Gender Differences in Alcohol

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Gender Differences in Alcohol

Gender Differences in Alcohol

Drinking alcohol is a common aspect of social gatherings and is often used recreationally. Unfortunately, binge drinking is a problem that is prevalent in both men and women every day. One survey reported that 34% of women consumed at least 12 alcoholic drinks within the previous year compared to 56% of men who did the same.1 Because alcoholism is present in both men and women, piles of studies have been conducted on the gender differences in alcohol. 

At Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, we know that alcohol can negatively affect both men and women. No one is safe from the repercussions of alcohol abuse, and that’s why individuals who have developed a dependency on alcohol should take the first step in their recovery process with our alcohol detox treatment


Gender Differences in Alcohol Consumption

The social and physical differences in gender alcohol consumption are being continuously researched. The way alcohol affects men and women, and the prevalence of alcohol use amongst the two groups differ. While most research indicates that alcohol use is more common in men, women are at a greater risk of suffering from physical damage caused by binge drinking. Organ and brain damage are more common in women who drink than in men.2


Alcohol Use in Women

Women metabolize and detox from alcohol differently from men. Usually, women have less water in their bodies than men of the same weight. As a result, a woman will have a higher blood alcohol level after drinking the same amount as a man. A high blood alcohol level can cause dangerous side effects, some of which include:

  • Slow reflexes
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble remembering things
  • Memory loss
  • Blackouts 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of coordination or balance
  • Fainting
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Irregular breathing
  • High blood pressure

Women are also more likely to experience extreme levels of liver, brain, and organ damage than men are from binge drinking. Women will develop liver damage quicker than men will, even after consuming less alcohol. Alcohol-related hepatitis and cirrhosis are also more common in women who drink than in men who drink and can often be life-threatening.3 Hormones that are present at higher volumes in women, like estrogen, can play a part in the physical effects of alcohol as well.4

As a rehab center in Lake Worth, we understand the gender differences in alcohol. Our dedicated staff works to provide successful addiction treatments to help people who struggle with substance abuse get sober. 


Alcohol Use in Men

Factors like a physical response to alcohol, brain maturation, and socialization can explain gender differences in alcohol use. Men are at a greater risk for alcoholism because they have a lower response to alcohol than women do. One reason for this is because men tend to have less body fat than women. Alcohol is stored in body fat, and the more of it there is, the more alcohol remains in a person’s system. Men also produce more alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes than women. These help break down alcohol before it makes its way into the bloodstream, making men more tolerant of binge drinking than women.5 Because a woman’s physical alcohol tolerance is lower than a man’s, death rates are higher in female alcoholics than in male alcoholics. 

Regardless of gender, alcohol abuse is not safe or healthy. Binge drinking can cause health conditions that can be permanent or deadly. Our alcohol addiction treatment is a program in which people battling with alcoholism can heal, recover, and gain the necessary tools for long-term sobriety.


If you or someone you know struggles with drug or alcohol abuse, do not wait to get help. Call us at 561-220-3981 to find out more about various addiction treatment programs



  1. NIH- Drinking in The United States: Main Findings From The 1992 National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey (NLAES)
  2. NCBI- Sex Difference in Alcoholism: Who is at a Greater Risk for Development of Alcoholic Complication?
  3. NIH- Greater risk of ascitic cirrhosis in females in relation to alcohol consumption
  4. NIH- Are Women More Vulnerable to Alcohol’s Effects?
  5. NCBI- Chapter 3: Physiological Effects of Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco on Women

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