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Effects of Alcohol on the Body

signs of alcoholism women physical effects

This relationship and correlation between dementia and alcohol abuse are strongest among women. However, more research is needed to determine the specifics. Someone who is addicted to alcohol will continue to drink even if everything else in their life goes wrong.

What to Do When You Recognize Signs of Alcohol Abuse in Women

Changes in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle may also affect how a woman metabolizes alcohol. Women have lower levels of two enzymes—alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase—that metabolize (break down) alcohol in the stomach and liver. As a result, women absorb more alcohol into their bloodstreams than men. Historically, women have tended to feel a greater sense of shame physical characteristics of alcoholics about drinking and getting drunk than men, but it appears that among younger women, this stigma may be fading. While men are still more likely to drink—and to binge—women are drinking more, and more often, than they did in the past. In addition to getting professional treatment and support, there are things that you can do to help feel better and improve your chances of recovery.

Diarrhea and Heartburn

signs of alcoholism women physical effects

People who drink heavily over a long period of time are also more likely to develop pneumonia or tuberculosis than the general population. The World Health Organization (WHO) links about 8.1 percent of all tuberculosis cases worldwide to alcohol consumption. Women are more likely to develop serious diseases like osteoporosis and pancreatitis. These issues will likely happen because alcohol will affect a woman’s menstrual cycle.

  • The most serious effect is Korsakoff’s syndrome, characterized in part by an inability to remember recent events or to learn new information.
  • Now is the time to line up support from addiction specialists, mental health professionals, friends and family, and others living with an alcohol use disorder.
  • It can be hard to see there is a problem even if the drinking is negatively impacting your health and your life.
  • When a woman continues to drink despite experiencing medical or mental health issues like a co-occurring disorder, she likely struggles with an addiction to alcohol.

Alcohol’s physical effects on the body

signs of alcoholism women physical effects

Alcohol can have temporary and long-term effects on your physical appearance. The severity of these changes usually depends on how long and how often you drink. The morning after a night of over-imbibing can cause some temporary effects on your brain. Things like trouble concentration, slow reflexes and sensitivity to bright lights and loud sounds are standard signs of a hangover, and evidence of alcohol’s effects on your brain. Steatotic liver disease used to go by the name fatty liver disease.

Why your alcohol tolerance diminishes as you age

  • This is why they need professional help to get them moving toward a healthier, sober lifestyle.
  • The Journal of American Medical Association said that women who consume anywhere between two and five drinks daily are 41% more likely to get breast cancer.
  • During end-stage alcoholism, a person may struggle with involuntary rapid eye movement (nystagmus) or weakness and paralysis of the eye muscles due to thiamin (vitamin B1) deficiency.
  • Withdrawal symptoms include sweating, shaking, nausea, and anxiety.
  • Or it might damage the nerves and tiny hairs in your inner ear that help you hear.
  • Research shows a high correlation between alcohol misuse and high-risk sexual behavior, violence, crime, self-injury, and fatal injury from things like motor vehicle accidents.
  • Liver disease caused by alcohol use can cause hyperpigmentation, palmar erythema, jaundice, generalized pruritus, and caput medusae.

It’s not your life span you need to worry about. It’s your health span.

  • Take our short (it takes less than 5 minutes) questionnaire based on the DSM-5 criteria to assess the severity of your alcohol use.
  • The situation changed in the early 1990s after the FDA and the National Institutes of Health issued guidelines aimed at increasing the representation of women and minorities in research studies.
  • For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Drinking during pregnancy–Never a good idea

Particular alcohol risks in women






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