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In fact, research indicates that women are drinking more alcohol now than ever before. In fact, some estimates suggest that men are as much as four times more likely to be afflicted with alcoholism than women. This is evidenced by a NIAAA report, which states that of the 88,000 people who die every year from alcohol-related death, an astounding 62,000 are men and only 26,000 are women.

In addition to childhood trauma, acute trauma (such as a car accident) or sexual trauma can catalyze mental health and substance use disorders. Alcohol may also raise a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer. Each additional 10 grams of alcohol (the amount in about one 4-oz glass of wine) per day raises the relative risk of developing breast cancer over a lifetime by about 10%. Research shows women suffer health consequences of alcohol — liver disease, heart disease and cancer — more quickly than men and even at lower levels of consumption. Currently, anxiety is a global condition plaguing many. 264 million people currently suffer symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.

Drinking More Than Planned

When a woman continues to drink despite experiencing medical or mental health issues like a co-occurring disorder, she likely struggles with an addiction to alcohol. This is especially true if drinking is the root cause of health problems. In general, for both men and women, chronic drinking carries with it an increased risk of long-term detrimental health effects. Alcohol use disorder is a disease that can affect anyone, but there are some signs of alcoholism that are more common in women than men. Although many symptoms of alcohol abuse in women and men are similar, women tend to have more physical problems at lower levels of alcohol consumption than men do. To protect your health from the long-term effects of alcohol addiction, seek the help of an alcohol and drug rehab center for women in Tacoma, Washington.

women and alcoholism

It’s important to understand the unique impact alcohol has on women and what the best course of treatment is for women with an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Because alcohol travels via water in the body and women have less water in their bodies, they will likely become more intoxicated than men who drink the same amount at a faster pace. This is especially true for binge drinking which for women is consuming 4 or more drinks in 2 hours. Women can even consume less of the substance in the same timeframe than men and still feel more pronounced effects of intoxication. Several hours later, women would likely have higher amounts of alcohol in their blood than men would if both drank the same amount. Being at higher levels of intoxication, women are at a higher risk for harmful consequences.

Covid’s Impact on Women’s Alcohol Abuse

Getting treatment for alcohol addiction is vitally important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, reducing stress, and preventing long-term physical and mental health problems. In addition to causing the physical problems outlined above, it can also have an effect on mental health as well, including new or worsening depression, anxiety, or other emotional issues. For women in particular, the line between healthful and harmful drinking is easy to cross. Because of body composition and other factors, women achieve a higher blood level of alcohol for each drink compared to men. This means women can become intoxicated faster and maintain blood alcohol levels longer, all which can lead to an increased risk for developing long-term health problems. Unfortunately, alcohol abuse has multiplied during the pandemic.

The U.S. National Pandemic Emotional Impact Report stated that women especially had experienced higher rates of sleep disruptions, anxiety, and changes in productivity since the pandemic began. Research shows that women also reported a 42% increase in heavy drinking days during the pandemic. Even as the country returns to pre-pandemic life, the damaging effects of alcohol abuse will likely be long-lasting for many women.

Helping Someone with a Drug Addiction

Evidence-based addiction treatment can help you achieve recovery. Many rehabs also offer speciality programs tailored for the unique needs women may experience when struggling with addiction. If you’re seeking addiction treatment, you may consider reaching out to your doctor. They may be able to help determine your medical needs and could refer you to a suitable rehab facility.

Do alcoholics have mental health issues?

Alcohol abuse can cause signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, psychosis, and antisocial behavior, both during intoxication and during withdrawal. At times, these symptoms and signs cluster, last for weeks, and mimic frank psychiatric disorders (i.e., are alcohol–induced syndromes).

As part of a research study, Sugarman and her colleagues gave women struggling with alcohol use information on how alcohol affects women differently than men. Some participants had been in detox 20 times yet had never heard this information, Sugarman said. Yet when it comes to prevention and treatment of alcohol-related health issues, “that message is not really getting out there,” Sugarman said. Until the 1990s, most research on alcohol focused on men. Now, as women approach parity in drinking habits, scientists are uncovering more about the unequal damage alcohol causes to their bodies.

It takes great strength and courage to commit to a rehabilitation program when alcohol is ruining your life. It is unclear why men are more likely to become alcoholic drinkers than women. However; one study suggests that the release of dopamine may be a huge factor. This research revealed that men produce more dopamine (one of the brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters) while drinking, which reinforces continued drinking because it feels so good.

When it comes to having an AUD, it really doesn’t matter whether you are a man or a woman. If you’re struggling with an alcohol addiction, it will bring you to your knees. In 2019, she returned to UNC-Chapel Hill and finished her degree in women’s and gender studies, even completing a capstone project on the links among sexual violence, trauma and addiction. Furthermore, young women are particularly vulnerable to some of these forms of trauma.

Although historically women have drink less than men, this gap between genders has been closing as rates of alcohol use and misuse has been rising among women. This increase is particularly concerning because women who drink are more likely to experience alcohol-related problems in comparison to men. In general, alcohol affects women more strongly than men.

women and alcoholism

First, women generally weigh less than men, therefore are more susceptible to both the immediate and longer-term effects of alcohol. Another sign of women’s alcohol addiction is the need to keep increasing the number of drinks to get the same buzz. This is a sign of tolerance, which occurs when the body becomes accustomed to something over time. What may start out as a glass or two of wine to relax and have fun gradually becomes four or more to get the same feeling. One study that looked at alcohol’s effects on college students early in the pandemic found increased alcohol use among those who reported higher levels of stress and anxiety. And several studies found women were more likely to report rises in drinking during the pandemic, especially if they experienced increased stress.

Research shows that youth who begin drinking before the age of 15 have a 40% higher risk of developing alcohol abuse or alcoholism than those who start drinking at older ages. To further complicate the psychological framework of alcoholism in women, alcohol’s effects on mental health can exacerbate existing issues. Alcohol creates changes in brain function, impacting the neurotransmitters that help control mood. In addition, the negative impact of alcohol abuse on self-care and relationships further denigrates young adult well-being. Not only are women less able to tolerate the effects of alcohol than men, they are also less likely to seek specific help to overcome any drinking problems they develop.

women and alcoholism

Another tragically common cause is the connection between alcohol and sexual assault in college. Women who self-medicate to ease traumatic life events before or after college such as sexual abuse often have an increased risk for alcoholism. The DSM-5, which classifies mental health disorders, lists a set of 11 criteria that help determine whether an individual has an alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence.

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