Recognizing the Signs of Alcohol Addiction in WomenJuly 27, 2017 - Alcohol Addiction - 0 Comments
Alcoholism is different for women as it is men and the signs they display are not always the same. Also, women are more susceptible to the long-term damage that alcohol abuse can cause than men with alcohol dependence. Studies have shown that women with alcohol issues are more likely than men to develop related heart or liver disease and even cancer, particularly breast cancer. Research also reveals that women drinkers suffer faster brain shrinkage than males, leading to long-term damage to memory and cognitive function.
Because of the social stigma attached to drinking, particularly in women, those suffering addiction issues can sometimes feel deterred from seeking all-women alcohol rehab, a gender-specific treatment program best suited to the unique needs of women in addiction.
Women alcoholics are also at a high risk of developing dementia in later years as the parts of a female brain that deactivate as a result of alcohol abuse include those that solve puzzles, sharpens focus, navigate maps or perform any activity that requires concentration. Simple issues become more complex than they need be and even figuring out simple math problems when shopping, for example, can lead to feelings of confusion.
It is for all these reasons and more that those close to women alcoholics are aware of the signs and symptoms of an addictive disease.
Health Issues Begin to Surface
Anxiety and depression are often both cause and effect in women with addiction and prolonged substance abuse will bring about related illnesses that will have manifest symptoms. These include nausea and headaches which will at times be so debilitating that an addict’s work performance will suffer and lead to behavioral changes with the potential of damaging close personal relationships.
Being Defensive about Drinking Habits
Constantly making excuses about how much they drink or denying they have a problem is a sign of issues of alcohol dependency. The majority of women have existing mood disorders underlying their need to abuse substances and alcohol that can be traced back to a specific event or trauma experienced in the past. Alcohol is therefore used to self-medicate depression and addiction often follows.
Denying they have a problem puts a lot of pressure on close personal relationships for sufferers of addiction, at a time when they need support the most. Openly excusing their behavior and angrily denying it are both ways a woman with addiction issues subconsciously reaches out for help.
Alcoholics Prefer Their Own Company
As part of the denial an addict goes through, much of the problem is kept hidden from loved ones and they can become socially isolated. This is also a sign of an issue with alcohol.
Changes in Sleep Patterns
When a woman is addicted to alcohol they can display abnormal behaviors as a direct result of their self-medication. Lack of sleep leads to mood swings, fatigue and aggression and otherwise placid personalities can become unrecognizable from their former selves. This is similar to men although the attributes of aggression are often more out of character for female alcoholics.
How to Get Help
Clearly, women with alcohol dependency have unique circumstances, challenges, and issues to deal with plus the additional burden of social disapproval and so it is enormously difficult for them to reach out for help with addiction issues. However, all-women rehabilitation and recovery centers have been proven to be extremely successful in achieving successful outcomes of years of ongoing sobriety.
Women form close bonds with others in similar situations and all-female alcoholism treatment programs are designed and led by women with their specific issues in mind. The support network formed with other women in treatment creates a sisterhood in sobriety with others who have shared the same rehab journey.
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