Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Torry Dennis and his team (Mackenzie Ellis '23 and Madeline Wright '22) recently published an article entitled "Estradiol administration increases anxiety-like behavior following chronic escalating morphine administration in hormone-replaced ovariectomized female rats" in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior.
The impact of gender-specific factors, particularly hormones, on opioid addiction and withdrawal is not fully understood. This is crucial as withdrawal, characterized by negative states such as anxiety, can drive continued drug use and relapse, perpetuating the cycle of addiction. In response to this knowledge gap, Dennis and his team conducted a study to investigate the potential effects of ovarian hormones on anxiety during opioid withdrawal. Their research showed that female rats treated with the hormone estradiol experienced increased anxiety-like behavior during withdrawal. These findings shed new light on gender differences in addiction and could guide the development of more effective, personalized treatments.