Evaluation of a trauma-informed and gender-responsive intervention for women in drug treatment

J Psychoactive Drugs. 2008 Nov;Suppl 5:387-98. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2008.10400666.


There is growing recognition of the complex needs of women with dual diagnoses of substance abuse and mental health disorders. Recent research indicates that 55% to 99% of women with co-occurring disorders have experienced trauma from abuse and that abused women tend to engage in self-destructive behaviors. These women often are not well served by the services found in their communities, which separate substance abuse and mental health programs, despite the fact that research shows that integrated, trauma-informed treatment services will increase the success of their recovery. A recent study examined the use of two gender-responsive, trauma-informed curricula presented in a residential facility for women, 55% of whom had criminal histories. Helping Women Recover and Beyond Trauma are both manualized programs founded on research and clinical practice and are grounded in the theories of addiction, trauma, and women's psychological development. This treatment model is named "Women's Integrated Treatment" (WIT). Women who successfully completed the programs were assessed at several points in time on several scales, including trauma symptomology, depression, and substance use before and after the programs. The findings indicated less substance use, less depression, and fewer trauma symptoms (p < or = .05)--including anxiety, sleep disturbances, and dissociation--after participation in the WIT curricula.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Battered Women / psychology*
  • Crime
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome