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Does Addiction Affect Men and Women Differently?

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Does Addiction Affect Men and Women Differently?

Gender makes a significant difference when it comes to alcohol addiction. Research shows that even when a man and a woman with the same body weight consume equal amounts of alcohol, the impact is greater on the woman. Women has less water content in their bodies pound for pound than a man. As such, women that drink regularly are at a greater risk of alcohol addiction than their male counterparts, who may actually be drinking more in the same period.

The truth is, many women segue into alcohol addiction in secret. More men than women drink openly at home or in social environments for a long time before they are actually confronted about it. Studies also show that men can drink for many years before alcohol addiction becomes their diagnosis. Not so for women. Their physical makeup, including the hormones, makes women more susceptible to the effects of alcohol. The bottom line is that alcoholism is more lethal to a woman than it is for a man. Trying to go toe to toe with a man on a drinking binge can actually be fatal for some women.

The Stigma of Alcohol Addiction

One of the primary reasons alcoholics do not receive help is because they simply do not seek it. For many, the stigma attached to alcoholism is the deterrent that keeps them bound to an addictive lifestyle. According to a recent study by Public Health researchers, people who suffer from alcoholism are far less likely to ask for help if they thought they would be judged once other knew of their condition.

Stigma is described as a mark of shame to discredit someone for a particular behavior or action. Although men have a greater perception of being stigmatized, a woman is judged by a much higher standard, and therefore, feels more shame. In a world where alcoholic beverages are freely accessible, and are offered to both men and women equally at most social events, astigmatism presents a contradiction. In any event, adults typically allow this perceived judgment to deter them from getting the help they need.

Those who receive treatment experience improved self-esteem, restored dignity and self-respect that the stigma of alcoholism strips away. We believe the shame associated with substance abuse is detrimental when it keeps people stuck in their addiction for fear of exposure. In some instances, people do not enter rehab because they fear embarrassing a spouse or their children. As long as people adhere to the belief that alcoholism or drug abuse flags a character flaw in an individual, the damaging effects of stigma will continue.

Ultimately, this imposition on societal belief about addiction is the cause of many fatalities. Alcoholism is the cause of liver disease, some cancers, heart attacks and strokes for both men and women. Women who hide their drinking put their children at risk. People secretly trying to halt alcohol consumption on their own often die from the deadly withdrawal symptoms. Also, those who continue to drink and drive cause thousands of auto related deaths annually.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Many treatment facilities are beginning to recognize that alcoholism treatment must be gender specific. To begin with, a man’s body has more mass, and is therefore better able to assimilate alcohol than that of a woman’s. Less concentration translates to less physical damage to organs in the body of a man compared to that of an addicted woman. Therefore, this necessitates a gentler detoxification process to minimize the discomfort and danger associated with alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

For both men and women, symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, can be fatal. Whether you drink heavily on a daily basis or you are a chronic binge drinker, you will experience some physical withdrawal symptoms. Mild symptoms may include clammy skin, insomnia or headaches. Nausea, vomiting or heart palpitations are moderate symptoms.

More serious medical complications include seizures or a series of symptoms called delirium tremens that typically include shaking and trembling, extreme agitation, confusion and paranoia and hallucinations. These withdrawal symptoms, if not medically monitored, can have negative long term effects or lead to cardiac arrest, stroke or death.

Whether you are a man or a woman caught up in alcohol addiction, there is help and hope for you. Drug and alcohol rehab Centers offer treatment programs that are tailored to suit your substance abuse needs whether you are male or female.

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