In recent years studies have been done to learn more about the causes of alcoholism in women. Alcoholism affects both men and women differently, even though it is the same condition. Those interested in women’s health issues will want to understand how women process alcohol differently from men and how alcoholism develops in women.
It is undeniable that men and women are different, and also have different societal expectations. Not only does biology come into play, but the pressures and expectations of social influences can have an impact on the causes of alcoholism in women.
One of the contributing factors to how women become alcoholics compared to males is that women process alcohol within their bodies differently. It is not uncommon for a man to be able to drink 2-3 beers without much effect, but for a woman to feel buzzed or ever drunk. (So explains the expression “she’s a cheap date.”)
Of course, every woman (and every person for that matter!) is different. No two people have the identical body, and so what may affect one woman may not affect another.
Most research has agreed that women may be likely to drink a more damaging level of alcohol than men. The effects of just a few alcoholic drinks may affect their internal organs and behavior sooner and more dramatically than a man would if drinking the same amount.
This is all related to the blood alcohol level that builds up in the person’s body. Women in general have less body water weight which can result in the difference between the rate the alcohol is metabolized. This can cause women to become physically addicted to alcohol even without drinking massive quantities of alcohol.
Many factors can lead to the causes of alcoholism in women and men, and the causes are actually usually pretty similar. The main difference between the causes of alcoholism in women versus the causes of alcoholism in men is that each have a different set of hormones which can affect mood and susceptibility, as well as men and women play different roles in life which create different expectations and situations that can lead to women developing a drinking problem.
Here are Some of the Leading Causes of Alcoholism in Women:
Stress: Stress is undoubtedly something everyone deals with every day in their life. Stress can come from a variety of sources – work, family, relationships, finances, etc. Alcohol for many women and men can seem like an instant cure for stress as their troubles disappear while they are drinking. Unfortunately, they do nor stay away for long, and the continued habit of drinking alcohol to alleviate stress can cause alcohol dependency physical and psychological symptoms.
Depression: Women are very susceptible to depression, and depression is a factor for many alcoholics. A depressed person may drink in hopes to feel better or as self medication. Drinking of course does not solve these problems or feelings, and actually since alcohol is a depressant can lead the person into an even deeper depression. The deeper the depression, the more the drinking is sought, and the continued drinking factors into another one of the causes of alcoholism in women. Men can also experience depression that can lead to excessive drinking and alcoholism.
Social Pressure and Influences: In many social situations drinking is often accepted and may even be encouraged. Even younger women can be prone to developing a drinking problem if they frequently attend social functions where they regularly drink. Business women can also be likely to develop an alcohol addiction if they are routinely meeting with clients for meals or social events and drinking is often seen as a way to “break the ice”.
Overwhelming Responsibilities: Women in many cases may take on more responsibilities than men. This may be from their own personal decision, or some women may have no other choice to take on additional responsibilities, especially if they are single mothers or do not have the help and support from their partner. When these responsibilities become overwhelming, it can cause women to seek alcohol as a means to alleviate the stress associated with them, though often they can make the problem worse.
Understanding the causes of alcoholism in women can help women make smart choices in preventing alcoholism, or if already beginning to show signs of physical addiction, can help women identify the problems that are being covered up by the drinking and find the much deserved help in living a healthier and happier life. If you are concerned about a woman you know who is drinking, you may want to take some time and check out our other articles on TalkRehab.org as well as our alcoholism help page.