Gender Differences Evident in Opioid Abuse

Women that abuse pain medications are more likely to be motivated to do so by emotional issues and psychological distress, while male-motivation to do so is derived from problematic social and behavioral problems, according to a Harvard study published in The Journal of Pain.

The Journal of Pain

A survey of 662 chronic non-cancer pain patients served as the basis for the study. The patients received standard pain assessment questionnaires “to examine rates and characteristics of problematic opioid use, profiles of risk factors for potential misuse, and predictive associations between risk factors and subsequent misuse behavior.”

Study results demonstrated that gender differences exist in risk factors for misuse of opioid medications. The frequency of aberrant drug abuse was similar, however.

Researchers suggested when administering opioid treatment to women with significant affective stress, clinicians should treat the mood disorder and make the patient aware of the dangers of relying on the drugs to reduce stress and improve sleep.

Women that abuse pain medications are more likely to be motivated to do so by emotional issues and psychological distress, while male-motivation to do so is derived from problematic social and behavioral problems, according to a Harvard study published in .