Women and Alcoholism

Post Image

Over the last couple of decades or so, the field of addiction research has dramatically expanded, and the ways we view and treat substance abuse have given hope to countless addicts worldwide. This increased knowledge of the roots and causes of addiction is slowly helping to erase the stigma that surrounds addiction. While the study, treatment and understanding of addiction as whole has become more all-encompassing, there are some areas of addiction study that still need further exploration. One clear example is the connection between women and alcohol abuse.

Up until recently, the majority of addiction studies and its’ impacts on an individual’s physical, psychological and spiritual well-being have focused on men. However, the unique issues that pertain to women and alcoholism have been the focus of greater research. As a result, we are beginning to have a much better understanding on how the disease of alcoholism affects women and what specific factors contribute to its development. From this important research, treatment models that focus on the unique needs of women are being created which allow them a better chance at meaningful recovery.

Are you a woman who is seeking a drug treatment facility that features programming that addresses your specific needs? Call Ocean Breeze Recovery Center today and find out more about our holistic-based drug treatment programs for women.

Some Fast Facts About Women and Alcohol Abuse

woman drinking alcohol

Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in the United States. It is estimated that approximately 7% to 12% of women abuse alcohol, compared with 20% of men. Research had suggested that the gender gap between men and women regarding rates of alcoholism has been narrowing due in large part that drinking by women has become more socially acceptable. According to a comprehensive national analysis of hospitalizations for alcohol overdoses, it was discovered that the rate of young females age eighteen to twenty-four jumped 50 percent between 1999 and 2008 while the rate for young men rose only 8 percent.

In terms of actual numbers of women who are alcohol dependent or alcoholic, the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism estimated that of the over 15 million people in the United States who are alcohol dependent or abuse alcohol, about one-third (or 4.6 million) are women.

Women Drink Differently Than Men

While women have slowly been catching up to men in regards to alcohol abuse, alcohol affects women differently than it does men. In general, women who drink consume less alcohol and have fewer alcohol dependency symptoms than man, but women equal or surpass men in the number of drinking-related problems. The ways in which alcohol effects a woman’s body is not yet fully understood, but some studies suggest that the hormone estrogen reacts with alcohol in such a way that it increases the risk of liver problems.

Also, it is also believed that women lack certain stomach enzymes that are crucial for breaking down alcohol as quickly and efficiently as possible. Additionally, it also needs to be pointed out that women have less water per pound in comparison to men. As a result, women who drink the same amount as men will have higher blood/alcohol concentrations. Even at low levels, women have a greater risk of developing specific health conditions and diseases such as heart disease and breast cancer.

Seeking Treatment

For women who realize they have an alcohol addiction problem and seek treatment, they experience numerous significant barriers to treatment. Compared to men with alcohol dependency and addiction issues,  women are likely to be at a socioeconomic and educational disadvantage and are often underemployed or unemployed. Secondly, women also have primary child-care responsibilities, and the chances of entering a residential treatment facility that offers any form of child care is small. While the trajectory of alcoholism progress more rapidly to serious consequences in women, they tend to see their substance abuse as stress-related and as a temporary crutch. As a result, they may feel that will go away without the need for treatment.

Additionally, women are less likely than men to know how and where to get the appropriate treatment they need. Typically. women will  refer themselves, sometimes prompted by family or friends, or are referred by the criminal justice system or social service agencies. In contrast, men that seek treatment are usually are referred by employers, doctors, or the legal system. These sources are generally considered to be more knowledgeable about treatment options.

Special Considerations for Women Seeking Alcohol Treatment

While women who are seeking alcohol treatment face considerable obstacles in finding treatment programs that fit their specific needs, when they find treatment they stick with treatment and have similar success rates to men in regards to sustaining recovery. In particular, women need to find treatment services that can address the issues specific to their experience–especially those that include trauma due to past physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Women also need substance abuse treatment that is multimodal and addresses social services such as vocational rehabilitation.  These comprehensive services can mean the difference between treatment failure and success.

Women also need to seek treatment services which emphasize group counseling and an environment which is nurturing and provides empowerment. Many drug treatment models are punitive and reward based and were developed after extensive testing with men–and this type of approach may not work well with female populations. Additionally, onsite child care and children’s services should also be a top priority. While many treatment facilities across the country employ the more traditional treatment models, and increasing number of treatment centers are incorporating treatment programs that emphasize a women’s needs.

For Drug Treatment That Truly Can Make A Difference, Call Ocean Breeze Recovery Center Today

If you are a woman who is struggling with alcoholism, don’t settle for a treatment program that fails to address your specific needs. As one of the premier drug and alcohol treatment facilities in Florida, Ocean Breeze Recovery Center features well-developed treatment programs created specifically for women. With our unique holistic approach and a wide range of services and therapy options, our experienced staff can create an individual treatment plan that will give you the best chance to succeed in your recovery.

Call us today and make your recovery a reality.

Related Reading