Women’s hormonal cycles may not only make them more prone to drug addiction but also more affected by triggers that lead to relapse, a new Vanderbilt University study revealed. The findings are especially significant since there are virtually no addiction studies in women that account for these cycles.
Erin Calipari, an assistant professor of pharmacology in the Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research, points out that women represent a particularly vulnerable population, with higher rates of addiction following exposure to drugs, but addiction studies have primarily focused on the mechanisms underlying these effects in men. Her study found that, when fertility-related hormone levels are high, females learn faster, make stronger associations to cues in their environment and are more prone to seek rewards.
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