ALCOHOL is one of the oldest abused substances in the history of mankind. Use of alcohol invariably leads to physical and mental dependence and various social and health related problems.
Once somebody becomes addicted to alcohol, he or she finds it difficult to give up, in spite of knowing that it is creating problems.
In developed countries like U.K. or U.S.A., much of the sickness among people is due to use of alcohol.
Alcohol is harmful for the overall health for all people, but it is more harmful for women as their body is not able to metabolize it as efficiently as in men. It is said that 70% women start taking alcohol from their homes. The habit starts when some family member or members like the Father or husband drink alcohol in the home regularly.
Among young women, some start drinking under peer pressure. Some consider drinking alcohol as a mark of being modern or liberated and start drinking it. Few women take up this habit under depression or stress due to any problem. They find alcohol as an escape from their misery.
Whatever may be the reason for starting drinking, once they start drinking, they find it difficult to give it up after sometime. They also start suffering from the health hazards of alcohol.
Liver toxicity due to alcohol occurs early in women and in more severe form. Toxicity to the brain, blood vessels and peripheral nerves also occurs in more severe form in women as compared to men. Malnutrition induced by alcohol is also more severe in women. Studies have shown that women who drink alcohol are more prone to develop breast cancer.
Alcohol disrupts the hormonal system in women causing irregular menstruation. This can result in infertility which is a big stigma for any woman. If one becomes pregnant, there is a high risk of the baby being born underweight or with birth defects.
There are other hazards of alcohol in women. Women are known to suffer from physical injury and rape under influence of alcohol. Sometimes unscrupulous people take advantage of their inebriated state and involve them in sexual activity. Later as the effect of alcohol wears off, these women sadly realize that they have lost their dignity and honor. Unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases are yet another consequence of alcoholism in women.
Alcoholic women are known to be apathetic towards their family. Extreme cases are seen where women have abandoned their families for sake of alcohol. It has been aptly said that if a man drinks, he suffers alone, but in case of a woman drinking, the entire family suffers.
In some cases they are shunted out of homes due to this habit. In any manner, if separated from their families, these women start drinking more due to the loneliness they face and suffer more as a consequence.
In spite of developing problems, alcoholics among women like men also find it difficult to quit, because of the withdrawal syndrome. Once the body becomes physically habituated to alcohol, a person suffers from restlessness, tremors, hallucinations and agitation if the body is deprived of it for more than 12 hours.
Women develop dependence on alcohol early as compared to men and hence have more severe withdrawal syndrome. To overcome this they drink more alcohol and become sicker.
Thus considering the severe harmful effects of alcohol in women, it is desirable that if any lady has started to drink, this habit should be nipped in the bud. If she is already an alcoholic, she needs mental, physical and nutritional support to help overcome this habit. In advanced cases help can be taken from professional counselors and alcohol de addiction centers.
When women get off alcohol, they need to be kept busy and under observation to prevent relapse of the habit.