Female Addicts Crave Coke When They're Stressed

A new study shows that coke addiction might look different depending on the gender of the addict. While ladies are more likely to crave the drug in response to stress, guys seem to want coke in response to ... coke.

According to ScienceDaily, scientists recruited 30 coke addicts and, as a control, 36 non-addicted, recreational drinkers. Then they gave all the students cues related either to stressful situations or to coke or alcohol. The addicts all showed more brain activation in certain areas in response to the cues than non-addicts did, which was no surprise to the researchers. What was more surprising was the difference among addicts: women's brains were more likely to respond to the stress cues, whereas men were more likely to respond to the cocaine ones. This could influence addiction treatments — the study authors explain that women might benefit more from stress-management therapy, whereas guys might do better with cognitive-behavioral therapy or AA.

More research is obviously needed here, but it's possible that female addicts are more likely to use drugs as a way to deal with stress, while male ones are more drawn to the drugs themselves — a phenomenon I've heard described as "if there was a line right here on this table, I couldn't say no." At the very least, it's clear that not everybody's addiction looks the same. AA has been criticized recently for being too white, but it's worth noting that it was also founded by a dude. It's possible that its methods don't work as well for female addicts. It's also possible that in the future, brain scans or other tests could help determine which methods actually will work in a given patient. Which would be good news given that addiction treatments these days are often pretty hit-or-miss.

Addicts' Cravings Have Different Roots in Men and Women [ScienceDaily]

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