Unfortunately, the number of women who drink enough to be considered alcoholics is on the rise. With that comes an increase of specific dangers and complications that stem from women and alcohol abuse.
Women’s Health Takes a Big Hit
Because of our body composition, the effects of alcohol tend to hit us stronger, more intensely, and last longer. Women develop alcohol-related diseases and other consequences of drinking sooner than men, and after drinking smaller amounts of alcohol. Women are also more likely to abuse alcohol and other substances in order to self-medicate problems such as depression, anxiety, and stress, or to cope with emotional difficulties.
For women who are dependent on alcohol, they are more likely to fall victim to liver disease and brain damage. Additionally, breast cancer, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and heart disease risk all go up dramatically when a woman drinks more than what is considered “moderate” use of alcohol.
There’s No Cookie Cutter Effect Alcohol Has On Women
A number of different factors affect how a woman reacts to alcohol in her body. Her weight and health, age, genetics, and time since she last ate all impact how her body will react to alcohol. “Safe” drinking for women is about half of what it is for men. As a general guideline, one 12 ounce beer, or one 5 ounce glass of wine, or one 1.5 ounce serving of liquor is deemed as safe for women to drink daily. More than 7 drinks a week put a women in a risky area for all the health mentioned earlier along with other negative consequences.
A woman’s body processes alcohol more slowly than a man’s. One drink for a woman has about twice the effect of one for a man. Plus, women have an accelerated course of alcohol dependence, meaning that they can go from their first drink to their first alcohol-related problem to the need for treatment at a much faster pace than most men.
Women and Alcohol Abuse
Unfortunately, the more a woman drinks, the more she is putting herself in compromising situations that can lead to physical abuse or even as far as sexual assault. Alcohol plays a major factor in rape cases, being involved in ¾ cases. The percentages are the same in domestic violence.
We all know these situations can lead to irreparable damage – leaving women scarred for life, and perhaps even deepening their addiction to alcohol and drugs. The best thing to do is never allow yourself to get to the point where you are putting yourself, your body, and your well-being at risk.
Silver Recovery Linings
The good news is that women and men have an equal chance of recovery being a success. While it’s not clear exactly why, women tend to be less likely than men to enter a treatment program. Experts think that this may be because of societal standards and the responsibilities (such as children) that women have. However, with a shift towards more gender-specific treatment centers, the likelihood of women getting help and staying sober after treatment will hopefully continue to rise.