Particularities and risks |Women & addiction

Addiction in women

  • With the increasing equality of women in all areas of life, addiction has also spread amongst women. Today, they consume more substances and practice male forms of consumption.
  • The number of addicted women has increased drastically in the last few years.
  • Women are more affected by the consequences of addiction than men.
  • Women are met with contempt and refusal more quickly. They are seen as failures in the role of women and quickly marginalized to the edge of society.
  • Women still find little support in psychiatric care than men.
  • Women consume secretly and privately. Their consumption is only recognized when severe physical sequelae are detected.
  • Women consult a doctor more quickly in the case of health problems. However, they often hide the actual reasons for their complaints when it comes to addictive substances.
  • With addicted women, a significantly faster social relegation as well as the neglect of food, personal hygiene and health are noticeable.
  • Addiction in men is not only a burden for the family but also increases the risk of women to become addicted as well.
  • Women who experienced sexual abuse or violence in their childhood are particularly at risk of addictions.
  • There is a new current risk for women who work in male-dominated professions. The pressure to adapt to male behavior (e.g. during business dinners) as well as physical and mental stress make it easier to use drugs.
  • Women rarely leave their addicted partner but are left quickly when they become addicted themselves.
  • Women rarely seek therapy so that the social pressure can be taken off their shoulders. Instead, they keep to themselves and therefore fall victim to drug addiction.
  • We accept the alcoholism of men but have little sympathy for alcoholic women.
  • Women are exposed to aggression more quickly. This accelerates their personal withdrawal and therefore delays the possibility of access to therapy for years.
  • When women get into therapy, they are often physically and mentally ill to such an extent that they cannot keep up therapy. In many cases, this results in discontinuation and relapses and in the deterioration of their state of health.

Are you at risk?

  • As a woman, do you drink 20g of pure alcohol (0.5l beer, 0.2l wine or 5–6 schnapps) several times a week?
  • Do you drink by yourself?
  • Do you drink to relax or to fall asleep?
  • Do you drink high-proof drinks or alcohol combined with tranquilizers?

Then you are at great risk of becoming an alcoholic.

Women have a poorer metabolism and cannot break down alcohol well. Therefore, women become ill and addicted faster and are physically and mentally impaired quicker.

You should know that alcoholism brings a range of diseases:

  • The risk of breast cancer is considerably higher in alcoholic women.
  • The risk of liver cirrhosis is two times higher in women than in men with lower alcohol consumption.

Other diseases are: Anxiety disorders, eating disorders and mental disorders.

It is important to break through this rapid physical and mental decline and get help as soon as possible.

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy

Even a one-time consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can harm the unborn child. "Through the umbilical cord, the child absorbs everything that the mother consumes", Gisela Gille from the Ärztlichen Gesellschaft zur Gesundheitsförderung der Frau (ÄGGF) [Medical Association for the Promotion of Women's Health] said at a conference on alcohol consumption during pregnancy in Berlin.

Alcohol is a cytotoxin. If the expectant mother regularly consumes alcohol during pregnancy, the organs of the unborn child do not develop properly. The child is born with a disability, the so-called fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

"You can tell from facial features that children are suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome", Reinhold Feldmann from the Clinic and Polyclinic for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine of the University Hospital Münster said. Fetal alcohol syndrome does not only occur in children of alcoholic mothers by no means.

» read more at WELT Online...

How does alcohol affect women/men?

How does alcohol affect our brain?

The first glass:
Directly affects the frontal lobe, i.e. the area of the brain directly behind the frontal bone. The frontal lobe controls attention, motivation, planning and learning. The first glass dampens the activity of the frontal lobe, alcohol makes the person a little more stupid, fewer complicated assessments can be made.

The second glass:
The alcohol reaches the reward system. Here, euphoria is controlled and the reward system gets a thrill.

The third glass:
Affects the amygdala which is downregulated. The amygdala assesses the emotional value of everything we experience. This means, that the amygdala tells us how to react: Whether we should dare, escape or be careful.

The fourth glass:
Affects the cerebellum. Here, balance and coordination are controlled. We stagger, fall and cannot stand securely on two legs.


If you drink high-proof alcohol quickly, e.g. drinking 2 whiskey in one go, the alcohol affects the hippocampus. The hippocampus stores current events, creates memories and forms behavior patterns in interaction with the amygdala. If you drink alcohol quickly, the hippocampus is deactivated which leads to a blackout. The hippocampus has problems from 0.8 per mill. From 1.5 per mill, it is deactivated.

In a condition of more than 1.5 per mill, drunk persons are like ghosts. This means that they move around but they cannot remember anything. The hippocampus is deactivated completely. The frontal lobes, the cerebellum and the amygdala are still working but to a limited extent.
If a man of average weight drinks 8 alcoholic drinks in 4 hours, he approximately has 1.07 per mill. If a woman of average weight drinks 8 alcoholic drinks in 4 hours, she approximately has 1.73 per mill and a blackout. A complete meal in the stomach reduces the alcohol level by 30%.
People who drink alcohol on an empty stomach have more alcohol in their blood faster. Women have less fluid in the body and the alcohol level rises faster than in men. Women are vulnerable under the influence of alcohol. If a woman drinks alcohol fast in company, the hippocampus (memory) is deactivated. With the help of her memory, she visualizes the person opposite her. If her memory fails, she makes wrong decisions, loses control of the situation and is at risk of becoming a victim.

Feminists are of the opinion that women have the right to drink as much as men. I would like to tell women that they have to avoid becoming a victim if they want to prevent becoming a victim. This means that they have to drink less in order to maintain the function of the hippocampus and control the situation. I would like to tell men that an excessive alcohol consumption is not a harmless, social activity. It leads to a loss of control and increases the risk of sex crimes.

Gender medicine and alcohol

Equal work, equal pay, equal alcohol consumption
Is the new image of femininity influenced by masculine standards?

A man drinks 8 alcoholic drinks in 4 hours.  Fact. 1.07 per mill
A woman drinks 8 alcoholic drinks in 4 hours. Fact. 1.73 per mill

He cannot drive anymore but does not have a blackout
She has a blackout
A blackout is the complete loss of memory while routine functions are still working. This means that she can still do the dishes and shop online but does not remember anything of it the next day.

There is a small area in the brain: The hippocampus.
It is arranged symmetrically and responsible for creating and storing memories.
This memory area is our first line of defense when meeting strangers. We visualize the person opposite us and weigh whether he/she is good or bad, dangerous or harmless based on previous experiences.
At 0.8 per mill, the hippocampus has problems. From 1.5 per mill, it is deactivated and cannot create memories or process information.
A woman with at least 1.5 per mill is vulnerable, helpless and at the mercy of the person opposite her as she has no memory.
As she can still perform simple actions, the person opposite her does not recognize the blackout and therefore misinterprets her behavior completely.