News & Media
News and Updates from Residence XII staff and the treatment community
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Men and women handle alcoholism in different ways. Not only do men and women handle treatment differently and have different relapse triggers, but men’s and women’s bodies also metabolize alcohol differently, according to a recent article in the Miami Herald. Here we’ll take a look at some of the key ways alcohol uniquely impacts women.
The Depression FactorWomen are more likely to suffer from depression than men, and depression more often serves to exacerbate alcoholism and addiction in women. Depression may either be a root cause of alcoholism as women attempt to use alcohol to cope or self-medicate, or the depression may stem from alcohol abuse, since alcohol itself is a depressant. One survey showed that the factors cited most often by women as reasons for alcohol addiction were depression, anxiety, and a critical internal voice, the article explained. It’s also more likely that exposure to trauma plays a role in a woman’s battle against alcoholism, the article noted.
How Alcohol is MetabolizedWomen tend to weigh less and have a higher fat-to-muscle ratio than men, which leads to significant differences in the way alcohol is metabolized in a woman’s body, the article explained. Alcohol distributes itself much more easily in fat and water than in muscle. In addition, because of women’s fat-to-muscle ratio, their bodies produce less of a chemical called alcohol dehydrogenase, which breaks down alcohol into a less harmful chemical. This chemical is found more commonly in muscle than in fat or water. This means women metabolize alcohol more slowly than men and that alcohol is distributed in women’s bodies in larger quantities, placing women at a higher risk of experiencing the toxic effects of alcohol, the article noted.
The Critical Internal VoiceFemale alcoholics going through treatment often point to a critical internal voice as a trigger that frequently leads to problem drinking. This negative inner voice resounds in a women’s mind with thoughts like:
- You are a terrible wife and mother.
- There’s no way someone like me could ever get sober.
- You deserve to suffer for your failures.