One thing that can hurt people who go out to drink is believing that alcohol affects everyone the same. If your best friend Jim can have three drinks and be sober, you should be able to as well, right?
Unfortunately, that's not how it works. Women can be particularly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol.
Why are women more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol?
The first reason is because they obtain higher levels of alcohol in their blood faster. They become impaired more quickly as a result, even when they're drinking the same amount as male cohorts. Women may also be more prone to alcohol-related organ damage and trauma as a result of drunk-driving collisions.
The reason that women absorb alcohol much faster comes down to their metabolism. Women's metabolisms are different than men's metabolisms. They have less water in their bodies than men, which means alcohol is more concentrated in a female body. On the other hand, women also eliminate alcohol from the blood faster, according to some research.
Women are more likely to suffer from consequences from drinking alcohol such as:
- Liver damage
- Breast cancer
- Violent victimization
- Traffic collisions
- Heart disease
- Brain damage
Interestingly, women tend to drink less often than men. This could be a result of women having a lower tendency to take risks, unlike their male counterparts. Women were also found to be less likely to see drinking and driving as an acceptable behavior, reducing their likelihood of doing it themselves.
If a woman plans to drink, what can she do to stay safe?
Women who intend to imbibe should drink where they plan to stay for the night, which will prevent the consideration of drinking and driving. If they plan to drink at a bar or venue, having a designated driver or ride-share service on call is a good idea.
In most cases, violent victimization can be prevented by women staying in groups or going out with close friends. Monitoring drinking levels and slowing down and stopping intake an hour or two before leaving the venue will also reduce the likelihood of injury from alcohol use.
It is most important for people to realize that everyone metabolizes alcohol differently. If you're not sure how it will affect you, take it slowly. You can use a handheld Breathalyzer to see how quickly you're affected by alcohol, so you know your limits before you drink in public.