Alcohol use disorder an invisible health hazard to American women - Sovereign Health Group
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Those who know her since her twenties never had the slightest suspicion that there was so much happening in her life. It was tough to imagine that the 36-year-old Charlotte Crawford (name changed) of Palm Springs was one of the unfortunate victims of alcohol until she set foot on the path to recovery.

What began as a party or a weekend affair during her younger days, became a regular feature when Crawford and her husband parted ways a decade ago. Drinking heavily to calm her jittery nerves and douse the overwhelming anxiety within, it became the only way forward for her, in no time. Leaving whiskey aside, she soon started gulping wine, as it triggered a quicker high and yet didn’t make her aggressive. In the next couple of weeks, her intake rose to five bottles of wine a day. As her dependence on wine progressed steadily, it wreaked havoc on her sleep patterns resulting in her waking up in the middle of the night with uncontrollable shakes and sweats. To add to her existing woes, her compulsive drinking disorder soon cost her job. The consequent financial crisis and that fact that she had nobody to fall back on, soon pushed her on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Five months later, she was rushed to the emergency room (ER) in the neighborhood hospital, where she was diagnosed with acute cirrhosis of the liver, given only 5 percent chances of survival, and placed on a life support machine. Her skin turned a grisly yellow following massive organ failure. Thoughts ran wild in her mind; she blamed herself for her misery and lamented not recognizing the danger signs ahead of time. She was counting her last breath with a skimpy five percent chance of getting back on her feet. The resident doctors had even summoned a pastor to give her the last rites. At that moment she wished she had made an effort to approach the whole situation in a different and a more positive way.

It is an unquestionable fact that the most considerable aspect of alcoholism is its highly addictive nature, and the outcomes are not confined to the consumer alone, but also, extend to their immediate family members or friends. Anyone grappling with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) is vulnerable to uncomfortable emotions such as self-blame, shame, frustration, anger and irritation, which compels them to ignore the reality and deny the existence of the problem. However, though such escapist tendencies may provide some short-term relief, in the long run, a denial mode can be immensely detrimental.

Women are more vulnerable to dangers of alcohol

Since historic times, drinking has been a man’s domain, as it was considered inappropriate for women to drink owing to high standards of morality and unyielding social conventions. But as times changed, and more emphasis was laid on feminism, gender equality and women’s rights, the age-old disagreements over drinking became a thing of the past in several western societies. Slowly a turnaround was seen, and more women started to drink openly.

Studies, however, show that a woman’s body processes alcohol in a completely different way as compared to a man. Some of the explanations as to why alcohol reacts differently in a woman’s body are summarized below.

  • Presence of higher fat content: Higher concentration of body fat in women prevents the complete absorption of alcohol, leaving it in the bloodstream, leading to faster intoxication.
  • Presence of lower levels of dehydrogenase: Lower amounts of dehydrogenase cause slower processing of alcohol in comparison to a man’s body.
  • Presence of lower water content: With a lower water content of 52 percent compared to the 61 percent of men, women’s bodies are not well-equipped to efficiently dilute alcohol.
  • Significant hormonal fluctuations: Women are highly prone to intoxication due to hormonal variations before menstrual cycles because it slows down the body’s alcohol metabolism rate.

Sadly, what innumerable women fail to recognize is that the female body structure and chemistry makes it tougher for them to metabolize alcohol, leaving them more susceptible to both it’s short-term as well as long-term health hazards. Statistics from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), estimate that around 5.3 million American women aged 18 years and older struggled with alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the United States, in the past year, and the numbers are expected to swell annually.

Alcohol addiction treatment

Studies suggest that despite the prevalence of heightened vulnerability to ill-effects of alcohol dependence when compared to men, treatment for alcoholism for women is more successful as they are known to be extra resolute when it comes to refraining from alcohol. Apart from this, the services of a good rehab go a long way in reversing alcohol dependency.

Nevertheless, embracing sobriety demands a huge leap of faith, something which alcoholics, on the whole, are immensely hesitant to take. The safest way to kick the menace of alcoholism is to opt for personalized alcohol abuse treatment at a reputed alcohol addiction treatment center to counter the life-wrecking effects of the drink.

Sovereign Health understands the plight of someone who is unable to discontinue the use of alcohol despite the negative impact on his or her life. The alcohol recovery programs at Sovereign Health of San Clemente are specially customized to treat the person holistically. If you or your loved one is battling an addiction to alcohol, call our 24/7 helpline number or chat online to know about the best alcohol rehabs in California.

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