It is now more socially acceptable for women to drink. Unfortunately, a woman’s body still processes alcohol differently than a man’s body. Heavy drinking can lead to brain damage, breast cancer and liver disease in both sexes. However, while women can get treatment for alcohol dependence and have the same recovery rates as men, they are even more susceptible to side effects like liver disease, many of which eventually become untreatable if alcohol abuse in the form of binge drinking continues.
Binge Drinking In Women
Women all over the world enjoy an occasional drink on special occasions, but it used to be frowned upon for women to drink too often. Now, in many nations, the stigma of women meeting friends in a bar to drink socially happens on a regular basis without the censure. While shedding double standards is always welcome, the fact remains that alcohol poses risks to women that are unique. Drinking too much in the form of binge drinking highly impacts a woman and this is drinking that brings the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL within a space of approximately two hours. As a woman, this type of drinking is very harmful to you.
According to a Harvard publication, women will more frequently suffer from alcohol-related diseases and will feel the effects of cumulative drinking sooner than men. Drinking more frequently is likely linked to using alcohol to self-medicate mental health issues such as stress, depression, and anxiety. Unfortunately, even if you aren’t binge drinking on the weekends, women who drink more than seven drinks a week have a higher rate of accidents and traumatic injuries, high blood pressure, stroke, and cancer.
Health Consequences Suffered By Female Drinkers
Women who binge drink are at a higher rate of susceptibility for the following health issues:
- Liver disease
- Brain damage
Women contract alcoholic liver diseases at a higher percentage than men. They are more likely to get hepatitis (or inflammation of the liver) or die from liver cirrhosis (a disease that destroys the liver’s capabilities to aid digestion and detoxify). Women have a greater chance of developing alcohol-related brain damage, including reduced brain size.
Women who drink heavily or binge drink have higher rates of:
- Osteoporosis falls and hip fractures
- High blood pressure
- Infertility, miscarriages, and premature menopause
- Heart disease
Women And Liver Disease
Alcoholic liver disease includes all the ways that drinking too much affects your liver, such as:
- Development of a fatty liver
- Alcoholic hepatitis
- Chronic hepatitis (with liver fibrosis or cirrhosis)
When you drink, cells in the liver die and scar tissue forms in a process called liver cirrhosis. If you continue to binge drink or drink heavily, the liver can become severely scarred and will not be able to function. While some alcohol-related damage to the liver can be reversed if you stop drinking, this has to happen relatively early in the process to be effective.
Don’t fool yourself that by only drinking on the weekends you are avoiding health issues. Your liver doesn’t care if you drink eight cocktails on a Saturday night with the girls or if you are home alone with a bottle of vodka. Both will kill your liver and cause other health issues in the process. Also, once you do start consuming copious amounts of alcohol, your body starts processing alcohol differently.
For those who are not dependent on alcohol, keeping alcohol intake to a minimum allows your liver to rest and heal. If you have become alcohol dependent, you should literally listen to your gut. Your liver is trying to save your life. If you believe you are experiencing difficulty controlling your drinking, you should seek help and be proud that you did so.
The Realities Of Alcohol Addiction
Once you are physically addicted to alcohol, you won’t be able to drink socially and not overdo it. This isn’t about willpower after a certain point. Alcoholism happens over time and your drinking habits continue to escalate.
The only way to fix it is to stop drinking completely, but continue to get the medical help you need for your ailing liver. Seek a counseling or rehabilitation program that will help you deal with the emotional and mental stress that caused you to start binge drinking in the first place.