It has been long-since proven that men are more likely than women to drink excessively, with roughly 4.5 percent of all men nationwide meeting the criteria for alcohol dependency within the past year (as compared to 2.5 percent of women). Additionally, men are significantly more inclined to take related risks while under the influence, such as driving while intoxicated or beginning physical altercations. This element of risk taking, when combined with excessive alcohol consumption, largely increases the probability of injury or death. In fact, men are over twice as likely to experience alcohol-related hospitalizations or death than women. Overall, men are more susceptible to suffering severe consequences as a result of their drinking. Despite this fact, the vast majority of men who attend addiction treatment do so as they were required by the court of law – it is far less common for men to commit themselves to alcohol rehab on their own volition.
Alcoholism in Men
Why are men twice as likely to become alcoholics, and significantly less likely to seek professional help? Researchers from Yale and Columbia universities conducted a study in 2010 which explored the underlying biology of how alcohol consumption affects the human brain. They found that men received a much stronger rush of euphoria-inducing dopamine when consuming several alcoholic beverages before a night out – women also experienced a release of dopamine, but typically to a much slighter degree. Increased dopamine release in men is one theory as to why men have a greater tendency to develop a physical and mental dependency on alcohol after a short period of time. The study also concluded that over time, with repeated episodes of heavy drinking, there was a major decline in alcohol-induced dopamine release in male subjects. This continuous decrease could potentially provoke men to drink greater and greater amounts over time, subconsciously attempting to achieve the same effects they initially experienced.
Why Do Men Drink More?
There are several other reasons as to why men tend to consume a greater amount of alcohol than their female counterparts. Because men are built differently than women, they are able to imbibe more excessively than women without reaping the same immediate consequences. The total body weight of a male is composed of between 55 and 65 percent water, while the total body weight of a female is typically between 45 and 55 percent water. Therefore, alcohol becomes more diluted in the male system, allow men to physically consume a greater amount.
Men also metabolize alcohol more quickly than women, due to the prevalence of an enzyme known as gastric alcohol dyhydrogenase. This enzyme breaks alcohol down in the stomach, before it travels further through the system and affects BAC (blood-alcohol content). Additionally, the previously mentioned element of risk-taking leads men to drink greater amounts over shorter periods of time. Binge drinking is characterized by the consumption of 5 or more alcoholic beverages over the course of two hours – and men are more than twice as likely to engage in binge drinking patterns than women. Men drink more, plain and simple. And because of that, they are more likely to suffer related consequences.
Men and Alcohol Rehab
Nearly 62,000 men die from alcohol-related causes every year. While nearly 5 percent of the national male population meets the criteria for alcohol dependence, only about 10 percent of this proportion will receive the professional treatment they both need and deserve. We at Next Chapter have developed a highly individualized and comprehensive program of recovery for men struggling with any degree of alcohol abuse disorder. We sincerely believe that no matter how far down the scale any one man has gone, recovery remains an absolute possibility. For more information on men and alcoholism, or on our specific program of alcohol recovery, please feel free to contact us today.