Colorado Drug Rehab....Women and Alcohol
Is There a Difference in How Alcohol Affects Women?
Many people that have known women who have an alcohol problem or have one themselves have noticed or experienced the severity of consequences that is foster by female hormones and the facts about how women actully suffer more under the influence of alcohol than do men is a valuable point whether you are trying to help a female alcoholic or are suffering from alcohol addiction yourself.
Here are the Facts:
• Women appear to be more vulnerable than men to many of the adverse consequences of alcohol use.
• Women achieve higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood and become more impaired than men after drinking equivalent amounts of alcohol.
• Research suggest that women are more susceptible than men to alcohol-related organ damage and to traumas resulting from traffic accidents and interpersonal violence.
Surveys indicate that alcohol use is more prevalent among men than women in the U.S. Among drinkers surveyed, 10% of women and 22% of men consumed an average of two or more drinks per day. Why then are women more vulnerable to the adverse consequences?
• Women absorb and metabolized alcohol differently than men.
• Women have less body water than men of similar body weight, therefore, women achieve higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood after drinking equivalent amounts.
• Compared with men, women develop alcohol-induced liver disease and cirrhosis over a shorter period of time and after consuming less alcohol. (Studies indicate that estrogen increases the risk of liver damage.)
• Women will have the same alcohol-associated heart muscle disease with 60% lower lifetime alcohol consumption than men.
• Women metabolize alcohol more slowly than men, leaving their tissues and organs exposed to higher levels of alcohol for longer periods of time.
The consequences of heavy alcohol consumption is extremely damaging to the body and since alcohol affects women more severely than men, they are more likely to demonstrate the severe effects of chronic alcohol abuse.
The liver is the chief organ responsible for breaking down alcohol into harmless byproducts and clearing it from the body. Prolonged drinking fatigues the liver and causes cirrhosis, which harms the brain, leading to serious and potentially fatal brain disorder known as hepatic encephalopathy. This disease causes sleep disorders, mood and personality problems; anxiety and depression; severe cognitive effects such as shortened attention span; and problems with coordination, and, ultimately, causes a person to slip into a coma and death.
Of course, there is one other area of differentiation that must be mentioned. Drinking during pregnancy can lead to a range of physical, learning and behavioral effects in the developing brain, the most serious of which is a collection of symptoms known as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Children with FAS may have distinct facial features and are markedly smaller than average. Their brains may have less volume, accounting for fewer brain cells and abnormally developed brains, leading to long-term problems in learning and behavior.
Even in small amounts, alcohol affects women differently than men. In some ways, heavy drinking is much more risky for women than it is for men. Some women should not drink at all, including:
• Anyone under the age of 21
• People of any age who are unable to restrict their drinking to a moderate level
• Women who may become pregnant or who are pregnant
• Women who plan to drive, operate machinery,, or take part in other activities that require attention, skill or coordination
• Women taking prescription or over-the-counter medication that can interact with alcohol
In summary, women need to be more careful about alcohol consumption than men because:
Women are at greater risk than men for developing alcohol-related problems
Alcohol passes through the digestive tract and is dispersed in the water of the body, which dilutes the concentration of alcohol and its effects on the body. As a rule, men weigh more than women and, pound for pound, women have less water in their bodies than men. Therefore, a woman’s brain and other organ are exposed to more alcohol and to more of the toxic byproducts that result from the metabolism of alcohol, which cause more severe and rapid damage to their bodies than seen in men.
Women need to recognize these differences and behave accordingly.
This data should be used to help intervene on alcoholic women to help them understand that addiction treatment is essential to arrest further physical and emotion damage. It is obvious that time is not a friend to women that are abusing alcohol.
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DISCLAIMER: None of the information contained here should be considered medical advice. Alcohol and drug detoxification should be done under medical and/or professional supervision. At the first sign of alcohol or drug withdrawal sysmpoms or discomfort, immediately seek medical advice. Do not attempt to detox from alcohol or other drugs without proper medical supervision. If you feel that you have a medical emergency, call 911 and seek local advice.