Women enjoy drinking a little bit of alcohol as much as anyone else. They may want to celebrate something, simply feel a bit more sociable or have a drink to unwind at the end of a long day. The vast majority of women drink responsibly, but some have a bigger chance of developing alcoholism. Additionally, alcohol affects women in different ways than men. Hence, although men tend to drink more than women, the harmful effects of the toxin tend to be far more severe in women.
Women usually develop the diseases and other harmful effects caused by alcohol much sooner than what a man does, and by drinking less alcohol. Furthermore, it is known that women are more likely to use alcohol and other substances to self-medicate when they experience emotional difficulties such as stress, anxiety and/or depression.
Women who drink more than the recommended amount (more than 7 weekly drinks) are at an increased risk of traumatic injuries, including those caused by car accidents. Furthermore, their risk of developing strokes and hypertension is increased, as is the amount of suicidal thoughts. Additionally, women are more likely to slip into an alcohol dependency.
The Health Consequences
Alcohol can lead to a range of health problems, and women are particularly susceptible to these. It is very important to be aware of the associated health risks associated with alcoholism in women. These include:
- Liver disease, including hepatitis and cirrhosis. Cirrhosis destroys the liver, which means people are no longer able to digest properly and detox their body. Alcohol withdrawal can be fatal.
- Brain damage, including a reduction in brain size and loss of mental function.
- Falls and hip fractures
- Thinning of the bones (osteoporosis)
- Infertility or fertility problems like miscarriages
- Early menopause
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
Alcohol and Breast Cancer
It is believed that there is an increased chance of developing breast cancer in women who drink to excess. One 4 oz glass of wine, equating to 10 grams of alcohol, per day increase the risk of developing breast cancer by 10%. It is important to properly understand this. All women have a 9% chance of developing breast cancer, even if they abstain completely. If they drink two drinks per day on average, this chance is raised to just over 10%. Finally, if they drink six units per day, then there chance of developing breast cancer is 13%.
Women – and Girls – Drink More Nowadays
In a study by the Center for Disease Control, it was found that 47% of all women over the age of 12 in this country see themselves as a current drinker. This means they must have consumed alcohol in the past 30 days. This is not the first study of its kind, and it is emerging that there is a trend of increased alcohol consumption, particularly in white, employed women. One reason for this, it is believed, is because the social stigma of female drinking is fading tremendously.
In the past, women believed they had a social stigma attached to them being drunk. However, a recent study demonstrated that one in three female students currently openly binge drinks. This is a doubling of the previous statistics of 1993. It also demonstrated that half of all problem drinkers in colleges and universities are female. These are frightening and worrying statistics.
Alcohol abuse can have significant health effects. Furthermore, because alcohol breaks down feelings of self-control and has a slightly euphoric effect, it is also believed that this is possibly contributing to an increase in sexually transmitted infections, in particular chlamydia in both men and women.
Unfortunately, the social stigma on admitting you have a drinking problem still remains firmly in place. Women often struggle with their addiction by themselves and never seek help until it is too late. At Creative Care, we want to break through this and ensure women are able to receive the same treatment as men, as their problem is equally valid if not even more serious. If you are currently struggling with an alcohol problem, or have a female loved one who you believe needs help, then please contact us today. Creative Care is there to help you regain control of your life and to get you started on the road to recovery.