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Factors affecting alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm- Part 2: Gender

Factors affecting alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm- Part 2: Gender

23 February | 0 Comments | By Rachael

With drinking identified as a growing problem, it has indeed emerged as a major risk factor for disease and disabilities in the world. In the light of the above, it becomes necessary to understand the alcohol-related implications, which tend to vary among individuals due to gender differences and other factors.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the harmful use of alcohol is the leading risk factor for male deaths in the age group of 15 to 59 years. However, there is evidence to support that women are more susceptible to alcohol-related harm from a given level of alcohol consumption or particular drinking pattern.

Despite the fact that normative drinking patterns have been widely associated with men, alcohol use among women has been steadily rising due to the increased economic development and changing gender roles.

This makes the need to better understand how drinking affects both men and women important.  Due to the adverse effects of  drinking on the health of both women and the newborns, the vulnerability of women to alcohol-related effects has become a major public health concern in the present era.

The current article, as part of the series on “Factors affecting alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm,” talks about the role of gender in determining alcohol consumption patterns and alcohol-related implications.

Physiological and social factors make women more vulnerable

The following eye-opening statistics as per the WHO 2012 report provide a global overview of alcohol consumption and consequences in both males and females:

  • Approximately 3.3 million deaths or 5.9 percent of all deaths worldwide were caused by alcohol consumption.
  • Significant gender-related differences were witnessed in the proportion of global deaths due to drinking, with 7.6 percent among males and 4 percent among women.
  • In total, 139 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYS), or 5.1 percent of the global burden of disease and injury, were due to alcohol consumption. While men shared a greater rate of total burden of disease expressed in DALYS at 7.4 percent, the share of women was just 2.3 percent.

In the light of above data on the repercussions of drinking, it becomes imperative to analyze the reasons that cause such a major disparity between men and women. Compared to women, men enjoy much more freedom, both culturally and socially, to indulge in drinking. However, women are now breaking the shackles of subjugation imposed upon them and are more active in the public spaces. Other than the above sociocultural factors, men tend to abstain less from drinking due to peer pressure.

Though there is a higher prevalence of alcohol-related injuries among men, chronic diseases, such as cancers, gastrointestinal diseases or cardiovascular diseases, at the same level of alcohol consumption is more evident in women. In addition, the susceptibility to alcohol-related harm among women may be explained by a range of factors, such as-

  • A combination of lower body weight, smaller liver capacity to metabolize alcohol and a higher proportion of body fat increases blood alcohol concentrations quickly.
  • A greater susceptibility to interpersonal violence and risky sexual behavior triggered by the drinking behavior of male partners.
  • An independent risk factor for breast cancer.
  • Increased social vulnerability due to the unfavorable attitude toward women drinking alcohol than men drinking alcohol.
  • An increased risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and other preventable health conditions in the newborns. In fact, alcoholic beverage containers are mandated to display the warning labels pertaining to the injurious impacts of alcohol on the fetus in an effort to prevent the occurrence of such preventable health conditions.

Get busy to stay away from drinking

Other implications of drinking include the increased chances of stillbirth, miscarriage, etc. Moreover, health problems, such as hypertension, diabetes, stroke and mental disorders, are likely to get aggravated more among women compared to men. However, by undergoing detoxification, which is the first line of treatment, and other evidence-based intervention plans, one can effectively overcome alcoholism.

If you or your loved one is afflicted by the problem of drinking, contact the Detox Facilities Texas. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-671-4308 or chat online to access one of the best rapid detox centers in Texas.

Other articles of the series:

Factors affecting alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm – Part 1: Age