Women and Alcohol: The Hidden Risks of Drinking

By The Care Centers. Posted on Thu Mar 03 2016

It’s no secret that men and women have a number of physical and medical differences. However, when it comes to alcohol, as a society, we tend to forget about those differences and the hidden risks of drinking alcohol for women. From behavioral risks to medical risks, all too few people consider these factors when determining how often or how much they’ll drink. Understanding them, however, may greatly reduce your likelihood for developing a medical disorder or even developing an alcohol dependency.

Women Metabolize Alcohol Slower Than Men
When an average woman and an average man each drink the same amount of alcohol at the same time, which do you think will be in a good state to drive sooner? Because most women are smaller than most men, and because they metabolize alcohol at a slower rate, after drinking the same amount of alcohol, a woman will tend to have a higher blood alcohol content (BAC) than a man. Furthermore, her BAC will remain higher for longer.

Increased Risk of Liver Disease
Because, pound-for-pound, she will expose both her liver and brain to more alcohol than her male counterpart drinking the same amount, a woman does not have to drink as much alcohol to become intoxicated. This means that a woman drinking the same amount or less than a man may be at an increased risk of liver and kidney disease or failure.

Hidden Alcoholism
Likewise, because women do not have to drink as much alcohol to reach a higher BAC, a woman may drink regularly and appear to be drinking a “reasonable” amount to others. Many women who have problems with alcohol drink less than men, and so their addictions may go unnoticed for far longer than they would if they were drinking as much volume as a man would need to get to the same BAC.

Increased Risk of Breast Cancer and Other Medical Disorders
Studies have shown that women who drink to excess are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer and other cancers of the head and neck. Because women are generally more susceptible to less alcohol, brain damage is a much larger concern for women with alcohol problems than it is for men. Women who suffer from alcoholism are also more susceptible to being victims of violence or sexual assault, and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to increased cases of depression and anxiety.

Alcohol and Pregnancy
Women who have alcohol problems often have difficulty conceiving. Then, when they do conceive, they may cause harm to their babies by drinking to excess during pregnancy or by attempting to quit drinking and going through withdrawals. We should also note that no amount of alcohol consumption is considered safe during pregnancy.

Women can seek help for alcoholism and drug abuse through a qualified rehab facility with a caring staff who will help them regain control over their behavior and their health. After rehab, you can enjoy better relationships with friends and family, as well as a more stable work life and social life.

Tags: Mental Health