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Females and Addiction: Hormones Impact on Relapse Rates

Very few female-focused clinical studies have been done in regards to addiction, however it is proven that women have higher rates of addiction following exposure to drugs. Erin Calipari, an assistant professor of pharmacology in the Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research, executed a study that shows when fertility-related hormone levels are high, females learn faster and “make stronger associations to cues in their environment and are more prone to seek rewards.” It is important to make a distinction when understanding the nature of addiction when it comes to females versus males.


Royal Life Centers at Puget Sound knows that addiction treatment should not be a “one size fits all” process; because one size does not fit all. Each person responds differently to each aspect of addiction treatment, which is why at Royal Life Centers at Puget Sound allows guests to collaborate with their case manager and therapist— building a treatment plan specifically tailored to fit their needs and goals. We know that a tailored treatment plan can make a world of difference in what we are trying to do, which is to heal the mind, body, and spirit and give guests the tools to build a happy, healthy, and successful life in sobriety. Our treatment programs offer options that will work best for each guest, taking all aspects of their past and themselves into account.

According to previous studies conducted, women are more vulnerable to addiction, but the factors that lead them are unclear. Women transition to addiction faster, as well as are more susceptible to cravings and relapse.

Women in Recovery

Women have stronger mental connections to places and objects, which makes them especially vulnerable to triggers. With people, places and things of all kinds being triggers for those in recovery— this information about how women respond should be used to develop stronger plans for relapse prevention. Royal Life Centers at Puget Sound provides groups on the topics of how to prevent a relapse, how to stop warning signs leading up to a relapse, etc.

Women may be triggered more when they visit a place where they used to use drugs, or by holding the same kind of spoon they used to use with; these stronger mental connections to places and objects heighten the chance of relapse. Because of this effect on women especially, we have developed comprehensive educational discussions on the topic of relapse and how to prevent a relapse. Our goal is to provide guests with coping mechanisms, skills, and support—so that they never have to pick up that first drink or drug ever again.

Our Treatment Programs

Royal Life Centers at Puget Sound offers a medical detox program and a residential inpatient program. Our medical detox program is the perfect place to start your recovery journey, and you can follow it with our 2-week residential inpatient program. All of our programs use intensive therapies to heal, provide guidance and resolution, as well as uncover the root cause of your substance use disorder. Royal Life Centers also offers other treatment programs, including: a partial hospitalization program (PHP), an intensive outpatient program (IOP), an outpatient program (OP), sober living and graduate housing.


Vanderbilt University. “Women’s hormones play role in drug addiction, higher relapse rates: Attention drawn to lack of female-specific research.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 February 2019. <>.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our addiction specialists at (877)-RECOVERY or (888) 308-1985. Our team is available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because We Care.

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