Women Seek Alcohol Treatment Earlier Than Men
In the history of alcoholism, studies have been performed countless times to measure differences between men and women. For a wide span of time, alcoholism was considered a men's disease. This was due to the overabundance of men suffering from alcoholism and the scarcity of it occurring in women. However, in the last fifty years, this has become less true.
In most recent studies, the differences between men and women who suffer from alcoholism, such as lifetime dependence rates, quantities of alcohol consumed and many other statistics have become considerably closer. While addictive tendencies towards alcohol in men still have higher rates than in women, it was recently found that women may have a gender related vulnerability to the addiction. A study performed at the University of Florida found that many women who become addicted to alcohol experience something called a telescope effect. This effect describes a process in which progress through the various stages of addiction is increased.
In today's age this telescope effect may be the greatest difference between men and women concerning alcoholism. In women, it has been found that they more rapidly reach points of serious alcoholism, such as greater quantities of ingested alcohol at higher frequencies as well. However, the upside to this effect is that it has also been found that due to the telescope effect, women are reaching out for help with their addiction sooner than men are. Where men may flounder in alcoholism for years on end, it has been found that women, on average, seek out help four to five years sooner than their male counterparts.
It is still largely unclear as to why women reach this point sooner than men. Some speculate that it is due to women having a lower threshold for the abuse. Where men may be able to consume more, women may have a less tolerance for the substance. Another speculation as to why women reach recovery sooner than men is that they regard the affliction as less of a social stigma than men. The information regarding telescoping in women is still inconclusive; there were of course women that fit the profile and some which did not. The next question to be answered in relation to these studies would be the catalyst that drives women to drinking to abusive levels and correlation these catalysts may have to the telescope effect. Women and men both have separate sets of gender specific trauma that can be the base of addiction, and it is unknown as to whether gender specific trauma can have an effect in causing the telescope effect.
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