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Do Women React To Alcohol Differently Than Men?

Alcoholism is a chemical dependency on alcohol in which key structures and functions of the brain are altered. A primary function altered by alcoholism are the pleasure and reward system, which are intimately connected. Alcohol produces a flow of dopamine, a neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are brain messaging chemicals which carry signals throughout different areas of the brain. Dopamine carries signals of pleasure and is responsible for creating the euphoric effects alcohol creates. The nucleus accumbens, where the reward center of the brain lives, is the first stop for dopamine as it makes its journey before reaching the hippocampus and the amygdala, also parts of the reward system. Alcohol, and the pleasurable sensations it causes, becomes a reward because of the interaction. This system is present in both men and women.

The reward system in alcoholic women might be different than the reward system in alcoholic men, new research has found. Published in Psychiatry Research Neuroimaging, the study found that the reward system in female alcoholics is larger than the reward system in male alcoholics. Additionally, the reward system is larger in female alcoholics compared to females who are not alcoholic. Participants in the study were in recovery. Currently abstinent from drugs and alcohol, participants had a long-term history of alcoholism.

A bright spot of the study revealed that long term abstinence from drugs and alcohol does heal the brain. Longer lengths of sobriety saw a reduction ins the size of ventricles in the brain which were filled with fluid. Specifically, there was a 1.8 percent decrease in ventricle size for each year of sobriety. Scientifically, this proves that the brain does heal through recovery from the effects of alcoholism. The brain does recover and so do the women who are in recovery.


Recovering as a Female Alcoholic

Women experience their alcoholism differently than men do. For example, women tend to become alcoholics more quickly than men. Meaning, women develop a chemical dependency on alcohol at a faster rate than men do. Additionally, women have different symptoms in their alcoholism than men, though many of the symptoms are the same. Women tend to be more anxious and emotional than men. Less alcohol is required for females to get intoxicated, according to government standards. The National Institute Of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as any kind of drinking which elevates the blood alcohol content level to 0.08 or above. Typically, for men, this is defined as 5 drinks in two hours. For women, however, this is defined as 4 drinks in 2 hours.


Villa Tranquil warmly welcomes women in recovery to a unique transitional living opportunity in Jupiter Farms, Florida. Our beautiful home is the perfect environment to continue the recovery process after the initial phase of treatment. Call us today for information on our continuing care services:  214-799-3080