Men receive the stereotype of alcoholic before women do. When Alcoholics Anonymous formed, there were no female members for quite some time. The primary text, used in great reference for recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous, was written by men for men. Only one chapter in the book addresses women directly, which is a commentary to the wives of male alcoholics. Fighting for legitimacy as alcoholics is not one of the battles women want to pick. Thankfully, there is little discrimination left in alcoholism. Women can be as dangerously alcoholic as men. Still, the numbers of women alcoholics compared to male alcoholics has been small. Increasingly, however, the number of serious female alcoholics is increasing. Various studies have found that women are drinking as much and as often as males.
New research has found that with the span of the 20th century the drinking habits between men and women have changed. Specifically, the alcoholism gap has narrowed to the point of near nonexistence. According to The Washington Post, “Health officials are watching the situation with concern, and some addiction specialists are making comparisons to other dependencies to which women may be more vulnerable, such as food addictions.” The article explains that an increasing amount of women are drinking in more alcoholic patterns.
Women are living in a different society today where they are encouraged to drink. More women are career-focused and working in higher paying jobs with more socializing. Additionally, more women have freedom in their schedules, getting together with friends and having the opportunity to drink. George Koob, the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism points out that underage drinking is declining in men, but not women, contributing to a higher population of female drinkers.
Importantly, the article emphasizes, “The main problem with women drinking like men is that they don’t have the same physiology as men. Women are more susceptible to alcohol’s effects, largely because they have lower body mass, and in particular less water to disperse the alcohol through their bodies.” Alcohol has a more impactful and more swift effect on women than it does on men. Problematically, that can lead to the development of breast cancer and heart issues.
Recovery for female alcoholics is no more serious or challenging than recovery for males. One of the most challenging parts of recovery for female alcoholics is learning to create new lifestyle habits and replace old coping techniques. Through clinical treatment, many female alcoholics can recover.
Harmony Place offers co-ed treatment programs with single sex housing. Women are grouped together to grow and heal in solidarity throughout our continuum of care. For a private consultation and more information on our residential treatment programs, call 1-855-652-9048.