The gap between the number of male alcoholics and female alcoholics is closing quickly. Of the estimated 15 million Americans that abuse alcohol, around 1/3 of these individuals are women and this number is quickly rising.
Alcohol affects women differently than their male counterparts. Alcohol is more soluble in water than it is in fat. A woman’s body contains more fatty tissue than a male of the same size. Women also tend to have less muscle than men. Muscle contains more water than fat, and therefore men tend to have more water in their bodies than a woman of the same size. Finally, women produce less of the liver enzyme that breaks down alcohol than men.
All of these aspects of the biological makeup of women contribute to alcohol being more potent to woman than it is to men. Since less of the alcohol is absorbed or broken down in a woman’s body, more of that alcohol reaches the brain. If a man and woman of the same size drink the same amount, the woman will feel stronger effects than the man. This can lead to women developing dependence to alcohol faster than men. It also can result in negative physical, mental, and emotional consequences being experienced at a quicker rate in women than in men.
Adding to this is the fact that women have death rates 50-100% higher than men, with many women dying from alcohol related suicides, accidents, and circulatory disorders. And studies have revealed that even when women don’t drink as much or for as long as men, they have the same amount of damage.
Overall, alcohol abuse can be much different experiences for women and men and often the path leading to addiction is different. Therefore, treatment for women should be different. Unfortunately, there are few women’s programs that are geared towards recovery for women. Being a gender specific program is typically not sufficient.
That is why Harmony Foundation’s Colorado alcohol rehab offers an individualized treatment program for women. The program is not only gender specific, but specific to each woman. We believe that treating addiction in men and women requires a very different approach in each case. Learn more about our individualized addiction treatment program for women here.