Stress drives non-drinking women to drink alcohol

(ORDO NEWS) — As for men, this is typical for them only if they already have an addiction to drinking.

It is known that the fair sex is more prone to various kinds of addictions, including chemical addictions, drugs and alcohol. But not by the frequency of incidents, but by the “depth”. This means that it is more difficult for women to quit drinking, smoking or using drugs compared to men. At the same time, the rates of alcohol abuse (incidence) in men are higher.

To find out more about this, scientists from Arizona State University (USA) conducted an experiment. They asked participants of both genders (105 women and 105 men) to consume alcoholic drinks in a makeshift bar set up right in the laboratory. At the same time, both of them were exposed to different situations – both stressful and neutral. The researchers presented their findings in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors .

“Some people can safely drink one or two servings of alcohol and calm down on it. While others are unable to stop. This violation of control over the use of alcoholic beverages is one of the early signs of alcoholism. The role of stress in drinking is not well understood, especially for women, ”said first author Julie Patock-Peckham.

The participants were randomly assigned to groups: some experienced an impromptu stressful situation, others did not. After that, half of the subjects received an alcoholic drink equivalent to three cocktails, the other – non-alcoholic, but the same volume. All participants had unlimited access to alcohol from the bar for 90 minutes.

“We know that genetics and environment play a role in whether a person becomes an alcoholic or not. Nothing can be done about genetics, but external factors can be changed. We have found that stress and impaired drinking control are closely related, ”the researcher continued.

The team then measured the participants’ drinking through blood tests. As it turned out, exposure to stress led to the fact that all participants began to drink more. But men who already drank alcohol drank more than those who received the soft drink. As for women, when exposed to a stress factor, everyone began to drink: both those who had previously consumed a non-alcoholic cocktail and those who had drunk alcohol.

Thus, the researchers decided that stress alone could make a woman turn to alcohol, even if she had not been addicted to alcohol before. But this cannot be said about men. On this basis, the scientists came to the conclusion that the approach to the treatment of alcohol addiction for the fair sex should be slightly different than for the strong.


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