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Motherhood, Marriage, and Alcohol Addiction

Motherhood, Marriage, and Alcohol Addiction

The topic of mothers and alcohol addiction is more openly talked about today.  However, some people hold on to the old stereotype of the perfect mother.  She’s the one who makes the meals, keeps the house clean, and is always there for her husband and children.  And, she also manages a career and keeps her appearance and health in top shape.  

When a busy mom struggles to uphold the image of perfect motherhood, she becomes overwhelmed.  So, a little glass of wine after dinner helps her relax.  Before long, one glass becomes two, and alcohol addiction sneaks up on her.

Are Women Drinking More These Days?

For the last century, women have been catching up to men in alcohol use, binge drinking, or alcohol use disorders.  In the past, the ratio was 3-1 men vs. women.  Today it is closer to 1-1 according to many studies.  

Most women who drink are looking for a way to cope with their demanding role as wife, mother, and career woman.  Researchers suggest that using alcohol to cope increases the risk of developing alcohol use disorder.  They also show that women are more likely than men to drink to cope.

Women are drinking more for many reasons.  But, in the past two years, the virus pandemic has affected their alcohol consumption.  Because of the lockdowns and the sense of isolation and helplessness, many men and women are drinking more.  

A Cycle of Shame, Guilt, and Alcohol Addiction

A woman can manage to hide the drinking from her family.  For a while, anyway.  But, the shame and guilt she feels about the deception cause more drinking. The cycle continues until alcohol addiction becomes her biggest problem.  

Studies show that women are more likely than men to struggle with anxiety and depression.  Alcohol abuse contributes to an increase in these disorders, especially among women.  

Through the years, alcohol researchers focused mainly on men.  But, in recent years, they have learned more about the effects alcohol has on women.  Their findings are quite surprising.

How Alcohol Affects Women Differently Than Men

Alcohol affects women differently than men in several ways.  Let’s take a look at some of the reasons:

Higher BAC

Women’s bodies have less body water than men’s.  So, alcohol isn’t absorbed the same.  Women retain a higher concentration of alcohol in their blood and tissues.  Even after drinking the same amount as a man.  Also, a woman’s body has less dehydrogenase than men’s bodies.  This enzyme helps break down alcohol before it enters the bloodstream.  Basically, one drink for a woman equals two drinks for a man.

Women Develop Alcohol Addiction Quicker

Women take less time to develop alcohol addiction than men.  Some things that cause this increased vulnerability can include hormone levels, physiology, genetics, and neurobiology.  

Greater Risk of Alcohol-Related Disease

Studies show that alcohol-induced cirrhosis and cardiomyopathy develop in women faster than men.  Women are also more vulnerable to alcohol-related brain damage, liver failure, breast cancer, and heart problems.  According to data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), female alcoholics have greater death rates than men.

Of course, no woman plans to become addicted to alcohol.  They are vulnerable for many reasons as discussed above.  In addition, they are targeted by TV and social media marketers who promote wine and alcoholic mixed drinks specifically for women.

Treatment for Women With Alcohol Addiction

At Cycles for Change Recovery, we understand the challenges faced by women who are addicted to alcohol.  Our program focuses on helping them heal the physiological and emotional factors that accompany their alcohol addiction.  

Addiction is not easy to overcome.  And each person responds differently to treatment.  So, we work with clients to design a treatment plan that suits their needs and preferences.  Also, we ensure that each of our clients gets the respect and compassion they need during their time in our program.  

Our treatment options include detoxification, inpatient or outpatient rehab, 12-step programs, and an extended care program.  You may take part in various counseling sessions, classes, and activities to learn effective coping skills and relapse prevention methods.  You will also gain  the confidence and self-esteem needed to help you maintain sobriety.

Our program options include: 

  • Cognitive Behavioral therapy
  • Holistic therapy
  • Meditation and yoga
  • Psychodrama therapy
  • Biosound therapy
  • Family therapy 

We are proud to have been awarded a AAA rating by the Joint Commission.  This means you will get the highest quality, evidence-based treatment available today.  

If you are concerned about how your alcohol use is affecting your family and your health, contact our Palmdale, CA facility today.  Our goal is to help clients overcome addiction safely and effectively.  But, more importantly, we want to see you live a healthy, substance-free lifestyle.  For your sake as well as your family’s sake.  We will get you on the winning side of addiction.


  • health.harvard.edu– Why Does Alcohol Affect Women Differently?
  • ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Sex Difference in Alcoholism: Who is at a Grater Risk for Development of Alcoholic Complication?

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