(12/14/11) – During the holiday season, women are cautioned to consume alcohol responsibly. "Women often consume alcohol socially. Most individuals can moderate their drinking and never suffer negative consequences. Others are prone to addiction and may not be able to control the amount they drink, leading to the inability to control the consequences of their drinking or the cravings to drink," said Dr. Jonathan Eli-Phillips, McLeod OB/GYN Dillon. "While social drinking is accepted in our society, there is a stigma about those, especially women, who become dependent on alcohol.
"Women have special needs when it comes to treatment for alcohol addiction," continued Dr. Eli-Phillips.
"Alcohol is a mood altering drug," said Dr. Rebecca Craig, McLeod OB/GYN Dillon. "There are several unique facts about women and alcohol use. First, it takes less alcohol for a woman to become intoxicated than for most men, even if their weight is the same. Females tend to develop an addition more quickly also, due to the way their bodies process alcohol. "
Dr. Craig continues, "It has also been found that women, more frequently than men, use prescription drugs in combination with alcohol, which is a potentially fatal combination.
"Women who drink more than two drinks per day experience serious health effects, such as cirrhosis of the liver, after a shorter history of drinking than men."
Dr. Eli-Phillips cautions women about habitual drinking. "This type of alcohol consumption leads to more gynecological problems than light or moderate drinkers. Habitual drinking is also associated with infertility, miscarriages, stillbirths or low birth weights, and fetal alcohol syndrome in infants," he said.
"Talk to your doctor if feel you are developing a dependence on alcohol," said Dr. Eli-Phillips. "If you have felt that you should cut down on your drinking, felt guilty about your drinking, or have ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves, you may have or be developing a dependence on alcohol. Your doctor can help you overcome your dependency."