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Am J Psychiatry. 2004 Oct;161(10):1790-7.

Alcohol dependence and use of treatment services among women in the community.

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Center for Risk Behavior and Mental Health Research, RTI International, P.O. Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194, USA.



This study examined the extent and characteristics of alcohol dependence and the perceived need for and use of alcohol treatment services among women compared with men in a nonclinical sample of adults 18-64 years of age.


Data were drawn from the 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. The authors calculated rates and correlates of alcohol dependence and treatment among adult alcohol users in this sample.


About 3% of the women in the survey met criteria for DSM-IV alcohol dependence in the previous year. About 13% of these women received alcohol treatment services in the same period. Only 8% of the women who did not receive treatment perceived a need for treatment. Younger women-those who were 18-25 years of age-were more likely to be dependent on alcohol but less likely to perceive a need for treatment or to use treatment services. Among alcohol-dependent women who received no treatment, those with a family income of 75,000 US dollars or more, those who had two or more children living with them, and those who were not dependent on psychotherapeutic medications were less likely to perceive a need for help.


There were no significant differences between men and women in use of treatment services, location of services received, and perceived need for treatment. However, correlates of treatment service use varied somewhat by gender. These findings suggest that the goal of efforts to reduce barriers to alcohol treatment services should be to change people's attitudes toward alcohol abuse and seeking professional help.

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