The Facts About Men vs. Women and Alcoholism

Alcoholism has devastating effects on a person’s health and personal life, no matter what sex they are. Studies show, however, that the risk factors that lead to alcoholism and the consequences of alcohol abuse differ among men and women.

At Casa Palmera, we understand that men and women face different hurdles in alcoholism treatment because their addictions to alcohol are based on very different physical, physiological, social and environmental factors. Here are the facts about alcoholism in men vs. women and what we can do to help.

Men vs. Women and Alcoholism: The Rate of Alcoholism

Alcoholism is more than twice as common among men as women.

Men are more at risk for abusing or becoming dependent on alcohol than women.

The consequences associated with heavy drinking are accelerated in women vs. men. For example, a man may be a heavy drinker for 20 to 30 years and have moderate problems, while a woman can be a heavy drinker for only five years and show moderate to severe problems.

Women are more at risk for developing a drinking problem later in life. They are also at greater risk for alcohol-related health problems as they get older due their physiology. Younger women (aged 18-34) have higher rates of drinking-related problems than older women do, but the rates of alcohol dependence are greater among middle-aged women (aged 35-49).

Chronic alcohol abuse takes a greater physical toll on women than on men. Women alcoholics have death rates 50 to 100 percent higher than men alcoholics. Women alcoholics also have a higher percentage of death due to alcohol-related injuries, suicides, circulatory disorders and cirrhosis of the liver.

Men vs. Women and Alcoholism: How Alcohol is Metabolized

Women typically have less body mass and less water content in their bodies than men. Body water diffuses alcohol content as it’s digested, which means women have a higher concentration of alcohol in their blood stream when they drink. This not only causes women to become more impaired from drinking, but also exposes their brains and other organs to more alcohol before it’s broken down. This plays a role in the short- and long-term effects of alcohol on women.

Men vs. Women and Alcoholism: Alcoholic Health Issues

Alcohol-induced liver diseases such as cirrhosis and hepatitis develop more quickly in women than in men, and more alcoholic women die from cirrhosis than do alcoholic men.

Women who consume alcohol are more at risk for developing cancer than men. Excessive alcohol consumption has also been shown to increase the risk of several digestive-tract cancers in women.

Women in the late stages of develop hypertension, anemia and malnutrition much quicker than alcoholic men. They are also at risk for developing depression, sleeping problems and are more at risk for personal injury. These risks are especially prevalent in older women.

Excessive alcohol use can cause men to have difficulty getting and maintaining erections, difficulty ejaculating, reduced sexual desire, increased sexual aggression, and infertility.

Studies show that men are more likely than women to take risks during periods of excessive drinking, further increasing their risk of injury or death. In fact, men consistently have higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women.

Drinking makes symptoms of depression and anxiety worse. Studies show that men are more likely than women to commit suicide, and that the majority of men who commit suicide consumed alcohol before doing so.

Men vs. Women and Alcoholism: Treatment

At Casa Palmera, we believe that alcoholism is more than just a physical problem. We recognize the need for mental and spiritual recovery and strive to treat our residents’ entire well-being. We also understand that men and women face unique hurdles in treatment and will tailor a treatment program to your specific needs. Our focus on individualized alcohol treatment helps make Casa Palmera a valuable, rare and life changing experience.

Call us today.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.