Women face more long-term effects of drug abuse than men do, says a new University of Colorado study. The study says that women lose more brain volume to drug abuse compared to men. Researchers find that brain structures involved in reward, learning and executive control show vast changes in women even after a prolonged period of abstinence from drug use.

“We found that after an average of 13.5 months of abstinence, women who were previously dependent on drugs had significantly less grey matter volume in several brain areas compared to healthy women,” says senior study author Jody Tanabe, neuroradiology section chief at University of Colorado.