Alcohol abuse takes a much heavier toll on women than it does on men. Even in small amounts, alcohol affects women’s bodies differently. Generally speaking, men weigh more than women and have more water in their bodies. With less water to dilute it, women have more exposure to alcohol and the toxins that result from its metabolism, and thus a greater effect on the brain and other organs. Thus heavy drinking makes women more vulnerable to liver disease, breast cancer and heart disease, and more likely to die from these maladies.
In addition to the health issues, heavy drinking makes women more vulnerable to violence, unplanned pregnancy and sexual abuse. A mother who drinks heavily is more likely to neglect her children, which makes her vulnerable to having them taken away by social services.
Moderate drinking for women is defined as more than one drink a day. A drink is defined as one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 5-ounce glass of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits at 80 proof. No amount of drinking during pregnancy is considered safe.
Resources for Alcohol Rehabilitation in California
There are many centers for alcohol rehabilitation in California that specialize in treating women. The experts at these facilities understand the differing physical effects of alcohol in women, and can supervise detox if needed. They also understand that the emotional and psychological issues that underlie alcoholism are generally different for women than for men, so counseling may focus on such topics as poor self-esteem, body image problems, shame, past history of sexual abuse and codependency. You can find resources for alcohol rehabilitation in California specializing in treating women by using our filter under “Programs by Client Type.”