People tend to think that alcohol is processed by women differently from men simply because women are smaller and less alcohol is more. The truth is alcohol affects women in much more complex and scary way.
According to National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), Addiction may be an equal opportunity disease, but it affects women differently.
- Women become addicted in different ways from men
- Women start using for different reasons
- In women the disease progresses faster
- Women recover differently
- Women relapse for different reasons
Because the makeup of the female body a woman will process alcohol differently from a man:
- Women typically weigh less than men
- They have less water in their body than men
- Women have less of the stomach enzyme that is used to break down alcohol
- This leads to a higher Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
- Women have more fatty tissue than men, so alcohol is absorbed more slowly and stays longer
- Because of these factors the alcohol stays in the brain and other organs for longer period
- One drink has twice the impact on a woman than a man
These physiological differences increase health risks in four key ways.
Per NCADD any amount of alcohol during pregnancy can increase the chances of a fetus developing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, including low birth weight and enduring cognitive and behavioral problems.
2. Liver Disease
The National Institute of Health (NIH) states women who drink are more likely to develop liver inflammation than men.
3. Heart Disease
Women are also more susceptible to alcohol-related heart disease than men.
4. Breast Cancer
Women who have about one drink per day have an increased chance of breast cancer compared to women who do not drink at all.
Fastest Growing Section For Alcohol Use
Typically, men had the highest reported rate of substance abuse and dependence, but women are quickly closing that gap. Young women especially have an equal chance of alcohol abuse and dependence as young men.
While everyone should be aware of the dangers of using alcohol, women especially may want to know the facts. If you struggle with drinking more than you'd like, you can find help near you at Recovery Guidance.
I was born into a large Catholic Family of 14 children in Upstate New York. I graduated with my degree in Professional and Technical Writing from University of South Florida. My recovery story began when I witnessed addiction in close relatives and friends. Unable to change them I began to focus on what I could change, me. Building a support system for myself I now strive daily to keep the focus on me. In my articles I sometimes share stories from my own experience, strength, and hope. It is my hope that others will find courage to see "the elephant in the room" and seek out help for themselves against this cunning,baffling,and powerful disease.