What Are the Dangers of Alcohol Consumption for Women?

What Are the Dangers of Alcohol Consumption for Women?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Alcohol addiction can damage women’s health to a different degree than men’s. Because of this, it is important to understand the dangers of alcohol consumption for women. These dangers apply to pregnant women as well as those at all life stages. All women can face long-term health risks because of overconsumption or long-term use of alcohol.

It is important for women to understand the risks of alcohol addiction and start their recovery journey. At First Steps Recovery, the staff works to help women heal from alcohol addiction through detox programs and individualized recovery plans.

Women and Alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption and misuse in women are increasing, with nine percent of women having had an alcohol use disorder (AUD). About 50% of adult women drink every month and 13% have reported binge drinking. Some who binge drink have said they do so weekly and consume at least six drinks during a binge. Out of the women most likely to get pregnant, 18% binge drink. In 2019, female high school students consumed more alcohol than their male peers and were more likely to binge drink.

Differences in Alcohol Addiction Between Women and Men

Due to biological reasons, women who drink more alcohol absorb more of it and the alcohol takes longer to metabolize. On average, women weigh less than men with less water weight. This leads to women having higher blood alcohol levels than men. Women also experience the effects of alcohol quicker and for a longer period. Therefore, women are more prone to high-risk effects on their health compared to men.

Alcohol Addiction and Pregnancy

Women who drink while pregnant put the child they are carrying at risk of developing fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). This is a group of disorders resulting from alcohol exposure that can lead to intellectual disabilities and birth defects in the child. FASDs are completely avoidable if the mother does not drink while pregnant. Excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Long-Term Health Risks in Women

Some long-term health risks in women with alcohol addictions include:

  • AUD, which is a chronic relapsing brain disorder where the individual cannot control their alcohol consumption.
  • Liver disease, such as cirrhosis or living scarring.
  • Brain impacts, such as cognitive decline or shrinkage of the brain.
  • Heart impacts, such as damage to heart muscles.
  • Breast cancer and other cancers, including mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon cancers. A woman’s risk of breast cancer increases from five to nine percent per daily drink, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • Sexual violence.

Generally, women have had more medical emergencies, hospitalizations, and deaths related to alcohol consumption in the past 20 years. It is noted that women who are taking medications that can interact with alcohol, manage a medical condition, are under the age of 21, are recovering from an AUD, or are/may be pregnant should not consume alcohol.

Healing From Alcohol Addiction at First Steps Recovery

For those healing from excessive consumption or addiction to alcohol, the staff at First Steps Recovery curates personalized recovery plans to encourage sobriety and a healthier lifestyle. The goal of recovery is to regain control over oneself and learn to live a life without the constraints of alcohol. Staff members at First Steps Recovery listen to clients’ stories and traumas to understand the root causes of their addiction. By taking this whole-person approach, long-lasting sobriety is possible.

Detox and Recovery From Alcohol Addiction

The first step in the recovery process is detoxing. The detox program at First Steps Recovery allows the body to cleanse itself of substances to return to a state of physical health. In this process, though, many clients experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include nausea, sweating, anxiety, shaking, and hallucinations, among others. By the end of detoxification, one’s physical body is no longer dependent on alcohol.

After detoxing, clients can take advantage of inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. All services are available in both programs. Clients in the outpatient program can continue their treatment and recovery from their homes. There are many clinical and holistic options for all clients when in treatment. These treatments work to help clients understand the root cause of their alcohol addiction. As they work through difficult thoughts and emotions, they begin to have a greater ability to maintain a healthier lifestyle. For each client, these root causes differ, and the team at First Steps Recovery helps clients unveil their individual struggles and helps them work through them.

The vision of First Steps Recovery is to help people to achieve optimal mental and physical health. Through the original detox program then pairing clients with ideal clinical and holistic approaches to care, clients can achieve overall health and well-being. Women can get the individual care they need to understand and persist past alcohol addiction.

Here at First Steps Recovery, we provide resources for women struggling with alcohol addiction. Through individualized care, our team works with clients to uncover the root causes of addiction. This helps to promote true healing and a greater state of physical and mental well-being. Women struggling with alcohol addiction put themselves at risk for long-term health risks, including cancer. It is important to embark on the recovery journey, maintain sobriety, and heal the physical body in order to live a happier and healthier life. By detoxing and working through difficult feelings and thoughts, long-term recovery is possible. Please call First Steps Recovery at (844) 489-0836 to learn more about our services and facilities for women. 

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