Women and Alcoholism
An addiction can impact any individual no matter their age, gender, ethnicity, background or status in the world. However, now more than ever, alcoholism seems to be affecting women rapidly.
Recent research carried out by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has recognised a concerning rise in the link between women and alcoholism. For years, alcoholism and addictive behaviours have been stereotyped around male figures. However, as life changes, we’re seeing a definite rise in both mental health issues and alcohol abuse in women.
The greatest concern is surrounding the consumption of alcohol and women’s health. Alcoholism can cause chronic physical and psychological health problems for all abusers. However, for women, alcohol related illnesses do carry far more dangers, including cancer, liver damage and infertility.
With this in mind, it is important that awareness is raised on the impact’s alcoholism can have on humans as a whole, yet specifically for women, down to this current rise. It’s also vital that those suffering, understand that support is available to overcome alcoholism.
If you’re a woman, suffering from alcoholism, and you have concerns about your health, please consider rehabilitation. Likewise, for every individual who is impacted by addiction, we encourage you to stop drinking, for your health, for your future quality of life.
Women and alcoholism rates
As touched on above, alcoholism rates are increasing within certain demographics, with a focus on women. This rise, for some may be unexplainable, however, for others, there are correlating factors. General factors identified, strengthening the link between women and alcoholism include stress, the normalisation of social drinking, and cultural influences.
The greatest concerns of rising alcoholism rates are the impacts it can have on health, sometimes unfortunately resulting in life-changing or threatening conditions. As alcohol affects men and women differently, although these concerns are present throughout genders, the susceptibility of health problems is advanced for women, without bringing alcohol abuse into the mix. Now consider the potential severe side effects that excessive alcoholism can have on internal physical and psychological functions.
With this in mind, if you’re unfortunately suffering from alcoholism, it is important that you consider the long-term risks, deteriorating your health. Although rehabilitation may currently feel impossible, you can break away from alcoholism by committing yourself through rehab.
Why does alcohol affect men and women differently?
Both men and women can experience alcoholism down to excessive alcohol abuse. However, it affects women differently down to their internal form. As women have less body water than men, along with a higher fat count, absorbing and metabolising alcohol happens differently. As a result of this, greater levels of alcohol are found in the bloodstream, highlighting the significant impacts on health.
It’s also important to note that men are commonly taller and bigger than women. Those with larger structures can consume higher quantities of alcohol, before alcohol poisoning is experienced. Here is where women will drink excessively to feel the benefits of alcohol, yet greater health risks and addictive characteristics are present.
Why are alcohol abuse rates increasing?
Alcohol abuse rates are increasing across the board for a number of reasons. However, many are impacting women much greater.
Firstly, social drinking is now worse than ever. The normalisation of excessive drinking, across the globe has conditioned alcohol users, making alcohol-related activities more desirable. Although this does also impact men, social drinking is commonly experienced by women greater; from meeting up for a glass of wine, to an alcohol fuelled spa day. Alcohol consumption is commonly merged into all activities.
Secondly, exposure to alcohol consumption is now higher for women. For example, gifts for women are now highly linked to alcohol. As exposure is higher, there is a likelihood that an organic dependence will advance.
Lastly, stress and mental health issues are a key driving force, boosting the link between women and alcoholism. As women are known to experience mood disorders, at a higher rate than men, alcohol consumption is commonly used as a coping strategy. Many women will rely on alcohol to reduce stress, soon becoming the norm, with the potential of developing into an alcohol addiction.
Many further factors can trigger alcoholism. However, the current spike in alcoholism in women is mainly down to social, emotional and psychological triggers.
The risks of alcoholism for women
Alcoholism is a serious, life-threatening brain illness for all individuals. However, there are severe risks for women when considering excessive drinking.
One of the greatest risks is the increased likelihood of addiction. As alcohol tolerances are lower in women, excessive consumption will have a significant impact on physical and psychological health and functions. Adaptations in the brain will likely happen sooner, even when lower levels of alcohol are consumed.
A further concerning factor is the correlation between alcoholism and mental health issues. Women are unfortunately known to experience higher risks of mental health conditions. Eating disorders, depression and mood disorders are a few to mention, all with higher recurrence rates for women. As alcohol is used as a coping strategy, there is a chance that both conditions will aggravate one another, developing into a dual diagnosis.
One of the key risk factors, differentiating the effects of alcoholism in men and women is the damage that excessive alcohol consumption can have on the reproductive system. As the metabolism of alcohol takes longer for women, higher levels of alcohol will be present in their body. Here is where damage can take place, reducing the stability of the reproductive system. Over a long period of time, periods can stop, along with reducing infertility capabilities.
Although short-term drinking may carry little impacts, long-term excessive consumption can lead to high risk health conditions. Once a dependence on alcohol does develop, there is likelihood that these conditions will aggravate, soon becoming the norm. The most challenging aspect of this situation is that overcoming alcoholism can be very difficult, deteriorating physical and mental health; all contributing to reduced wellbeing. Once this is encountered, rehabilitation levels will reduce.
With this in mind, if you’re a woman suffering from alcoholism, we encourage you to reach out for our support here at Ocean Recovery Centre. Likewise, our rehabilitation services are available for all genders and backgrounds.
However, with the prevalent concern of women and alcoholism rates, we hope that this awareness can motivate more women to stop drinking, by prioritising their health. If you have any concerns, please reach out.
John Gillen - Author - Last updated: December 14, 2021
John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.
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