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Effects of Alcohol: Heavy Drinking Rising Among Women

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effects-of -alcohol in women The effects of alcohol is different for women and men, and consuming the same amount of alcohol can be more than misleading. While both parties may want to think that they can drink the same amount, their physical and chemical structure proves otherwise.  According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 14 million women are routinely partaking in binge drinking at least three times a month.

Effects of Alcohol

Since women are typically smaller in size than men, their bodies absorb alcohol at a different rate and will become drunk much quicker. In addition to this, genetics play a more detailed role, according to the CDC.  Females have alcohol dehydrogenase, which is an enzyme in the liver and stomach that essentially switches alcohol into aldehydes.  This enzyme is a huge contributing factor in why women may be getting addicted to alcohol much quicker than their male counterparts.

Alcohol affects organs in the body differently for women.

The effects of alcohol aren’t exactly the same for women as they are for men.  The liver, for example, swells up faster than it would for men and doesn’t require as much alcohol to do so.  Too much drinking also violently attacks the heart’s muscles.  When the heart’s muscles are put into distress, cardiovascular problems arise.  The American Stroke Association stated women are more likely to suffer from a stroke as a result of their heavy drinking in comparison to men.  Additionally, it was stated by the National Institute of Health (NIH) that there is a 30-50% increased risk for breast cancer with alcohol consumption when compared to those who abstained from alcoholic beverages.  Dr. Elizabeth Chabner Thompson,  radiation oncologist, stated that osteoporosis may pose a threat to women as a direct result of too much drinking over time.

How do the effects of alcohol on women impact the significant increase in heavy drinking females?

The CDC claimed an estimated 23,000 women suffered from alcohol related issues within the last year – a record amount.  One theory is that many females are high functioning heavy drinkers and cannot actually tell that it poses such a problem in their life because the consequences aren’t severe enough yet.  A well-known journalist Ann Dowsett-Johnston best described the conundrum with her own personal experience, “I was highly functioning.  Never missed a day of work.  Never cracked up a car.  Never drank during the day.  I was the Poster Girl for today’s drinking woman.”  The problem here is that most people believe they need to lose material possessions and not be able to maintain careers and relationships in order to be suffering from heavy drinking, but as seen in the example above, that just isn’t the case.

Another theory is age related, middle aged women more specifically.  When compared to men, this age range seems to be particularly rough for women.  Many women have expressed difficulties in this age group because most of their children are grown and leaving the house, causing them to fall into a mild state of depression.  Some claim they feel they have somewhat of an identity crisis due to a lack of employment or other passionate interests, while others state they cannot cope with the hormonal changes, aging, moving parents to nursing homes, death of parents, or loss of marriages.  Some of these could be the same for both genders, though.  Either way, it could all factor in as to why heavy drinking has risen for women through the past decade.

In short, the effects of alcohol vary from person to person and anyone who is engaging in heavy drinking behaviors is encouraged to reach out for help to stop.  If you feel you or someone you love may have a drinking problem, call The Watershed at 1-800-861-1768  for help today.  A life can exist without the crutch of alcohol to guide you throughout the day.




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