May 17, 2017 Felicia Durling

Male Alcoholism vs. Female Alcoholism: Are They different?

Gender SymbolsAlcoholism is not defined by gender. However, the effects of alcoholism are different for men and women.

Males and Alcoholism…

  • Twice as common among men than women
  • Higher risk for abusing alcohol
  • Higher risk for becoming chemically dependent upon alcohol
  • More negative sexual consequences than women
  • Higher likelihood to take risks increasing potential for injury or death
  • Higher rates of alcohol related death and hospitalizations
  • More likely to commit suicide
  • More likely to drink alcohol before committing suicide

Females and Alcoholism…

  • Drinking becomes problematic more quickly than in men
  • Higher risk for developing alcoholism at older ages
  • Higher risk for alcohol-related health problems
  • More physical consequences of alcoholism than men
  • Alcoholic death rates 50-100 times higher than men
  • Higher percentage of death due to alcohol
  • Higher concentration of alcohol content in bloodstream when metabolized
  • Vulnerably to more intense impairment when drinking compared to men
  • Liver disease develop more quickly than in men
  • More deaths due to cirrhosis than men
  • Higher likelihood of cancer


There is a problem with The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the infamous and world renown text guiding recovering alcoholics through the twelve step process of recovery. In the 1930s when AA was introduced, men were the public and primarily known alcoholics. It wasn’t until years later that the first female member of Alcoholics Anonymous was brought to the group. The book is written by men, for men, paying attention to women in two places, the main one being a chapter titled, “To The Wives”. The rest of the book describes alcoholism in men. Alcoholism is a universal experience. That is why, since The Big Book’s publication, millions of men and women around the world have related to it. However, men and women experience alcoholism differently. One paragraph in The Big Book describes:

“To be gravely affected, one does not necessarily have to drink a long time nor take the quantities some of us have. This is particularly true of women. Potential female alcoholics often turn into the real thing and are gone beyond recall in a few years. Certain drinkers, who would be greatly insulted if called alcoholics, are astonished at their inability to stop.”


The Center For Life Change welcomes men and women seeking a solution to the problem of alcoholism. The Center offers more than a solution, we offer healing and a new way of life. If you are concerned you might be an alcoholic, call us today at 951-775-4000.

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