Women with alcohol dependency tend to believe more than men the problem will take care of itself

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Article ID: 708813
Released: 27-Feb-2019 2:40 PM EST
Source Newsroom: University of Iowa

Newswise — A new study from the University of Iowa finds that women are less likely to get help for a drinking problem and are more likely to believe the problem will get better on its own.

The study, which digs deep into the differences in the way men and women handle excessive alcohol consumption, suggests that different strategies for dealing with the problem should be developed for men and women.

“We should ask ourselves, ‘How can we tailor services for women? How can we improve problem recognition? What messages will encourage women who have drinking problems to get help?’” says Paul Gilbert, assistant professor of community and behavioral health in the UI College of Public Health and the study’s lead author.

The survey confirmed the results of past studies, which found that the majority of adults with alcohol-use disorders do not seek help from specialty clinics or community-based groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. The survey also confirmed that women are less likely to utilize these alcohol services than men. But Gilbert says the survey-data analysis is the first to examine differences in specific reasons why adults don’t look for help.

He says that a similar number of men and women cite embarrassment as their top reason for not seeking help, or a belief that they should be strong enough to stop drinking on their own.

But he also found stark gender differences. Women were much more likely than men to believe their problem will get better on its own—47 percent, compared to 23 percent for men.

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