Alcohol Awareness Month: Effects of Alcohol on Men
For men with alcohol use disorder, a men’s alcohol rehab program can provide a safe space to heal. Learning about the effects of alcohol on men can help you decide if you or a man you care about needs to enter treatment.
Men’s Alcohol Habits
Social expectations and peer pressure may lead men to drink heavily. Compared to women, men are more likely to have frequent binge drinking episodes—defined as consuming five or more drinks within two hours. On average, men report about 12 binge-drinking episodes per year, compared with fewer than three episodes for women.
Binge drinking often raises a person’s blood alcohol content to the legal limit of 0.08, which can lead to dangerous consequences. Over time, binge drinking can affect the brain’s ability to form memories. And intoxication is always dangerous when someone gets behind the wheel.
While binge drinking is only one sign of alcoholism, it helps explain why the effects of alcohol on men can be so strong. A man who drinks faces a 17% chance of becoming dependent on alcohol during his lifetime (a woman’s chance is much smaller). And men are more likely to begin using alcohol at a younger age and in larger amounts.
How Do Alcohol Side Effects Impact Men?
Men experience many alcohol side effects that put their health at risk as a group. Alcohol consumption causes the body to release dopamine, a chemical in the brain associated with feelings of pleasure. Men’s bodies tend to release more dopamine than women’s bodies, which means men are more likely to become addicted and engage in risky behavior while drinking.
One consequence is that men are far more prone to alcohol-related injuries than women are. These injuries include motor vehicle collisions, hospitalizations, violence and aggression, and even alcohol-related deaths. Men represent almost 75% of deaths due to excessive drinking each year. And men who get into fatal traffic accidents while driving are 50% more likely than women to have a high blood alcohol content.
Long-Term Health Effects of Alcohol on Men
Men who drink heavily put themselves at risk for alcohol side effects that can permanently impact their health.
Compared to men without alcoholism, men with alcoholism have a greater chance of contracting and dying from:
- Liver disease like cirrhosis
- Mouth, throat, esophagus, and colon cancers
- Heart disease
- Prostate cancer
Alcohol use disorder can also affect men’s sexual health. Excessive drinking can lower levels of testosterone, a hormone that helps control muscle growth, sex drive, and hormones. This means alcohol side effects in men could include erectile dysfunction, impotence, infertility, low energy, and muscle loss. What’s more, most medications for erectile dysfunction are less effective in men who drink a lot of alcohol.
Other symptoms, like weight gain, depression, and loss of body hair, may emerge as testosterone levels drop.
Men’s Alcohol Rehab at Greater Boston Addiction Centers
Changing your behavior around alcohol can massively improve your health and well-being. But the first step is realizing you need help. If you recognize the symptoms of alcohol use disorder in yourself or a man you care about, it’s time to reach out and make a change.
A gender-specific program like the one offered at GBAC can help men recover and thrive after alcohol use disorder. Men-only therapy groups allow clients to open up about issues unique to their experience.
Treatment plans are individualized according to the client’s needs. Partial hospitalization programs are available, as well as daytime and evening intensive outpatient programs. Whether you’ve tried men’s alcohol rehab before or you’re pursuing recovery for the first time, GBAC will meet you where you are. Contact us at 877.920.6583 for more information.
Greater Boston Addiction Centers