It’s not new information that being a woman can sometimes be a challenge. Hormonal fluctuations due to PMS, menopause, pregnancy, etc. Every woman experiences up and downs because of this, sometimes experiencing depression, fatigue, and weight gain as well. A recent study has suggested that hormonal fluctuation may make women more vulnerable to drug addiction. According to this study, birth control pills may help these women to quit the habit.
In the study, researchers discovered that estrogen actually intensified the brain’s dopamine reward system, and it concluded that cocaine in particular was more effective during a woman’s menstrual cycle when a woman’s level of estrogen was at its highest. Dr. Erin Calipari says, “When we started our research, we started with a small pilot study using both male and female animals [mice] to see if they were the same [attributed the same levels of pleasure from exposure to cocaine]. We actually thought they might be, but what we found is that females were really, really strong and were rewarded more by the drug.”
If addiction really can be linked to a woman’s cycle, birth control pills may regulate hormones and reduce cravings during that time. Aside from contraception, birth control is also taken to treat acne, irregular periods, pelvic pain, and other disorders. It will be interesting to see if this study has an effect on women using birth control to treat addiction. More research needs to be done to see if birth control pills are a viable treatment option.
Although they may be a helpful tool, if you are suffering from drug and/or alcohol addiction, it is absolutely essential that you get the help that you deserve. It is easy to find treatment centers by looking on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website ( https://www.samhsa.gov/). You can also find 12-step groups and other supportive groups that will aid in your recovery by visiting websites like the Alcoholics Anonymous website (http://www.aa.org).