Health & Safety

April 26, 2012

Alcohol Awareness Month: Women and the effects of alcohol

Valencia R. Barnes
Employee Assistance Program Coordinator
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It is estimated that approximately 4 million women in the United States are heavy drinkers.  Heavy drinker is defined as drinking in a way that threatens one’s health, safety and general well being.  Here are a few facts regarding women and alcohol:

 

1. Intoxicated women put themselves at a greater risk for violent crimes.

2. Research shows that women develop alcohol related disease more quickly while drinking less alcohol than men.

a. Women develop alcoholic liver disease more quickly and after drinking less alcohol than men.

b. Research suggests that women are more vulnerable than men to alcohol induced brain damage.

c. Many studies suggest that heavy drinking increases the risk of breast cancer

3. Women who drink while pregnant put their children at risk for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is set of birth defects that can cause mental impairment, problems with learning, memory attention and problem solving as well as small birth weight.

4. Problem drinking among women is much more likely to lead to or be associated with mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

5. It can increase the risk of spontaneous abortion or cause impaired fetal growth and development.

6. Menstrual disorders have been linked to heavy drinking.

 

For women moderate drinking is no more than one drink per day (U.S. standards).  A standard drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor (straight or in a mixed drink).  Each contains the same amount of alcohol.  How much you drink is as important as how often you drink.

 

Signs of a drinking problem are:

  • Drinking alone when you feel angry or sad
  • Drinking in a pattern (every day or every week at the same time)
  • Planning activities around drinking
  • Drinking to relieve pain or stress
  • Drinking more than you meant to or after you told yourself you wouldn’t
  • Drinking to get drunk
  • Thinking a lot about drinking
  • Showing a personality change when you drink

 

If you or someone you know feels that they might have an alcohol problem please call the Fort Irwin Army Substance Abuse Program at 380.4035/4074 or call Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647.  Help is only a phone call away.




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