Women and Alcohol Abuse
April 21, 2017

What is Alcohol Abuse?

With alcohol abuse, an individual is not yet physically dependent on alcohol but still has a serious drinking problem. Symptoms of alcohol abuse may include a failure to fulfill major work, school, or home responsibilities, legal, or social problems. It is important to note that alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction are not the same thing. Individuals who suffer from alcohol addiction may build up a tolerance to the substance and continue to drink even when alcohol-related problems become evident. Those that abuse alcohol are not necessarily addicted to it.

It is reported that fewer women drink than men, but among the heaviest drinkers, women equal or surpass men in the number of problems that result from their drinking. Gender differences in the body structure and chemistry cause women to absorb more alcohol, and take longer to break it down and remove it from their bodies. Reports show that female alcoholics have death rates 50 to 100 percent higher than those of male alcoholics. This includes deaths from suicides, alcohol-related accidents, heart disease and stroke.

Alcohol has varying effects for women than men. For women, even when drinking smaller amounts there are more health risks which include breast cancer, liver disease, and brain damage. An estimated 5.3 million women in the United States drink in a way that threatens their health, safety, and general well-being.

What is considered to be a drink?

In the U.S. a standard drink is one that contains about 14 grams of pure alcohol which is found in 12 ounces of beer containing 5 percent alcohol content, 5 ounces of wine with 12 percent alcohol content, 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits with 40 percent alcohol content.

Effects of Alcohol Consumption in Relation to Age

Age also is a factor when it comes to the effects of alcohol abuse on women. Despite the fact that drinking under the age of 21 is illegal, the reality is that many adolescent girls drink. Statistics show that about 37 percent of 9th grade girls report having drank in the last month. Approximately 17 percent of these girls reported having had five or more drinks on a single occasion during the previous month. Young people who start drinking before the age of 15 have a 40 percent higher risk of developing alcohol abuse or alcoholism some time in their lives in comparison to those who wait until age 21 to begin drinking.

Younger women in their twenties and early thirties are more likely to drink than older women. Studies also show that women found to have suffered childhood sexual abuse are more likely to have drinking problems. Depression is also closely linked to heavy drinking in women, and women who drink at home alone are more likely than others to have drinking problems later on. Women in this age group are also more likely to become pregnant and face the greatest risk of having babies born with mental and growth impairments due to fetal alcohol syndrome caused by drinking during pregnancy.

The risks related to alcohol consumption as women grow older remain present. Although, as they grow older fewer women typically drink, research suggests that people born in recent decades are more likely to drink throughout their lifetime. It is reported that elderly patients are admitted to hospitals about as often for alcohol-related causes as they are for heart attacks.

Treatment for Alcohol Abuse

It is strongly recommended that individuals seeking treatment for alcohol abuse complete medically assisted detox with continued treatment through addiction recovery programs. For additional information about alcohol abuse treatment at A New Start, Inc., contact us today at 1.844.TALK.ANS.


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