Women and Alcohol
When it comes to alcohol, women & men have differences:
- Women generally weigh less than men. The weight of a person greatly affects blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
- Women also have lower total body water content than men. For the same amount of alcohol, women achieve a higher BAC.
- Women absorb alcohol into the bloodstream faster than men.
- A woman's ability to metabolize alcohol can be affected by our menstrual cycle
- Long-term alcohol use affects a woman's body at a faster rate than a man's.
- Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause serious developmental defects in an unborn child, including fetal alcohol syndrome.
- There are strong ties between alcohol abuse and breast, skin and neck cancer in women.
- Alcoholism appears to progress much more rapidly in women than in men.
- Women who suffer emotionally, frequently use alcohol or other drugs to escape or self-medicate.
- Women are more likely to be involved with other prescription drugs than men.
- The suicide rate of women with alcohol problems is much higher than the general population.
- Unwanted sex. Alcohol lowers inhibitions which may lead to being sexual or having sex in ways we normally wouldn't causing feelings of guilt, regret, or other consequences.
- Unprotected sex. Having sex intoxicated can lead to decisions regarding the practice of "safe sex" to being deferred or not execute properly.
- DID YOU KNOW? About 1 in 4 women experience a rape or attempted rape during their college career. 90% of women will know and trust their attacker. 75% of these sexual assaults involve the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Small changes can make a big difference!
Counting & Measuring - Know the standard drink sizes so you can count your drinks accurately. Be mindful that you may be getting more alcohol than you think any time you're not making them yourself.
Keeping Track - Keep track of how much you drink both daily and weekly. If you make note of each drink before you drink it, this may help you slow down.
Pacing and Spacing - Sip slowly. Have no more than one alcoholic drink per hour with other non-alcoholic drinks in between.
Including Food - Avoid drinking on an empty stomach.
Planning to Handle Urges - When an urge to over-drink hits, think of all the reasons why you're trying to cut back. Academics, safety, personal health, reducing opportunities for embarrassment, etc.
Setting Goals - Decide how many days a week you want to drink and how many drinks you'll have on those days. For the average healthy woman (up to age 65): No more than 3 drinks a day AND no more than 7 drinks a week.
Avoiding "Triggers" - If certain people, places, times of day, activities, or feelings make you drink even when you don't want to, try to avoid them and/or decide what you will do to replace drinking.
- Knowing Your "No - Be ready in advance with your "drinking refusal line." Be polite, but convincing. The faster you can say no to these offers, the less likely you are to give in.
- Get Counseling - If you continue to struggle with negative consequences due to drinking, don't be afraid to get help. The ETSU Counseling Center offers individual counseling, group therapy, and referrals when necessary. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Drinking Advice For Women Brochure
The Counseling Center
East Tennessee State University
D.P. Culp Center, 3rd Floor, Room 345
Walk Ins Welcome - Mon-Thurs 10:00am-11:30am and 2:00pm-3:30pm
*Information on this page from: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; National Institute of Health; National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.