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Alcohol addiction in women

For women, having a single glass of wine after a tough workday and becoming dependent on liquor to the point that it’s necessary to drink in order to engage in everyday activities are two completely different situations. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, one alcoholic beverage a day is considered to be the “moderate” drinking level for a woman. When a woman feels compelled to have a drink in order to feel or function normally, there might be an acute addiction present. An addiction can be exhibited by different drinking patterns including binge drinking or heavy drinking.

Binge drinking

Binge drinking is considered to be four drinks per two hours for a woman and five drinks per two hours for a man. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), drinking five or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion in one day, in the past 30 days, is considered binge drinking. (NIMH 2014)

Concerning women specifically, the propensity to drink may stem from childhood issues, bereavement, loss of a job or a current abusive home life. Studies show that 74 percent of women who were addicted to a substance reported sexual abuse and 52 percent reported physical abuse in their personal lives. (NCADD 2014) Women who grew up in violent homes are also more likely to enter into dysfunctional and unhealthy relationships, which in turn creates more of a tendency to drink or use. (NCADD 2014) Whatever the reasoning or motivation behind binge drinking the fact remains that it can cause serious health problems for a woman if not halted.

Heavy Drinking

According to the Centers for Disease Control, heavy drinking for women consists of 8 drinks or more per week. For men, the limit is 15 drinks or more per week.

Women who drink heavily have higher health risks, as well as overall fatality risks. Women who drink heavily are more likely to face health risks than men, according to a recent study by the National Institute on Mental Health. Some typical health risks that are more common in women due to drinking are breast cancer, heart disease, liver damage and complications if a woman drinks while pregnant. On average, women have less water solubility capabilities than men do, as well as smaller physical body structure, allowing alcohol to do more damage to the female body. Chronic alcohol consumption can also interfere with hormonal functions and cause hormonal imbalances due to elevated levels of estrogen. (NIAAA 2014)

Problem drinking or alcohol addiction

There is a need to address the drinking propensity among women who aren’t at the stage of heavy drinking or binge drinking per se, but are finding that their drinking is an everyday occurrence. When a person does not want to drink, but continues to make the decision to drink anyway, there is a problem present that may need to be addressed with proper treatment.

Heavy drinking or binge drinking do not always indicate alcohol addiction by themselves. Other symptoms to look for when trying to identify this problem include:

  • Failure to meet home, legal, work, or family responsibilities
  • Failure to meet legal responsibilities
  • Continued drinking after recurring detrimental consequences of one’s drinking
  • Poor diet, drinking in place of eating
  • Inability to cut down on alcohol, despite multiple times of trying
  • Throwing up blood
  • Inflated, bloated stomach or liver
  • Violence while drinking
  • Drinking alone
  • Progressive increased time recovering from hangovers
  • Drinking to self-medicate mental health or medical issues

Finding help

If you or a loved one notices signs of a drinking problem it is likely an indicator that help with a drinking problem is needed. Treatment is available for anybody who has a willingness to address this problem and work to overcome it. There are specific programs and therapists available for women who are addicted to alcohol that perfectly fit their treatment needs. To find out more about getting help for alcohol addiction you can call us today at 855-441-4405 to start on the path to a healthier life.

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