Studies of alcohol abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, are mostly focused on male soldiers, while female military members are often excluded. Jennifer Mitchell, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco explains why.
“So you can imagine that female subjects that have alcohol use disorder and comorbid PTSD are individuals that have experienced rape or other forms of domestic abuse. And those individuals might respond very well to a drug like intranasal oxytocin, but it’s a very hard subject population for us to identify. ”
In a recent study, Mitchell used oxytocin to treat military personnel suffering from depression and anxiety. So far the experimental therapy has been successful, but the results were skewed as only male combat members participated.
‘’We’d love to have good access to that population because then we could perhaps study the effects of intranasal oxytocin in a group of female subjects that have alcohol or substance- use disorder and comorbid PTSD.”