Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a problem that can affect men and women in different ways. In both cases, it is important to seek treatment, but a women’s addiction treatment program can be immensely helpful for women who are struggling with their drinking. Learning more about alcohol use disorder in women can be useful when deciding to seek treatment, and also for those whose loved ones are impacted by this illness. With the correct diagnosis and treatment, recovery from AUD is possible.
What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?
Most people are familiar with the term ‘alcoholism,’ meaning that a person habitually drinks alcohol. Nowadays, the term ‘alcohol use disorder’ or AUD, better reflects our understanding of addiction as a disorder of the brain, much like other types of mental and behavioral disorders.
AUD is a chronic, relapsing brain disorder that is mainly defined by an inability to stop or control the drinking of alcohol even when it is detrimental to well-being. People with AUD can experience symptoms ranging from mild to severe, but recovery is possible with the correct diagnosis, treatment, and support for even the most severe cases.
How Does Alcohol Use Disorder Impact Women Differently Than Men?
Alcohol consumption affects the body, and men’s and women’s bodies have different characteristics. Some of the ways that alcohol use affects women differently than men are:
- Women have a lower water content in their bodies, and water is where alcohol is stored. Therefore, even if a woman drinks the same amount as a man weighing the same, their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will be higher.
- Women are more susceptible to chronic liver problems, such as cirrhosis resulting from alcohol use disorder.
- Women have a higher risk of heart problems that can result from chronic consumption of alcohol.
- Some research seems to suggest that women’s brains are more easily damaged by chronic alcohol consumption than men’s brains. This means that women may be quicker to experience serious brain problems related to drinking than men.
- There is an association between drinking alcohol and breast cancer. Men can also have breast cancer, but it is far more common in women. Therefore, women are more likely to be impacted by alcohol consumption.
- Drinking alcohol can significantly affect a woman who is pregnant or wishes to become pregnant in the future. Women who are pregnant or nursing should never consume alcohol in any quantity for the safety of their child.
Should Women Seeking Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder Be Treated Differently?
In some ways, the treatment for AUD is the same, whether a man or a woman, but some research suggests that women have better, longer-lasting treatment outcomes when they are offered programming geared towards their gender. Often, people who are dealing with AUD or other kinds of substance abuse are also dealing with trauma, and participating in gender-specific treatment for trauma can be very helpful.
Greater Boston Treatment Centers Can Help Women Seeking Help for Alcohol Use Disorder
Our treatment center offers programming to help women who want to change their relationship with alcohol. We offer each client an individualized treatment plan that addresses their specific needs and works towards their stated goals. Our clinicians are highly trained and experienced. If you or someone you care about has been struggling with alcoholism or is concerned about the impact their drinking may be making on their health and well-being, recovery is possible.
Do not wait; a professional treatment program is the best way to help the women struggling with alcoholism in your life. Reach out to our caring and knowledgeable staff today at 877.920.6583 and learn how you and your family can begin the process of recovery now.