How Does Alcohol Affect Men and Women Differently?

We might be all equal in the eyes of society, but alcohol can be discriminatory when it comes to affecting both women and men in the same way. 

Alcohol affects men and women quite differently, but how exactly?

Let me explain.

Physical Differences Between Men and Women

One of the primary distinctions between how alcohol affects men and women is how alcohol is metabolized in their bodies. Men and women have different physiologies which is why alcohol tends to produce different effects on them.

Men tend to have a higher water percentage in their bodies when compared to the other sex, which has a significant effect on how alcohol dilutes their system. On the other hand, women tend to have more body fat than men, which affects the way their bodies retain alcohol.

This biological difference could lead to more alcohol retention for women and in turn longer lasting hangovers. 

It also means that women can become more intoxicated than men after consuming the same amount of alcohol. Women can also experience the immediate effects of alcohol more quickly than men.

Alcohol Abuse and Physical Health

Metabolic changes in both sexes can also produce different types of health risks for both men and women. The most obvious is the impact that alcohol consumption can have on the women’s reproductive system.

Women who drink heavily during pregnancy are at risk of fetal alcohol syndrome—a serious developmental condition that can create problems in children that include intellectual disabilities and facial abnormalities. 

Fetal alcohol syndrome can be prevented in its entirety if a woman does not drink during pregnancy. 

Drinking during pregnancy also increases the risk of having a miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, and sudden infant death syndrome.

But there are also adverse effects when it comes to other areas of their sexual health. For men, alcohol abuse could lead to erectile dysfunction. While women may suffer from decreased libido.

Psychological Differences Between Men and Women

There are also significant psychological differences when it comes to how alcohol affects men and women.


When it comes to men, data shows that they are more likely to engage in risky behaviors while they are intoxicated. On the other hand, women are more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol. 

A study shows that a total of 18% of women binge drink. Out of those, it’s believed that at least 25% of them binge drink on a weekly average.

Because binge drinking is a risk factor for sexual assault, women are more likely to experience sexual trauma due to alcohol consumption. Although both genders are equally vulnerable. 

Differences in Treatment

Alcohol affects men and women differently and when it comes to treatment there are also disparities between both genres that can make it difficult to recover.

For example, women might experience a number of challenges when it comes to treatment such as leaving behind family responsibilities, having financial or transport limitations, and suffering from stigma.

Stigmas and social challenges are huge deterrents for women as they tend to lack the social support needed to take steps toward recovery.

It’s primarily for these reasons that women are less likely to receive adequate alcohol abuse treatment. In fact, women only make up about one-third of rehab patients.

Seeking Treatment

Given that alcohol affects men and women differently and that they require different care and attention during treatment it’s important to find a treatment center that can attend to the specific needs of each gender.

At Elysium Healthcare we do just that. Our team of experts is trained to cater to the specific needs of each gender. Our diverse treatment modalities include holistic and bespoke practices for all of our patients.Contact us today and find out how we can help.

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