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Alcoholism has been the domain of men for centuries, while the number of women who drink is increasing every year. Why do women reach for alcohol, do they seek help, and what is the difference between female alcoholism and alcoholism among men? Anna Krasuska talks to the psychiatrist Lubomira Szawdyn about the problem of female alcoholism.

Women drink in secret more than men, they are more ashamed of it, and theirtherapyusually lasts much longer than with men.Female alcoholismalso has more serious he alth consequences.

  • Is alcoholism increasing among women?

Yes. You just need to look around at the drug rehabilitation wards. Once there were two or three ladies in a group of gentlemen. Now it's the other way around. Women report to therapy more often than in the past, but also drink more and more of them.

  • Why?

This is due to a misunderstanding of equality. The rights and responsibilities have mixed up and the ladies want to equal men in drinking too. They drink large amounts of wine and beer, but also strong alcohol. A woman sitting in a pub or with a can of beer in the street is a normal phenomenon today. There has been a change in the behavior of our sex, which is very clearly visible. Even our language is changing. The woman says "I broke down like a barn" and no one is surprised!

  • This is what emancipation has led to?

Among other things. Our lifestyle has changed. In the past, ladies from time to time drank a glass of tincture with jam. Or you drank occasionally in large company. Now we go out to lunch and order a glass of wine. After we come home we are tired and we drink the second one, and the third until the evening movie. And this is how alcohol sneaks into our lives. We easily assimilate different fashions. For example, now women drink regularly among themselves. He meets a few single women and they go out for wine, just like their buddies used to go out for a beer. This phenomenon has become widespread recently.

  • How can you capture the moment of addiction?

Watching your drinking. When we stop counting percentages and have no idea how much we drink in a day, it gets dangerous. Hardly anyone realizes that six beers contain the same amount of alcohol as half a liter of vodka. And yet women often drink so much while sitting in a club! Even more important is how oftenwe drink. Half a bottle of wine seems innocent, but if drunk daily it is addictive. If we get used to something, then we miss it. All the more so as initially the tolerance to alcohol grows.

  • Does our physiology have any influence on our predisposition to alcohol?

Absolutely! The female endocrine system is of great importance. The emotional swings associated with premenstrual tension make women look for pgi in alcohol at this time. When they discover that the mood is leveling out in this way, they reach for the bottle more and more often.

  • In which period of life are we more prone to addiction?

There are two moments of increased danger. The first - before the period of biological development. Unfortunately, there are more and more teen drinkers, because good girls are not in fashion today. In my practice, there are even 12-year-old alcoholics. The second difficult moment is retirement and the independence of children. Many women cannot cope with empty nest syndrome and begin to seek solace in alcohol. It is also easier to make new friends over the Internet with a glass of wine.

  • Women drink alone more often than men?

It used to be like that, but now that our lifestyle has changed so much, it is no longer a hallmark of female alcoholism. Ladies, however, "go underground" more often.


Weaker sex - weaker head

Four times more women than men die from alcoholism. Alcohol metabolism is different for each sex. Therefore, the he alth consequences of drinking are more frequent and severe in women. After consuming the same amount of alcohol, its concentration in a woman's blood is 40 percent. bigger than a man's. It is related to the functioning of the endocrine system. A woman gets drunk faster in the premenstrual phase of the cycle, and taking oral contraceptives causes an additional slowdown in alcohol metabolism, which makes it circulate in the blood for much longer. ), there are losses to he alth that are found in men who drink three times as much. On average, women experience serious he alth problems after 14 years of alcohol abuse. Similar changes appear in men after 20 years.

  • So they are hiding their problem …

Yes. When they notice that they can no longer live without alcohol, and they have to go to work and fulfill their life roles, they begin to mask themselves. For years, women canhide. I once had a patient who was a wonderful wife and mother. The house sparkled clean. Everything perfect until the family went to sleep. Then my mother would hide in her room on the first floor, under the pretext that she was resting alone or… knitting. She drank half a liter and fell asleep. It took many years. Day after day!

  • Nobody realized?!

Husband was too busy. And the daughters felt that there was something wrong with their mother, but the case only came to light when one of them found her unconscious.

  • There must be some signs of addiction …

They occur, but we often ignore them. The face of the alcoholic is extremely symptomatic. Swelling, bloodshot or yellow eyes, bursting blood vessels … Especially in women it is impossible to hide - even under a thick layer of makeup. I always ask my patients to bring me their photos. I show them how their face changes because they cannot see it themselves. Besides, there are many other symptoms. Strong perfumes, incense sticks masking the smell of alcohol - especially in the workplace. The explanation is also symptomatic. There is a proverb: "Whoever explains himself, the one sinks down." If someone begins to complain when he is not asked or mentions the topic of alcohol for no reason, it may mean that it is an important issue for him. Alcoholics who drink in secret avoid parties and are almost always accompanied by strict abstainers.

  • Why can you hide the problem for so long?

Because hiding is often supported by the family. Sometimes the family knows, but is ashamed. They think to themselves, "If she has to drink, let her drink at home so that she doesn't compromise us." Everything is carefully hidden under the rug. Everyone pretends before everyone else. We fear "what people will say" and let the mother drink herself to death. There is a myth that if you don't talk about something, you don't have it. Therefore, it is essential to name the problem.

  • Where can an addicted woman go?

Help for women is everywhere. There are counseling centers, support groups - also for those who want to help an alcoholic. You can go there, listen to it, get information. It can be done by anyone, even a neighbor, when she sees what is happening. It is important not to close yourself in four walls, not to wait for someone nearby to die of alcohol.

  • Is it true that women are more difficult to heal?

Yes. First, because it is more difficult for women to motivate treatment. Second, that there are no helpers. A whole family is needed for successful therapy. When I am preparing a family intervention, it is withthe man is usually visited by several people. One with a woman. Ladies have no one to lean on. Men usually run away from alcoholics, the family is not interested in them. The only helpers are usually children or mothers.

  • Are we more lonely?

There is such a stereotype that a woman can always handle it. We are there to help, but we do not require help ourselves. Well, why should you be surprised, since modern wives are trying to replace their husbands with mothers … Besides, paradoxically, sometimes people are at hand when someone drinks.

  • Easier to manipulate?

Many husbands find it more convenient to have an alcoholic at home. When she drinks, she is a humble calf, and when she begins to heal, she suddenly stops being stupid, she wants something from life, has her opinion … A mother who heals herself is considered abnormal in many homes, they say that she was weird. Likewise in many workplaces. A woman who stops drinking may be weaker at first. In the first phase, she deals with herself, her emotions, and sometimes she is less efficient. But later, when he gets through it … he thrives and becomes a great employee. Only that is not always needed, because this person may be more critical, down-to-earth and demanding.

  • Are a drinking man and a drinking woman seen in the same way by society?

In a moral sense? Not. Women are more worried. The man is called "the poor alcoholic", the woman - "if she drank, now she has her own". That is why ladies can drink in secret for so long. They are afraid that they will be branded. Because although we have equal rights in terms of the amount and forms of drinking, unfortunately, nothing has changed morally. The disgrace of a man is still different than that of a woman.

  • Contrary to appearances, in the modern world it is not easier for women …

It's not. If you think about it all, it is women's alcoholism that shows a disorder in our identity. Women easily fall into the patterns suggested by the mass media. They adapt to imaginary patterns that, in fact, are alien to them. A certain unification of manners follows. It is more difficult for a woman to recover from addiction, because finding ourselves in this mixed world takes longer with us than with men. It's like finding your way in a dark forest. That's why … it's really worth asking for help.

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