Women and Alcohol

If you are stressed do you like to have a drink after work to relax?

Alcoholism is different for men and women, although both can suffer from this disorder there are often different reasons why drinking becomes a problem.

Women also metabolize alcohol differently and hence suffer unique health consequences as a result of drinking to excess. They are often more secretive and more harshly treated by society so are often in denial of their habit. Sometimes women feel too ashamed to seek help and therefore sadly they tend to show a much more rapid progression of the disorder than men.

It is estimated that almost one third of alcoholics in the uk are women, health experts also insist that the problems from excessive and long term consumption of alcoholic drinks affect women in more serious ways than men.

Metabolic rates are different in Men and women and this means that because of a higher ratio of body fat in a women’s body they have higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood. Women also have less of the stomach enzyme that breaks down alcohol before it reaches the blood stream so that means that women also absorb as much as 30% more alcohol than a man of the same height and weight.

It is thought that as many as 40% of people who start drinking before the age of 15 years will develop alcoholism in adulthood. Those with a history of Depression, Anxiety and other mental health disorders are more at risk. there is also evidence of hereditary tendency. Alcohol dependency in women is greatest between the ages of 34-49 yrs.

Low self esteem, confidence, Divorce, Bereavement, loneliness and stress are all triggers. Women dependent on alcohol can develop medical complications much sooner than men despite consuming less. They develop liver disease after a shorter period of heavy drinking. There are also hormonal problems for women.

Warning signs of alcohol dependency are:

Cravings, loss of control or being unable to stop once drinking has begun, physical withdrawal symptoms such as shaking and sweating after a period of heavy drinking. Tolerance of alcohol also increases over time and there is often a need for larger amounts to feel the same effect. As alcoholism progresses the user may neglect family, social or work related activities and commitments due to drinking. A person who is dependent on alcohol will often carry on drinking despite concerns from friends or family. They will also continue to drink even in the presence of physical or psychological problems.