Men and Alcohol Addiction
From social drinking to alcohol abuse to full blown alcoholism, men are at risk when they drink. Gender studies reveal that men are more prone to binge drinking and drinking more excessively than women. Men also become more physically aggressive than women when they drink excessively and are more likely to become violent or commit sexual assault. They also tend to engage in unprotected sexual activities leading to sexually transmitted diseases (STD).
Sadly, in addition to the above-mentioned issues, men are more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts when drunk and commit suicide more often than women. They are also huge risk takers and will exhibit more dangerous behavior when drunk. As a result of this, men are twice as likely as women to be injured or die in vehicular crashes. Alcohol also increases the chances of men getting cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver and colon. The long-term effects of alcohol abuse range from high blood pressure to heart, liver and bone disease, stroke, memory and learning problems, dementia and type 2 diabetes. Statistics reveal that between the years 2006-2010, approximately 88,000 people in the U.S. died from some type of alcohol related use. Those lives are estimated to have been shortened by about 30 years. Research shows that every 1 in 10 deaths are alcohol related and occur among adults aged 20 to 64 years old.
Male Risk Factors
The risk factors leading to alcohol dependence among men are many and include the following:
- history of family alcoholism
- Coping with stress and emotional triggers
- Social and cultural male role expectations
- Mental disorders
- Family or spousal problems
- Work-related problems
- Legal or money problems
Men will often drink more when bonding socially with other male friends or family who also drink. They also feel the pressure to drink socially at business lunches or other business related events. Research has shown that men will often drink when they are angry and feel the need to suppress the overwhelming emotions of anger, or suppress feelings of sadness and worry. Part of rehabilitation treatment for men should include anger management classes and learning coping techniques for handling emotional triggers such as stress, worry, sadness etc. While the effects of drunkenness will ease the discomfort of emotional triggers, men often feel worse the next day. The “next day mood meter” will reveal that their problems have not really diminished and instead they are adding a new problem of drinking to their cache.
Some of the symptoms of alcohol addiction include cravings, a strong need to drink, and the inability to stop drinking once someone has started. The alcoholic will experience withdrawal symptoms if they are unable to drink. Withdrawal symptoms include sweating, nausea, shaking and needing a higher amount of alcohol to get high and ease the symptoms.
Recovery from alcoholism can be a long and difficult journey but it can be accomplished. The addict should first admit to the problem and commit to stop drinking. Recovery can be a gradual process of transforming drinking habits, like committing one or two days per week not to drink. More days can be added to stop drinking as the person continues progressing.
Medical intervention can help with cravings and withdrawal symptoms. After weighing and recording the pros and cons that alcohol has on physical and mental health, relationships, employment and money, the addict can see clearly the goal to succeed. Support from friends and family to help remove all temptations and triggers from the addict’s life are vital to his recovery. Behavior modification therapy should prove helpful in coping with the stresses of life and emotional triggers. An experienced physician or rehabilitation facility can also provide the support system that the recovering alcoholic needs to get well.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.