Addiction Psychiatry

Arunogiri Group

Group Leader - Dr Shalini Arunogiri

Shalini ArunogiriDr Shalini Arunogiri is passionate about delivering better care for people with addictions and related mental health problems, and for their families and communities. Her hope is that one day (soon) people with an addiction will be able to get the evidence-based treatment they need when they seek it, without facing stigma, discrimination or barriers.


Find out more about Dr Shalini Arunogiri


  • Adam Rubenis
  • Nicholas Sean Purnama

Key terms

Addiction; Women & Addiction; Gender and Sex Differences; Comorbidity; Dual Diagnosis; Methamphetamine; Methamphetamine psychosis

Research Goal

To investigate treatments for addiction through a gender lens.

Research Overview

Addiction is the most stigmatized health disorder globally, and on average it takes between 15-20 years from the onset of problems to an individual getting treatment. For women, stigma is the number one barrier to help-seeking; but existing paradigms are largely driven by research in males, translating to treatment that is effective for males. There is a gap in what we know about what works best for women with addiction.

The work of this group focuses on investigating treatments for addiction through a gender lens. Our particular research strengths are in clinical research, and recruitment and retention in clinical populations, including people with methamphetamine and opioid use disorders.

Our research aims to address the following key questions:

  1. What unique molecular mechanisms can be targeted to treat addiction in women?
  2. How does a woman’s mental health impact on and interact with addiction and addiction recovery?
  3. How do experiences of trauma impact on and interact with addiction and addiction recovery in women?
  4. Are there any common mechanisms that underpin or perpetuate both women’s health disorders and addictive disorders?


Women, Hormones, Alcohol Use & Mood (WHAM)

Investigators: Arunogiri, S., Gurvich, C., Thomas, N., Kulkarni, J., Lubman, D.

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. Despite this, few studies have focused specifically presentations of alcohol use disorder in women, and how this relates to hormone function and mood. The project is an exploratory study investigating the relationship between (i)oestrogen level (menstrual cycle phase), (ii) alcohol consumption and craving, and (iii) pre-menstrual dysphoria symptoms. We will study this in two distinct samples, a ‘healthy’ community sample of women who report drinking at low levels, and a clinical sample of women seeking treatment for alcohol use problems, enabling comparison of results between women with and without alcohol use disorder.

Project Funding

  • 2019: Victorian Women’s Trust- Consumer representation for women at risk of homelessness in addiction treatment $9153
  • 2019: Monash Addiction Research Centre (MARC) Postdoctoral Seed Fund
    Sex hormones, mood and alcohol use in women: towards a novel treatment target $15000
  • 2019: National Centre for Clinical Research on Emerging Drugs (NCCRED) (CI-A)
    Open label pilot study of oxytocin for methamphetamine withdrawal in women $97000
  • 2018: Society for Mental Health Research (SMHR) Early Career Research Project Grant- The role of social cognition in hostility and violence in methamphetamine use disorder $20,000
  • 2015: Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Research and Education Foundation Grant- Methamphetamine and psychosis: understanding risk factors $10,000

Selected Recent Publications

For a complete publication list see ORCID

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