Addiction of alcohol is increasing day by day very fast in the world. Most researches related to substance abuse and dependence was focused on men only until the early 1990s. That trend has now changed and studies were also conducted on women. The U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health was conducted in 2008 and it was found that 11.5% of males ages 12 and older had a substance abuse or dependence problem, compared with 6.4% of females. Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in the United States. About 7% to 12% of women abuse alcohol, compared with 20% of men. But research also suggests that since the 1970s, this gender gap has been narrowing, as drinking by women has become more socially acceptable.
There are so many reasons to increase the use of alcohol in women and they also face difficult challenges in other following respects.
- Women develop alcohol dependence more quickly than men do. Alcohol-related problems such as brain atrophy or liver damage also occur more rapidly in women than in men.
- They tend to progress more quickly from using an addictive substance to dependence
- They also develop medical or social consequences of addiction faster than men, often find it harder to quit using addictive substances, and are more vulnerable to relapse. These gender differences can affect treatment.
- Women develop medical or social consequences of addiction faster than men, often find it harder to quit, and are more vulnerable to relapse.
- Several biological factors make women more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol like;
- Women tend to weigh less than men.
- A woman’s body contains less water and more fatty tissue than a man’s. Because fat retains alcohol while water dilutes it, a woman’s organs sustain greater exposure.
- Women have lower levels of two enzymes — alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase — that break alcohol down in the stomach and liver. As a result, women absorb more alcohol into the bloodstream.
Treatment of alcoholic women
Psychotherapy, self-help groups, and medications are all available to help people stop drinking. According to a large study of alcohol dependence in both men and women, drug therapy and a specialized behavioral therapy helped patients of both sexes abstain from drinking and overall, men and women responded equally well to treatment. Women with alcohol problems were less likely to enter treatment, once they began treatment they were just as likely as men to recover. Mixed-gender treatment programs are more effective for alcohol dependent women.
Abdul Mateen Khan
Nishan Rehab Multan