Alcoholism Rehab by Gender


Alcoholism Rehab by Gender

A person’s gender is an important factor in his/her risk for alcoholism. Although genetic factors could pre-dispose both men and women to want to drink, studies of various cultures have revealed that men are more prone to alcoholism and heaving drinking than women are. Gender roles, cultural and societal expectations and environmental factors are all influences in men and women becoming alcoholics. Ongoing research reveals that because men and women have different needs, there must be different treatments available that address those needs. The idea of a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all treatment protocol will not work for everyone.

Male-specific Alcoholism

Numerous studies have been done over the years regarding male alcoholism and specific behaviors and problems. The research shows that men are more prone to binge drinking and they drink more excessively than women. Men also become very physically aggressive and may commit acts of violence and sexual assault while drunk. Men are also high risk takers and when they are drinking, they can behave dangerously. Because of this risky behavior, men are twice as likely as women to be injured or die in vehicular accidents.

The physical aspects of male alcoholism are many. Male alcoholics are more prone to develop cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver and colon. They may also suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver and bone disease, dementia, memory and learning disabilities, and Type 2 diabetes. Several risk factors that lead to alcohol dependence among men include:

  • A history of family alcoholism,
  • Stress and emotional triggers,
  • Gender roles, cultural and social male expectations,
  • Mental disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, bi-polar and depression,
  • Familial and/or spousal problems,
  • Money, work related or legal problems.

Social and cultural pressures and expectations demand that men behave in specific ways. Often business and social bonding with other men will include drinking alcohol. Men are also expected to suppress feelings of worry and sadness and they will often drink alcohol to accomplish this. Mental health instability also triggers a need for escape, as does any problem that becomes overwhelming to cope with. Because men are expected to “be strong” and “man up”, they sometimes have difficulty verbalizing and sorting out their problems.

Female-specific Alcoholism

Women have their own set of issues when it comes to drinking alcohol. A woman will have a higher blood alcohol level than a man who consumes the same amount of alcohol because they have less water in their body. Women also have fewer enzymes and less lean muscle mass in their body to break down alcohol. Because of this, more ethanol is delivered to vital organs such as the heart, brain and liver via the bloodstream. Research shows that women also develop alcohol-related health problems quicker than men. In fact, women alcoholics are more likely than male alcoholics to develop and die from cirrhosis of the liver. They are also more vulnerable to develop brain damage by losing both mental functions and the actual physical size of the brain.

Research show there are numerous factors that can lead to female alcohol dependence. These include:

  • A history of family alcoholism,
  • Gender roles, cultural and social female expectations,
  • A history of childhood physical and/or sexual abuse,
  • Mental problems such as depression, bi-polar, anxiety and PTSD,
  • Environmental factors,
  • Familial and/or spousal problems,
  • Health problems.

Recovery and HealingĀ 

Today there are many support and treatment options available and alcoholic recovery is possible. Significant advances have been made in medication treatments and psychological and behavioral therapies. With the help of 12-step programs, medical intervention, family, and friends, the recovering male or female alcoholic can turn their life around and begin anew.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the White Sands Treatment Center at (877) 556-9584. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

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