Alcoholism is commonly thought of as something that only affects men. This is not surprising since the condition is twice as common in men. However, what often goes unnoticed is that heavy drinking can be even more harmful to women than it is to men. Drinking has become more socially accepted among women. However, women are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol and they are at a higher risk of developing physical and psychological problems. If you or someone you love is experiencing challenges because of alcohol use, you need to seek professional help from our Asheville rehabilitation experts.
Why Women Develop Problem with Alcohol Use
There are several reasons why women struggle with drinking. Many are psychological. Women may start to use alcohol as a way of dealing with trauma or in an effort to mask anxiety or depression. In addition, the higher incidence of mood and eating disorders among women may predispose them to addiction.
There are also biological reasons why women can quickly progress from unproblematic drinking to dependence. Women tend to be more vulnerable to substance cravings, partly because of hormones. It is believed that estrogen can increase a woman’s cravings for alcohol and also make the effects stronger. Therefore, while it may take decades for a man who drinks heavily to develop moderate health challenges, a woman may develop severe problems in just a few years.
Environmental factors are also in play. In-person social connections aren’t as strong as they used to be. Even though people stay in contact via social media, women may no longer have the level of support they once got. The stress of juggling home and work may also drive more women towards substance use.
Regardless of why a woman begins to use alcohol in excess, the consequences can be severe.
Why Alcohol Problems Can Be So Detrimental for Women
As noted earlier, women tend to go from substance use to substance dependence more quickly than men. This means that there’s less time to prevent them from becoming dependent or to address the problem in the earliest stages.
In addition, binge drinking and long-term alcohol misuse have a more significant effect on women’s health. Women absorb alcohol into their bloodstream more quickly than men.
Also, since women’s bodies contain more fatty tissue and less water than men, there’s greater exposure to the harmful effects of alcohol. This means liver damage and brain atrophy occur more quickly. Women also tend to develop hypertension and anemia more quickly than men.
Furthermore, women who have an alcohol use disorder are more likely to die as a result of alcohol-related causes than men with a similar disorder. Women who are dependent on alcohol are also more at risk for developing cancer than men.
Despite all these dangers, many women with alcohol use disorder don’t seek professional help. There’s no single explanation for why this occurs. In some cases, it’s because they care for children or elderly parents and they don’t think they can take time away from home. Some fear their children will be taken from them if they admit they have a problem with alcohol use. Others are victims of domestic abuse and they believe it would be dangerous to try to seek treatment. This means that not only are women predisposed to poorer outcomes when they develop drinking problems, but they are less likely to get the assistance they need.
Signs of An Alcohol Use Disorder
If you’re reading this and wondering if you should seek professional help, the following questions will provide some guidance. If on reflecting over the past year, you answer yes to one or more questions, you may have an alcohol use disorder.
- Have you tried to stop or reduce your drinking but couldn’t?
- Have you felt a strong urge to drink?
- Did you spend a lot of time drinking or recovering from drinking?
- Did you end up drinking more or for longer than you intended?
- Did you find that drinking or the effects of drinking affected your job or family life?
- Did you continue drinking even though it was causing problems with your family or friends?
- Did you neglect your usual activities and responsibilities so you could drink?
- Did you get into dangerous situations while drinking or after drinking?
- Did you keep drinking even though your health was worsening or it made you depressed or anxious?
- Did you have to drink more and more to feel the effects?
- Did you experience withdrawal symptoms when the effects wore off?
Contact Asheville Recovery Center Today!
Everyone has a unique experience with addiction and recovery looks different for each person. That’s why Asheville Recovery Center takes a personalized approach to each client. Contact us today to learn about all the treatment options we offer.