Alcohol abuse affects women and men differently. Men more often abuse alcohol or at least use it in larger amounts. That sometimes leads to alcohol’s impact on women being downplayed or ignored. In fact, the gap in alcohol usage and abuse between men and women has narrowed in recent years. Furthermore, biological differences in women are actually more likely to mean they will experience long-term health impacts from alcohol usage compared to men. That is because women metabolize alcohol more slowly and absorb it faster.
How Alcohol Abuse Affects Women
Women are affected uniquely by alcohol use. For starters, and perhaps most simply, alcohol affects women more strongly than it does men. Research points to women being twice as likely to develop alcohol abuse disorder and resulting health complications from binge or heavy drinking. Common health complications for women resulting from alcohol abuse include:
- High blood pressure
- Liver damage
- Heart problems
- Breast cancer
The unfortunate truth is that millions of American women struggling with alcohol addiction are less likely to seek help than men with the same substance abuse disorder. But why does alcohol abuse affect women more strongly in the first place? The answer is biological. In general, women weigh less than men. That means women absorb alcohol more quickly. Blood alcohol levels will be higher in a woman than in a man hours after consuming the same amount of alcohol.
Women and Alcohol
One of the most significant factors concerning women and alcohol is pregnancy. According to the CDC, no amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy is safe for the fetus. Alcohol use during pregnancy can result in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), the most dangerous of which is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
FAS is known to cause birth defects and intellectual disabilities. The good news is that babies are in no danger of developing an FASD if the mother abstains from alcohol during pregnancy. Moreover, alcohol use during pregnancy also increases the risk for miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, and sudden infant death syndrome.
Another factor to be aware of regarding how alcohol abuse affects women is the way alcohol abuse shows up in the college years. Both genders drink alcohol at high rates in the late teens and early twenties. But it is especially high among female college students. The prevalence of sexual assault experiences during the college years is also connected to alcohol abuse. Women who are the victims of sexual assault or abuse often seek solace in the numbing effects of alcohol and are more in danger of developing alcoholism as a result.
Women’s Alcohol Rehab Center
Since the way alcohol abuse affects women differs from how it affects men, it makes sense that women need customized treatment that takes those differences into account. That’s why Georgia Addiction Treatment Center offers women-specific treatment through our women’s rehab center. Gender-exclusive programming provides a secure, comfortable, mutually respectful environment for women to undergo recovery.
The benefits of our gender-specific program include:
- Transparent communication between staff and patients
- No distractions or risks from interacting with the opposite sex
- A strong support network during and after treatment
- Customized treatment plans
- An aftercare plan that equips our clients with education, resources, and support to achieve long-term recovery
We help jumpstart recovery for women with comprehensive services. You can find a full range of options to meet your needs and access the level of care that best fits your lifestyle. Help and healing from alcohol abuse are waiting for you when you call Georgia Addiction Treatment Center at 855.952.3546.