Why Are Women More Affected by Alcohol?

women affected by alcohol

For decades, most scientific research into the substance abuse issues centered on men’s needs and related problems. Until recently, the medical community’s entire understanding of addiction overlooked the disease’s disproportionate impact on women. For example, women who drink regularly tend to move through tolerance to dependence to full-blown addiction more rapidly than men – a condition addiction professionals call “telescoping.” Women also experience extensive alcohol-related problems affecting their health and well-being.

As our understanding of women’s unique issues with alcohol has evolved, so has our ability to address women’s needs compassionately. As Alcohol Awareness Month comes to a close, read on to learn more about what makes alcohol a unique threat to women and how you can find long-lasting recovery from an alcohol abuse disorder.

Gender Differences in Alcohol’s Effects

What makes alcohol a more severe health threat for women? The answer is biological. Women’s bodies process substances differently from men. For example, because women have more fatty tissue and metabolize alcohol more slowly than men, one alcoholic beverage for a woman can have a significantly higher physical impact than the identical drink for a man.

When women drink, the alcohol remains in their bodies longer, where it can do long-lasting organ and tissue damage. In the long term, women who abuse alcohol are more susceptible to suffering related health problems, including brain damage, liver damage, heart disease and breast cancer. For this reason, we often see women entering our Arizona rehab facility with advanced illness, even if they misused substances for shorter periods than men who seek help.

Treatment Barriers Facing Women

Women with unresolved conditions like depression and anxiety disorders may begin drinking to manage their symptoms, then encounter powerful cravings and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop.

Unfortunately, women who become addicted to alcohol and realize they need help to get sober also encounter distinct barriers to entering a treatment program, including social stigma and a lack of family support.

Other factors that might prevent women from seeking treatment include the following.

  • The burden of household obligations like child care, cooking and cleaning falls disproportionately on women’s shoulders. You may feel guilty or uncomfortable asking someone else to help manage these tasks while you focus on recovery.
  • Most women earn less than their male colleagues due to the gender pay gap. Women who are already struggling to make ends meet may believe the cost of rehab is out of their reach.
  • A co-occurring mental health disorder such as trauma or an eating disorder might make you wary of entering an unfamiliar inpatient treatment environment.

Women’s-Only Addiction Treatment in Arizona

While people from all backgrounds and gender identities can develop substance abuse disorders, we understand the disease of addiction can affect women more severely. At Canyon Crossing, we’ve designed our gender-specific programming to account for women’s specific physiological and psychological differences. Our amenities include holistic care, relapse prevention, spiritual retreats and experiential therapy to help women foster relationships with each other. To learn more about starting your recovery in Prescott, Arizona, contact us today.

Benefits of Residential AddictionTreatment

You cannot heal in the same environment that made you sick. This is the philosophy behind our residential addiction treatment program. At Canyon Crossing, women learn to live life on life’s terms while staying in a safe, substance-free setting. This gives our clients the space and peace needed for lasting recovery.
Our residential program combines high-accountability sober living arrangements with first-rate clinical care. While staying in our homes, clients participate in process groups, one-on-one counseling sessions, and hands-on learning opportunities. They also receive ongoing training; in these meetings, life skills like financial management and conflict resolution are imparted. All of this happens with 24/7 encouragement, guidance, and supervision from our clinical team.
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