Females are more vulnerable to drug abuse than males: Evidence from preclinical studies and the role of ovarian hormones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

173 Scopus citations

Abstract

Human and animal research indicates the presence of sex differences in drug abuse. These data suggest that females, compared to males, are more vulnerable to key phases of the addiction process that mark transitions in drug use such as initiation, drug bingeing, and relapse. Recent data indicate that the female gonadal hormone estrogen may facilitate drug abuse in women. For example, phases of the menstrual cycle when estrogen levels are high are associated with enhanced positive subjective measures following cocaine and amphetamine administration in women. Furthermore, in animal research, the administration of estrogen increases drug taking and facilitates the acquisition, escalation, and reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior. Neurobiological data suggest that estrogen may facilitate drug taking by interacting with reward and stress-related systems. This chapter discusses sex differences in and hormonal effects on drug-seeking behaviors in animal models of drug abuse. The neurobiological basis of these differences and effects are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiological Basis of Sex Differences in Psychopharmacology
PublisherSpringer- Verlag
Pages73-96
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9783642200052
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

Publication series

NameCurrent Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Volume8
ISSN (Print)1866-3370
ISSN (Electronic)1866-3389

Keywords

  • Drug abuse
  • Estrogen
  • Progesterone
  • Rats
  • Sex differences
  • Sex hormones

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