About this Research Topic
Males and females display different attitudes and skills, experience dissimilar emotional and psychological needs, and react differently to peer pressure, lack of full realization, or other personal and social expectations. In addition, they are differently influenced by family history, and differ in the perception of self-image and health risks. All of these factors interact with genetic background and sex hormonal fluctuations in men and women, and determine a differential propensity to develop a behavioural addiction. To complicate the matter, in men testosterone levels vary markedly over the course of the day, while in women the levels of sex hormones vary significantly depending upon the menstrual cycle, the pre- or post-menopausal age, and the use of oral contraceptives. Gender-dependent differences in the rate of initiation and frequency of misuse of addicting drugs have been widely described. Yet, men and women also differ in their propensity to become addicted to other rewarding stimuli (e.g. sex, food) or activities (e.g. gambling, exercising). The goal of the present Research Topic is to explore and summarize current evidence for gender (and sex) differences not only in drug addiction, but also in other forms of addictive behaviours. Thus, it will include studies showing gender-dependent differences in drug addiction, food addiction, compulsive sexual activity, pathological gambling, Internet addiction and physical exercise addiction. Potential risk factors and underlying brain mechanisms will be also examined, with particular emphasis given to the role of sex hormones in modulating addictive and compulsive behaviours.
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