It has long been argued, because of the biological and physiological differences existing between men and women, that women are much more negatively affected by alcohol consumption and alcoholism than men. In fact, it is estimated that, on average, the effect of one alcoholic drink consumed by a woman is equal to that of two alcoholic drinks consumed by a man. The cause behind the difference in how alcohol affects men and women is attributed to the fact that “women’s bodies contain less water and more body fat than their male counterparts. Water dilutes substances, such as alcohol, while fat helps retain it in the body. Thus, women end up with higher concentrations of alcohol in their blood stream.”
A recent study, however, casts an even darker shadow on the reality that women afflicted by alcoholism face.
Alcoholism May Prove Twice as Deadly for Women than for Men
A study conducted in Germany to be published in the January issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, after fourteen years of observation, found that “women with alcohol addiction were five times more likely to die during those 14 years than women in the general population—which was about double that of men in the general population.”
The study, first established in 1998, followed the lives of 4,070 people in northern Germany of which 153 were found to be alcoholics. Researchers followed up with 149 of the individuals purportedly suffering from alcohol addiction 14 years after the study’s inception, finding that “nearly a fifth of the 149 alcoholics had died during the 14 years: seven of the 30 women, and 21 of the 119 men. For the women, this translated to an annual death rate of 1.67 percent; among women in the general population, the annual death rate was 0.36 percent. For the alcoholic men, the annual death rate was 1.26 percent, while the annual death rate for men in the general population was 0.66 percent.”
While men certainly are not in the clear, the study, further building on the notion that alcoholism disproportionately affects more women than men, effectively quantifies the probability of women falling victim to alcohol-related diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver.
Seeking Treatment for Alcoholism in South Florida
Though this is just one study, it points to yet another reason why treatment for substance abuse, addiction, and alcoholism should be sought at first notice of possible chemical dependency. And, though we recommend treatment for anyone suffering from addiction, women more so should perhaps take a cue from this study and work to curb alcohol consumption and secure the aid of treatment professionals. Doing so may just lessen the effects of alcohol abuse and allow for the further enjoyment of the little things one might miss because of alcohol-related disease.