Unfortunately, women are catching up to men when it comes to alcohol consumption, according to a new study published in the journal BMJ Open.
And habits are most similar for women born in the last 15 to 25, say researchers. Among men and women born between 1991 and 2000, the rates of alcohol consumption were nearly equal, with men just 1.1 times more likely to consume alcohol than women, according to the report. Men born between 1891 and 1910 were 2.2 times more likely to consume alcohol than women born in that time period.
Perhaps most disconcerting is that the researchers also found the closing male-female gap when it came to rates of problematic alcohol use (like binge drinking) and health consequences from alcohol, including alcohol dependence.
Alcohol: Why Women and Men Are Not Equal
The impact of alcohol is often more severe for women than men, which is why the CDC defines excessive drinking as eight or more drinks per week for women and 15 or more drinks per week for men. Binge drinking is defined as four drinks during a single occasion for women and five for men.
This is partly because alcohol affects women’s bodies differently, taking longer to metabolize once in their bodies. Pound for pound, women have less water in their bodies than men do, and alcohol resides predominantly in body water, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA). In addition, women typically weigh less than men.
Here are some common health risks for women, according to the NIAA:
- Liver damage: Women who drink are more likely to develop liver inflammation than men.
- Heart disease: Women are more susceptible to alcohol-related heart disease than men.
- Breast cancer: Women who have about one drink per day also have an increased chance of developing breast cancer compared to women who do not drink at all.
- Pregnancy: Any drinking during pregnancy is risky. Heavy drinking can put a fetus at increased risk for learning, behavioral, and other problems.
For Women Only
At AJ's Amethyst House, we understand that women face differing biological, emotional, and social issues during addiction. This is why we offer a women-only addiction treatment program for females of all ages and backgrounds. To learn more, call today: 855-221-1717.