May 16 | By Rachael
I didn’t get drunk, but I liked how the wine took the edge off my day … if the alcohol failed to take away the sadness, it made the feeling blurrier,” said Helen, the principal protagonist of the novel, “Under the Influence,” written by the bestselling author Joyce Maynard.
It is a fact that women tap into their emotions more than men, and often fall prey to various vices to stifle their ongoing emotional turmoil. Today, alcohol is no more a “man’s” problem as record numbers of women are picking up the bottle, thereby narrowing the gender gap. Women drink due to a variety of reasons, ranging from enhancing social acceptability to using it as a means to cope with stress or having fun on a spring break. As per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 60 percent of the American women have at least one drink a year, while 13 percent of those who drink have more than seven drinks per week.
In recent times, there has been a significant shift in the drinking landscape among men and women. Surprisingly, a lot of women today are drinking in more harmful ways than their male counterparts owing to various social, cultural and economic factors that advocate drinking habit in women. Of late, clever marketing has also brought about a sea change in the way women drink. The ongoing marketing ploys, such as making women’s drinks sweeter and more colorful, have resulted in more women indulging in binge drinking.
According to George Koob, the director of the NIAAA, “the evidence of increasing alcohol use by females is particularly concerning given that women are at greater risk than men of a variety of alcohol-related health effects, including liver inflammation, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and cancer.” Alcohol abuse in women increases their risks of breast cancer and cirrhosis. This is because women have a different physiology as compared to men, along with smaller liver and lighter body mass, which makes the disposal of toxins difficult. Other health disorders that could arise because of chronic alcohol abuse are:
“A woman’s brain and other organs are exposed to more alcohol and to more of the toxic byproducts that result when the body breaks down and eliminates alcohol,” observed the NIAAA. Considering the severity of the substance abuse problem, changes were made in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 2013, under which “abuse” and “dependence” are not presented as separate categories, but instead, they are grouped under the combined category of “spectrum of substance abuse disorders.”
Studies have shown that women with alcohol abuse disorder (AUD) can achieve significant benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which offers a hands-on practical approach to problem solving, and also prevents alcohol abuse from spiraling down to an addiction.
While women are at par with men when it comes to alcohol use, it certainly does not end well for them, as it causes both psychological and physiological damage. Detox and therapies, which are evidence based and female centric, can help women in reclaiming life. While it is true that abstinence from alcohol often results in less social contact, benefits of abstinence often outweigh the shortfalls.
If you or someone you know is battling an addiction to alcohol, it is time to get professional help. Contact the Colorado Alcohol Addiction Help to find the best alcohol addiction treatment centers in Colorado. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-592-9261 or chat online to know about various treatment centers for alcohol addiction available in your vicinity.