Nav: Home

New study suggests ovarian hormone may make drug withdrawal symptoms worse for women

June 18, 2018

(Carlisle, Pa.) - New research published in the journal Neuroscience Letters suggests women may have more difficulty than men in withdrawing from and staying off methamphetamine. The study by Dickinson College neuroscientists looked at the interaction of estradiol--a naturally occurring form of estrogen and the major female sex hormone--and methamphetamine in female mice. Researchers found estradiol could contribute to anxiety-like behavior in the mice as they withdrew from the drug. These observations indicate the hormone may contribute to drug relapse in women by worsening anxiety-related symptoms during withdrawal.

"We tend to think of methamphetamine use disorder as a traditionally male problem, but women experience it differently, and this hormone may be a factor in that experience," said research co-author Anthony Rauhut, associate professor of psychology at Dickinson. The finding supports previous studies, which have found women are more likely than men to initiate methamphetamine use earlier, escalate to regular use in a shorter period of time and show signs of greater dependency. Previous research also has found women are more prone to use methamphetamine while also experiencing psychiatric disorders, like anxiety.

"The level of ovarian hormones circulating in a woman's bloodstream fluctuates throughout her menstrual cycle," said study co-author Meredith Curran-Rauhut, neuroscience instructor at Dickinson. "This research suggests that fluctuating estradiol levels may impact severity of withdrawal symptoms in women."

In order to control hormone levels, researchers performed an ovariectomy on mice involved in the study. One group received an implanted estradiol capsule. When injected with methamphetamine, these mice exhibited more anxiety-like behavior as they withdrew from the drug than the mice who did not receive the hormone implant.

"Mouse anxiety behavior is well-understood from decades of observation," explained Rauhut. "Certain measurable behaviors, like how far a mouse travels during its time in the test field or how much time it spends resting along the sides of the chamber can tell us how anxious the animal is."

The husband-and-wife research team thinks their study could lead to further work on women and drug addiction, including studying whether exercise plays a role in reducing the negative effects of drug withdrawal. "The medical field needs to differentiate better between women and men, especially in addiction treatment," Curran-Rauhut said.
-end-


Dickinson College

Related Methamphetamine Articles:

Oxytocin reduces cravings for methamphetamine
Many people have suggested that addiction hijacks the body's natural drives in the service of compulsive drug use.
Stopping drug abuse can reverse related heart damage
Quitting methamphetamine use can reverse the damage the drug causes to the heart and improve heart function in abusers when combined with appropriate medical treatment, potentially preventing future drug-related cases of heart failure or other worse outcomes, according to a study published today in JACC: Heart Failure.
Impulsive personality linked to greater risk for early onset of meth use
Methamphetamine users who described themselves as impulsive were more likely to have started taking the drug at an earlier age, a study of more than 150 users showed.
Could exercise help meth addicts recover? Circadian rhythms are key, study finds
Exercise coupled with a regimen of methamphetamine could help addicts get clean, according to a pre-clinical study published today in The FASEB Journal.
Methamphetamine and skin wounds: NYIT researcher wins NIH grant to study immune response
NYIT researcher Luis Martinez, Ph.D. has won a $431,700 National Institutes of Health grant to investigate, in mice, methamphetamine's effects on the underlying biological mechanisms that cause inflammation and impair wound healing.
Reduced US cocaine and methamphetamine use linked to controls on commercial chemicals
A study by University of Arizona-led team finds that disruptions in access to sodium permanganate, used in cocaine production, and pseudoephedrine, a methamphetamine precursor chemical, which occurred in 2006 and 2007, were associated with the reductions.
US and Mexican controls on precursor chemicals may reduce cocaine and meth use in the US
In December 2006, the USA regulated sodium permanganate, a chemical essential to the manufacture of cocaine.
Drug-use may hamper moral judgment
Regular cocaine and methamphetamine users can have difficulty choosing between right and wrong, perhaps because the specific parts of their brains used for moral processing and evaluating emotions are damaged by their prolonged drug habits.
New study holds hope for improving outcomes for children exposed to methamphetamine
In a first of its kind study, researchers followed meth-exposed children to age 7.5 and found more supportive home environments could make a difference in their behavior and emotional control.
Researchers identify gene possibly linked with methamphetamine addiction
A new study sheds light on the significance of a potential genetic risk factor for drug addiction and possibly other neuropsychiatric disorders.

Related Methamphetamine Reading:

Methamphetamine: A Love Story
by Rashi K. Shukla (Author)

Secrets of Methamphetamine Manufacture By Uncle Fester
by Uncle Fester (Author)

Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines
by Nic Sheff (Author)

Policing Methamphetamine: Narcopolitics in Rural America
by NYU Press

Women on Ice: Methamphetamine Use among Suburban Women (Critical Issues in Crime and Society)
by Miriam Boeri (Author)

Methamphetamine: Its History, Pharmacology and Treatment
by Hazelden Publishing

The Methamphetamine Industry in America: Transnational Cartels and Local Entrepreneurs (Critical Issues in Crime and Society)
by Henry H Brownstein (Author), Timothy M. Mulcahy (Author), Johannes Huessy (Author)

Methamphetamine Addiction: Biological Foundations, Psychological Factors, and Social Consequences
by Professor of Applied Psychology and Public Health (Steinhardt School) and Population Health (Langone School of Medicine) Director of the Center for Health Identity Behavior & Prevention Studies and Associate Dean Perry N Halkitis (Author), Antonio E Urbina (Contributor), Daniel J Carragher (Contributor)

Methamphetamine (Compact Research)
by Peggy J. Parks (Author)

Teenage Degenerate: A Memoir that Explores the Depths of Methamphetamine and Drug Addiction
by No Bueno Publishing

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Bias And Perception
How does bias distort our thinking, our listening, our beliefs... and even our search results? How can we fight it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the unconscious biases that shape us. Guests include writer and broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magied, climatologist J. Marshall Shepherd, journalist Andreas Ekström, and experimental psychologist Tony Salvador.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#514 Arctic Energy (Rebroadcast)
This week we're looking at how alternative energy works in the arctic. We speak to Louie Azzolini and Linda Todd from the Arctic Energy Alliance, a non-profit helping communities reduce their energy usage and transition to more affordable and sustainable forms of energy. And the lessons they're learning along the way can help those of us further south.