8 Ways Alcohol Affects Men and Women Differently

August 12, 2022 | Alcohol , Alcohol Detox

8 Ways Alcohol Affects Men and Women Differently

Does Alcohol Affect Men and Women Differently?

Yes, the physical composition of a woman’s body is different from that of a man’s and this translates into processes such as hormone regulation, development, problem solving, muscle growth, and definitely applies to how each group processes alcohol

On the physical side, the metabolic process after drinking alcohol is notably different from men to women. These factors are in part based on stereotypes about each group like the fact that women are generally smaller than men, so a larger woman and a smaller man may have closer metabolic responses, but others are gender specific regardless of physical characteristics. 

The same applies to the mental response of women versus men to alcohol, where men are more likely to respond to confrontation physically while under the influence of alcohol than women while women who drink are more likely to experience trauma. However, It is difficult to distinguish which of these factors are biologically or socially determined, or a combination of both. 

Call Daybreak Treatment Solutions today at (844) 695-0083 for help in overcoming your addiction.

How Men and Women Metabolize Alcohol

Between men and women of similar body weight, women contain less body water so they end up with a higher concentration of alcohol in the blood even if they drink the same amount as the man. Despite this surplus, studies have shown that women are consistently able to eliminate alcohol from their blood faster than men. 

This phenomenon is credited towards the fact that women possess a higher liver volume per unit of lean body mass than men, and the liver metabolizes almost all alcohol that is consumed. 

Health Effects of Alcohol in Men and Women

These statements are the results of research conducted of both physical and mental health factors related to alcohol use. 

Men: Take longer/need to consume more alcohol to develop liver diseaseWomen: Develop liver disease quicker with less alcohol consumed
Less likely to develop alcoholic hepatitis and die from cirrhosisMore likely to develop alcoholic hepatitis and die from cirrhosis
Less vulnerable than women to alcohol-induced brain damageMore vulnerable than men to alcohol-induced brain damage
Are susceptible to impact on metabolic energy utilization when comparing alcoholic to non-alcoholic menShowed no change in metabolic energy utilization when comparing alcoholic to non-alcoholic women
Less likely to experience violent victimization with alcohol useMore likely to experience violent victimization with alcohol use
More likely to drive after drinkingLess likely to drive after drinking
Less likely to suffer loss of life in drunk driving traffic crashes More likely to die in a drunk driving accident
Higher tendency towards risk takingLower tendency towards risk taking

Who is More at Risk of Developing Alcoholism: Men or Women?

The studies into the effects of alcohol on women versus men have consistently reported that although women exercise more restraint when it comes to alcohol consumption and engage in less risky behavior, female alcoholics end up suffering more often from alcoholism-associated bodily damage like heart disease, breast cancer. 

Perhaps it is because of the male ability to withstand the negative health effects of alcohol that alcoholism is more than twice as common in men than in women. When it comes to risk of abusing or becoming dependent on alcohol, men also outnumber women. 

Conversely, while men suffer a higher rate of alcoholism and are more likely to engage in excessive drinking, research suggests that a higher percentage of women engage in binge drinking. 

Benefits of Gender Specific Addiction Support Groups

The problems faced by men and women in relation to alcohol abuse and alcoholism are not the same. Therefore, when considering the approach to treatment, support groups that cater to each gender can be beneficial in aiding the recovery process as members can better relate and offer support to their peer group. 

The way alcohol affects women is more severe than men both from a medical and social standpoint. The kind of support and guidance that female alcoholics will need to receive in treatment for alcohol use disorder will need to reflect these negative impacts. 

A woman consuming the same drinks per day as a man of similar size for 15 years will most likely be suffering from liver damage, brain damage, and other serious health issues while the man is likely to not yet be in the even the beginning stages of these illnesses. 

Throughout this period of drinking, a woman has a higher chance of experiencing intimate partner violence and also an increased risk of being sexually abused during this time, which is not typically true for men.

That is not to say that men do not suffer. The instance of alcoholism in men has become a major public health issue, according to the National Institute on Alcohol. Men have a much lower rate of recovery from alcoholism than women do and the mental health stigma surrounding the culture of toxic masculinity is exacerbating the issue at concerning rates. Gender specific alcoholism support groups can benefit men the most as it helps break down the necessary mental and emotional barriers to get men to accept help. 

If you or someone you care about needs help to stop drinking, the alcohol treatment program at DayBreak West Palm Beach features high-quality alcoholism treatment developed by evidence based therapy options and holistic approaches to addiction recovery. Alcohol addiction is associated with high relapse rates, so we feature a strong relapse prevention component in our alcoholism treatment programs. Our facilities feature both inpatient and outpatient programs, along with sober living housing to facilitate a safe, supportive, and alcohol-free transition back to their everyday lives. 


At DayBreak, we value the individual stories and circumstances that our patients have encountered throughout your alcohol addiction. That is why we focus on creating an addiction treatment program that is centered around your specific needs for healing. We offer a comprehensive approach to treatment that incorporates behavioral therapy, dual diagnosis treatment, medication assisted treatment, holistic treatments, recreation therapy, family therapy, and music or art therapy. Healing from alcohol addiction requires focusing on healing and strengthening your physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental health. Contact DayBreak to learn more about the individualized treatment programs that are created for West Palm Beach residents that will propel you into the life of sober living that you have been wanting.