategies in working with mothers who may be depressed. The tool kit includes resources, referrals and handouts for depression, and screening tools for more serious depression.
Methadone Treatment for Pregnant Women
This SAMHSA brochure, revised in 2014, explains how methadone maintenance treatment works and discusses associated topics of infant withdrawal, breastfeeding, child protective services, and birth control.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs): Data & Statistics: Prevalence of FASDs
This CDC webpage presents data and statistics on the prevalence and cost of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Alcohol use among women of childbearing age, based on data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, is depicted state by state.
Alcohol and Pregnancy: Why Take the Risk
The CDC webpage presents an overview and infographics on alcohol and pregnancy. It includes specific action steps women, health care providers, and state and local governments can take to prevent alcohol-related harm to unborn babies.
Dramatic Increases in Maternal Opioid Use and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
This infographic from the National Institute on Drug Abuse illustrates the five-fold increase in neonatal abstinence syndrome, as well as the rise in maternal opioid use.
Depression During and After Pregnancy
This fact sheet from the Office on Women’s Health, updated in 2016, answers a series of questions about depression during and after pregnancy, including what a woman should do if she has symptoms of depression and how it’s treated.
Improving the Health of Women in the United States: Workshop Summary – 2016
This report is the summary of a workshop held on women’s health and demography. The workshop was organized into four topical sessions, each designed to shed light on important determinants, consequences, effects and issues attending the relative disadvantage of women in the United States in comparison with women in other economically advanced nations.
2014 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report: Chartbook on Women’s Healthcare
This report provides a comprehensive overview of the quality of health care received by women in the U.S. population and disparities in care. The purpose of the reports is to assess the performance of our health system and to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses in the health care system along three main axes: access to health care, quality of health care, and priorities of the National Quality Strategy.
The Science of Sex and Gender in Human Health
The National Institutes of Health offers an online series of courses provides a foundation for sex and gender accountability in medical research and treatment. The courses are 1) The Basic Science and the Biological Basis for Sex- and Gender-Related Differences; 2) Sex and Gender Differences in Health and Behavior, and 3) The Influence of Sex and Gender on Disease Expression and Treatment. These CME/CNE/CPE courses are open to the public and offered at no cost.
Sex and Gender: How Being Male or Female Can Affect Your Health
The NIH News in Health article from May 2016 focuses on health differences between males and females.
Improving Cultural Competence, TIP 59 – 2015
This SAMHSA guide helps professional care providers and administrators understand the role of culture in the delivery of mental health and substance use services. It describes cultural competence and discusses racial, ethnic, and cultural considerations. Though not specifically about women, the document covers gender roles within various cultures and the impact of acculturation on women, cultural beliefs around substance use and women, and rates of substance use among women from various ethnicities and cultures.
A Provider's Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individual – 2012
This SAMHSA manual informs clinicians and administrators about substance use disorder treatment approaches that are sensitive to patients among the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population. It covers cultural, clinical, health, administrative, and legal issues as well as alliance building. It has a chapter devoted to lesbian and bisexual women. Transgender women are also discussed.
Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and the Criminal Justice Response: What is Known – 2008 (PDF | 1.1 MB)
The purpose of this report from the U.S. Department of Justice is to provide an overview of the epidemiology of violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women and an accounting of the criminal justice responses to this violence.
Black Women’s Health Imperative
This organization’s webpage on emotional/mental health has links to articles about topics such as PTSD, stress, and depression. The Black Women’s Health Imperative website also allows users to download IndexUS: What Healthy Black Women Can Teach Us About Health, the first health index based on healthy Black women. It discusses both physical and mental health.
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