New research scheduled for publication in the January 2014 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, and summarized in a press release here, found that women seek alcohol treatment between an average of 4 to 5 years earlier than men. Prior research has suggested that women may develop serious alcohol problems needing treatment at a faster rate than men, that is, that they might experience a "telescoping" effect, wherein they progress more rapidly through various stages of the disease…of alcoholism. Anecdotally (non-scientific evidence), in the 12 Step Programs it has been noted that women progress to alcoholism at a faster rate (time frame) than men.

One of the authors of the research study stated:

*** "in a moderately large heterogeneous population of drinkers seeking treatment, a telescoping effect is observed. Women, on average, sought treatment between four to five years earlier than men; in other words, 10 years versus 15 years. Although the study does not specifically address why this is the case, it is important for primary physicians and first line health care workers to know that it takes, on average, approximately 10 years to progress from self-reported problems with alcohol to treatment for women, and approximately 15 years to progress from self reported problems with alcohol to treatment for men.

"The bottom line," said the researcher, "is that hopefully these results will raise awareness concerning the restricted time window between alcohol problems and the development of sufficient negative consequences to prompt seeking treatment among women. These findings emphasize the need for greater attention to women's issues, determining sex-specific risk factors, as well as identifying subgroups most likely to require treatment. Additionally, there must be a greater awareness of the importance of intervening when alcohol problems are first experienced. If we are able to develop appropriate interventions, we may mitigate the need for inpatient treatment for some of these women."

As always, comments are invited. Jan Edward Williams. 08/15/2013.


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