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Biological features of women's alcohol use: a review.
  • Published Date:
    1988 Nov-Dec
  • Source:
    Public Health Rep. 103(6):628-637
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-2.02 MB]


Details:
  • Personal Authors:
  • Pubmed ID:
    3141957
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMCnull
  • Description:
    Sensitivity to gender issues in the research community has generated a modest but growing amount of data on the biological effects of alcohol consumption on women. Data generally indicate that the same amounts of alcohol have greater effects on women and that women develop more severe alcohol problems than men over shorter drinking histories. Despite a number of studies, however, there are no clear differences between women and men in the impact of alcohol consumption on cognitive processes. Although the findings are mixed, the data point toward greater physiological deterioration among women as compared with men who have similar drinking histories. These differences may be related to the differences in patterns of social recognition and reaction that occur in instances of alcoholism among women. Such differences are confirmed by other data that indicate greater social isolation and general disorganization among female alcoholics than among male alcoholics. The risks of fetal alcohol syndrome that are associated with heavy alcohol consumption among women during pregnancy have been established, and a complex of other relationships between alcohol consumption and reproductive-related systems and behaviors exists. Linkages between sexual dysfunction, sexual satisfaction, and alcohol consumption appear to exist, but have not yet become clearly understood. It appears that alcohol may be used as a self-medication to cope with perceived problems of sexuality. It also appears that heavy alcohol consumption can contribute to sexual dysfunction and dissatisfaction. A growing body of sophisticated experimental research has established relationships between patterns of alcohol metabolism and phases of the menstrual cycle, with this literature offering some of the clearest indications of distinctive differences between the sexes in the biological consequences and correlates of alcohol consumption.

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