Historically, alcoholism has been a health issue that is more prevalent in men as compared to women. Men have always consumed more alcohol in previous generations. But this appears to be changing of late. Biologically speaking, women are more prone to alcoholism compared to men based on their body compositions – female drinkers tend to experience adverse effects and develop alcohol-related addictions more quickly than their male counterparts.
The changing social norms are playing a role in this development. It is becoming more acceptable for women of all ages to drink. This has reached alarming proportions, to the point that the health epidemic of women and alcoholism that is impacting millions of American families.
At least one statistic here is good news – it has been found that women are also more likely to seek treatment for alcoholism than men. There are several factors for that. It is more socially acceptable for women to be open and honest with their feelings than it is for men, which facilitates the process of getting help and being treated. Women also tend to be more responsible about alcoholism given its obvious impact on pregnancy. They are very careful about protecting their family and cite that as their primary reason for seeking treatment.
Binge drinking for women is defined as 4 or more drinks in less than a 2-hour period. This activity is becoming increasingly common. It was reported in a recent study that around 40 percent of White women, over 10 percent of Hispanic women, and less than 10 percent of black women were found to binge drink. Women who binge drink are at an increased risk of alcohol abuse and alcoholism, liver damage, dehydration, more likely to be subjected to sexual assault, more prone to reckless and risky behavior, and most critically, have a higher likelihood of suffering from alcohol poisoning, leading to death. Not all binge drinking females are alcoholics, but those who binge drink are more likely to become so, especially if it continues for an extended period of time. Ethnic background plays a role in how likely it is for someone to develop alcoholism. A study has shown that 71 percent of white women become heavy drinkers at some point in their lives, along with 47 percent of black women, 47 percent of Hispanic women, and 37 percent of Asian women.
Women are also more likely to suffer from a number of unique alcohol-related health risks that do not impact their male counterparts. The most critical among them is breast cancer. It has been found that women who consume large amounts of alcohol are at an increased risk of breast cancer (two drinks per day increase the risk by 1%, 6 or more drinks increases the risk by 4%). Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a well-known major alcohol-induced complication of pregnancy (occurring at the rate of 1 in 10 pregnant women drink alcohol and 1 in 50 pregnant women binge drink). Other health risks, while not exclusive to women, include alcoholic hepatitis, heart disease, brain damage, mental health issues, fatty liver, and various cancers.