Sex hormones, mood and alcohol use in women: towards a novel treatment target

Project: Research

Project Description

This project represents a novel collaboration between two different research teams to bring a new way of looking at an old problem, that is, why alcohol use disorder (AUD) presents differently in women compared with men.
Alcohol causes a substantial burden of morbidity and mortality, estimated at $36 billion in harm annually in Australia, and is the most common drug of concern cited by people accessing addiction treatment (32% of treatment episodes). The prevalence and severity of AUD has typically been higher in men, but rates have been increasing in women.
Although substantial research supports between-sex differences in alcohol use, evidence on effective medication treatments is largely drawn from male samples. Both human and animal research has highlighted that sex hormones, particularly oestrogen, impact on alcohol consumption in females. Importantly, this opens up the possibility of treating alcohol problems in women by repurposing existing hormone treatments, such as oestradiol predominant oral contraceptive pills.
Previous studies on alcohol use and oestrogen levels have had inconsistent results. One key reason for this may be that previous studies have failed to account for the effect of mood, and variation in mood across the menstrual
cycle, on alcohol consumption. Additionally, studies have not compared abstinent or low-drinking females to women with heavy consumption or alcohol use disorder, pointing to a further source of inconsistency in existing
evidence.
We therefore aim to address these gaps in evidence, studying alcohol use, oestrogen and mood through a prospective study tracking two samples of women across two menstrual cycles.
Short titleHormones, mood and alcohol use in women
StatusActive
Effective start/end date23/09/1930/09/20

Funding

  • Monash University – Internal Department Contribution: AUD15,000.00

Keywords

  • alcohol
  • sex hormones