Women seek help for their alcohol dependence five years earlier than men do, a new study from the University of Florida has found.
The study used information from 274 men and 257 women in substance abuse treatment programs and found women were shown to seek treatment after about 10 years of problem drinking, compared with about 15 years for men. Some similarities were also found, as both genders typically start drinking around the same age, 19 for women and 18 for men, and drinking problems begin to appear in the early 20s for both genders.
“Historically, alcoholism has been considered a ‘male disease’ due to its markedly higher prevalence among men,” study corresponding author Ben Lewis, Ph.D., a postdoctoral associate in the psychiatry department at the University of Florida, said in a statement.
Researchers said that men might not be as open to seeking help for their addiction as women because admitting they have a problem they need help with could be seen by them as a sign of weakness.