In the recent years, the world has seen great growth in the number of alcoholics. Particularly frightening is the fact that more and more women are patients of drug dispensaries are. Experts believe that alcoholism in women has accelerated development and an unfavorable course. Control over the amount of alcohol consumed is lost very often. Alcohol tolerance in women is less than in men. From the beginning to the development of systematic drinking, hangover is an average of 3-4 years. Hangover for women is as hard as for men, but the difference is that after it runs the mood swings and depression remain for a long time.
If a woman and a man of the same weight drink the same amount of alcohol, the alcohol level in the blood of women by almost a third over and above men. Of course, in this case, the woman’s body will require a third more time to get it out the amount of alcohol in the blood.
Compared with male female body responds to alcohol very different, and definitely woman need to be aware of these differences:
• Usually, women are smaller than men, so a woman’s body alcohol tolerance is lower than that of male.
• Compared with men, a woman’s body contains about 10% more fat and less liquid, so the female body takes higher concentration of alcohol.
• Liver of women produce less of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol dehydrogenase than men’s liver. This means that women not only get drunk faster, but also longer under the influence of alcohol.
The liver of a healthy young man is able to remove the body of one unit of alcohol in about one hour. As a rule, liver of healthy young women requires more time for this.
Therefore the dose of alcohol and low-risk women less than men.
Thus, the important features should be summarized:
• Women’s livers are smaller and produce less of the enzyme breaks down alcohol than men. Therefore female liver is slowly recovering from alcohol damage.
• Alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. Women who drink more than three glasses of wine a day significantly increased risk of breast cancer.
• Women are characterized by more common mental disorders due to alcohol problems than men. Some of these violations include, for example, mood disorders, anxiety syndrome and eating disorders.
• In two or three days before menstruation and ovulation women feel the effects of alcohol more quickly.
• Hormonal contraceptives slow down both penetration of alcohol in the blood, and its removal from the circulation.
• Women who drink more than a glass of wine a day, have much lower chance of getting pregnant.
• In alcohol there are a lot of calories. 1 gram of pure alcohol contains 7 calories, which is more than in many products. Large glass of wine contains about 200 calories, and also an additional amount of energy from the sugar contained in the drink.
• Alcohol increases appetite and reduces self-control: simply to eat too much.
When drinking alcohol regularly, in a woman’s body there is an irreversible process – hyperemia. This phenomenon, where blood to some parts of the skin, but its flow is impeded. Because of this, blood vessels burst (especially it is noticeable in the eyes).
Alcohol causes rapid aging of the skin, as because its use reduces the stock of vitamins C and E in the body. After all, they are responsible for collagen-a protein that supports the skin’s elasticity. In this case, the face contour spreads, skin sag.
Since the skin is under the effects of alcohol, it loses the ability to regenerate (damaged areas are regenerated much longer.)
More frequent is drinking, the greater is the risk of breast cancer. Also the possibility of developing diseases such as cancer of the liver, rectum and colon increases.
Moreover, if a woman is ill on alcoholism, in the third stage of alcoholism, severe heart and lung failure, disorders in various organs, sphincter dysfunction (incontinence, etc.) are observed. These patients were significantly more susceptible to death from a variety of mild systemic diseases (infections, etc.).
Many researchers point out that women have generally shorter stages of alcoholism (Sutker et al 1983, Mendelson 1986). It is known that alcoholism is divided into three stages: the first stage is asthenic (reduced physical and mental performance, increased alcohol consumption and an increase in alcohol tolerance, that is, the resistance to the amount of alcohol consumed, the loss of quantity control, the development of mental attraction in the form of obsessive thoughts about drinking, there is need in “hair of the dog”, etc.). –The second is the stage of dependence (high alcohol tolerance, loss of control over the quantity of alcohol consumed and the account of the situation, the occurrence of drinking bouts, pathological mental and physical attraction to alcohol withdrawal syndrome %u2011 pathological need in drunk, poor judgment, personality changes %u2011 pointed adverse character traits, etc.). The third stage is encephalopathy, that is organic alcoholic brain damage (expressed as mental and physical craving for alcohol, withdrawal symptoms, loss of all types of control, reduced tolerance to alcohol, alcohol degradation of the individual in the form of emotional ethical coarsening, the disappearance of family and community loyalties, irritability with aggressive tendencies, coarse cynicism and the like).
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Patients get worse from one stage of alcoholism to another, they also get somatic and neurological disorders: diseases of the liver (steatosis, hepatitis, cirrhosis), pancreas, gastrointestinal tract (gastritis, colitis), cardiovascular system (alcoholic cardiomyopathy), blood, endocrine secretion, nervous system (alcoholic polyneuritis %u2011 paresis, and paralysis of legs and arms) (Sutker et al, 1983).
Women have shorter stages of alcoholism, and mental and physical (somatic and neurological) disorders occur stronger and faster. For example, in the first stage of alcoholism, women tend to the hidden use of alcoholic drinks more than men; many of them make self-made efforts to get rid of the blemish, because they feel that they are gradually becoming its slave. Even doing treatment for delirium tremens, which occurs as a rule in the second stage or at its transition to the third, they often stubbornly deny alcohol abuse and need the nip. Only in the third stage with the onset of alcoholic encephalopathy and degradation of the individual, they say cynical frankness about their drinking. Thus, it affects the speed and severity of the coming collapse of the psyche: another 1-2 years before a reasonable judgment, a new woman that comes to psychiatric hospital for treatment of alcoholism is an idiot (grave expression, blank look, smirk, almost slurred speech with sketchy cynical expressions and so on) (Hesselbrock, 1985).
Internal organs and the nervous system are affected relatively more quickly in the second stage, and especially in the third stage there are increasing signs of cirrhosis of the liver, heart and lung disease, intestinal disorders, symptoms of alcoholic polyneuritis and so on, women look much older their age: skin loses its elasticity, it becomes pale with a bluish tinge, her muscles become flabby and slim posture disappears.
In our time, the growth of alcoholism in women contributes to the change in their status when increasing their participation in all spheres of activity where they perform the same function as that of a woman. In connection with this and the way of life changes, there is a material independence, change the priorities of the family and home.
Family history (i.e. alcoholism of one or two parents) is more common in women than in men, and 90% of women are suffering from drinking because of near or distant blood relatives.
Differences in influence of alcohol on the body of women and men is largely due to the physiological level. For offensive intoxicated women require much smaller dose of alcohol, that is, other things being equal, women get drunk faster. The reason is simple. Female body contains 10% less water, that is, the concentration of ethanol is higher than the male body Supplementing fact is that men nervous system stronger and more resilient to external shocks. Thus it appears that the initial difference in the effect of alcohol on the body of men and women is like a heavy blow to less sturdy material. Naturally, such a material, and hence the stability of the natural habits of women give up the slack faster in women than in men. The researchers also noted that monthly cycles affect tolerability and intensity of craving for alcohol.
Since menstrual cycle includes premenstrual tension in the form of irritability and anxiety, many women are predisposed to alcohol consumption. Alcohol in this case is reassuring, but the result is a habit and then addiction. In addition, in this premenstrual period, the absorption of alcohol from the gastrointestinal tract into the blood increases, so the same amount of alcohol for women is stronger than for men and toxic effects are more pronounced (Brick et al, 1986).
A woman’s body contains 10% less water than men’s body (in men 55 – 65% of body weight is water, in women 45 – 55%), therefore, for the same dose of alcohol taken at 1 kg, weight in men’s blood alcohol concentration is less than that of women, so the effect of alcohol in women is more toxic.
Alcohol, getting into a woman’s body, penetrates including the ovaries – the repository of female reproductive cells (ova), permanently damaging them – as we know the egg is not renewed. So the more she drank in her life prior to conception, the greater her chance of having a sick child.
In addition to biological factors, socio-psychological factors also predispose to the development of alcoholism in women. In childhood, this is bad education, beatings, lack of affection, warmth, frequent scandals. Children of alcoholics often grow in the single-parent family or in an orphanage. When becoming adults, women are blamed for their disease different stresses (birth, death, ugliness, etc.). Alcoholics tend to blame the circumstances surrounding their illness, and it is peculiar to women more than men. But it is necessary to understand the cause and effect of it. That which is given as the cause is frequently the result of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. In connection with this, women have different sexual deviations (frigidity, sexual dissatisfaction), which leads to disharmony in family and personal life, or even a divorce. When a woman does not watch her appearance, there are gynecological diseases. In particular, in women alcoholics gynecological diseases are three times more likely than in healthy women (Bergman et al, 1998).
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There is an opinion on the development of alcoholism in women of so-called alcohol-related professions in the service sector (trade, especially small markets, work in coffee shops, cafes where they sell alcohol). Studies have shown that the percentage of women who abuse alcohol in trade and public catering is two-fold higher than in the other professions. In addition, the increase in the number of women who consume much alcohol can occur when moving from the countryside to the city or to another country. Here, women usually find low-skilled jobs. An unstable economic situation and the loss of familiar personal relationships appears which leads to nostalgia for the native land. In the recent years, the number of drinking women with higher and specialized secondary education, nurses, doctors, economists, lawyers, etc. increased. These individuals carefully hide their alcoholism and seek help only when the inexorable progression of the disease (Britton, 2000).
Alcoholism in women is characterized by a late onset, eight years later than in men, as women alcoholism in society is difficult and strongly condemned. But women develop faster degradation of the individual than in men, i.e. alcoholism in women occurs more malignant.
Women are more likely to occur periodically during the disease, i.e. alcoholism for several days, then lucid interval of varying duration.
The main reasons why women consume alcohol are to get rid of bad mood and painful bodily sensations. In a state of alcohol depression, women are much more likely to commit suicide.
Symptoms of intoxication also differ in women. Even in a state of mild intoxication in the early stages of alcoholism in women occurs tearfulness, depressed mood, ideas of self-incrimination. In women more often than in men drinking takes binge character. The duration of stage 2 is much shorter than in male alcoholics and is less than five years. Only in 10 percent of women stage 2 lasts for five years. Frequency of alcohol psychosis in men and women is about the same, but women more often than men have hallucinosis, at least delirium tremens (delirium tremens) (Smith, 1983).
In drinking women more often than men, there are diseases of the internal organs, and they are usually more severe. Fertility decreases in drinking women. There are incidents of frequent miscarriages and stillbirths. Children may have physical deformities and mental retardation. If a woman drinks during pregnancy, the child has a so-called fetal alcohol syndrome – problems in physical and mental development, abnormal face, joints and limbs (Plant, 2000).
As a result of surveys a thousand mothers and their children, abnormalities were observed in 2% of children born from mothers who did not consume alcohol. This figure increased to 9% of children of “moderate” drinking mothers (abnormalities were observed in 4.5 times more common in those who drank “moderately”). In the children of mothers who drank heavily, the rate abnormalities increased to 74%. And at last, as a rule, was recorded not one, but several variations. It is the fetus, in children, in whom the protective mechanisms are still very weak, toxic effect of alcohol affects especially destructive.
Dangerous for the unborn child is mother’ drinking any amount of alcohol, even a very small one. Any dose increases the risk that a child will develop in the future alcohol dependence.
The main organs of the fetus are formed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, so the impact of alcohol on the body especially strong kid and disastrous at this time.
Alcohol affects the brain child reduces his mental capacity. In addition, the risk of congenital diseases – such as heart disease, and others.
Can not drink alcohol, and while feeding the baby. Previously, there was a view that, alcohol increases the amount of milk. But we must not forget that the baby “drinks” with her mother. These children often fall behind in height and weight, they have problems with the psyche – they are easily excitable, irritable, etc. Chances are that the “drinking” adult babies become addicted to alcohol.
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Social consequences of alcoholism in women are much harder than men. Women living with alcoholism are characterized by a rapid decrease of intelligence, acquisition of hysterical personality traits, moral decline and social fabric. They are quicker than men to lose their profession, move to low-skilled types of labor, and, in the end, even quit their jobs. Alcohol degradation of the individual and social decompensation occurs in them much faster than that of men.
Treatment of female alcoholism is longer and is sometimes without result, if a patient has asked for help at the last stage of alcoholism. That is why alcoholism among women is more dangerous than among men. Women living with alcoholism are harder to get themselves to consult a doctor as female alcoholism is condemned by society far more than men. Alcoholics are trying to hide from all their illness as long as possible.
In order to effectively combat this disease, a comprehensive approach is required. Treatment of female alcoholism is directed at correcting the somatic and neurological disorders (alcoholic liver disease, kidney, heart, alcoholic neuropathy, and encephalopathy) and to combat core symptom of alcoholism %u2011 addiction to alcohol. For this purpose, pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy are used (O’Malley et al, 1996).
Psychotherapy is aimed at forming a conscious installation and training to solve problems and to enjoy life without alcohol, comfortable and fully feel the management of drinking behavior and deal effectively with the emerging desire for alcohol.
Healing-rehabilitation program is long enough. Rapid and affordable methods such as coding, “Torpedo”, stitching of a spiral proven to be ineffective, because their action is based on fear without forming conscious attitude to sobriety. And at the end of the term of the method, the patients in most cases break down and start drinking even more than before.