Addiction is a crippling neuropsychiatric condition where a person tends to gravitate towards excessive drug use and prioritizes it over other activities. This individual will also alternate repeatedly between abstinence from drugs and relapse. It is possible for anyone to be addicted, no matter their age or other factors such as religion, socio-economic status, and personality.
The gender difference may have a major impact on the speed of development. Women have been more vulnerable than men to the effects of drug abuse, and especially to cocaine. Due to its ability to increase alertness and energy, women are using cocaine in large quantities to help them stay awake while working. It has also become a popular way to deal with mental and emotional health issues – go here.
In the early days of clinical research, men dominated. Researchers and clinicians of the past avoided including women in research because they believed that their hormone cycle would be too unpredictable to reach conclusive conclusions. For the reasons stated above, including women as participants in research is an important barrier when trying to better understand how addictions develop due to subtle biological differences.
Women’s inclusion in clinical studies is relatively new. The inclusion of women in clinical trials is a relatively new development. However, this has contributed to improved medicine, better intervention techniques, and an enhanced understanding of how addictions progress among men, as well. A progressive shift in research has helped to understand the subtleties of addiction.
The study discussed here highlights some of the reasons why women are increasingly consuming cocaine. The sex specific study in Nature Communications on cocaine and reward explains all the details.
The effects of recurrent hormonal disorders on women’s drug addiction
This study by Mount Sinai Hospital led by Dr. Erin Calipari reveals that women are more likely to develop an addiction when they use cocaine than men. It was also found that women use more cocaine and at a younger age than men. The study reveals that women find it harder to avoid cocaine.
To explain differences between the use of cocaine by men and women, researchers studied mice. Because dopamine and drug reactions in mice are the same as those found in humans, researchers analyzed these mice at various stages of their reproductive cycles.
Researchers discovered that women’s cycles and cocaine can be affected by each other. If the female mice have low hormone levels, they will tend to act like male mice. The reward effects of cocaine are increased in females with high estrogen levels.
These female mice showed not only that their dopamine production was affected by cocaine, but they also demonstrated that the effects lasted longer in females brains. Study also revealed that female and male mice differed in their environment. The researchers found that male and female mice have different preferences for places close to cocaine.