Women Who Booze, Lose – research indicates women alcoholics have more problems

Women Who Booze, Lose – research indicates women alcoholics have more problems – Brief Article


The downsides of alcoholism are well-chronicled: liver damage, job and marital problems, depression. Now comes word that women who abuse booze may be the biggest victims of all.

Larry Gentilello, M.D., a professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, studied incoming trauma patients and found that female drinkers were far more likely than males to suffer liver disease, depression and recent physical or emotional abuse, even at equivalent blood alcohol concentrations. The physical findings corroborate other studies that suggest women metabolize alcohol differently from men, says Gentilello. “No one really knows why, but the latest research focuses on estrogen as a possible factor.”

Why female alcoholics suffer more depression is less clear. There may be an untapped physiological cause, Gentilello says in the Journal of Trauma. But social factors clearly play a role, too. Women in the study were far more likely than men to be unmarried, to have dysfunctional relationships and to lack the support of friends and family. Females were also six times more likely to report recent physical or sexual abuse, and twice as likely to say they’d suffered emotional abuse–a perfect setup for problem drinking.

The bottom line: The nature of alcoholism may be different for men and women. Says Gentilello: “One intervention approach isn’t likely to work for both genders.”

COPYRIGHT 2000 Sussex Publishers, Inc.

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