Alcoholism Mortality and Alcoholic’s White Brain Matter
October 18, 2012
A new study revealed that women who are active in their alcoholism are twice as likely to die from it than men. The study was conducted by German researchers who assessed 149 alcoholics who were diagnosed according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM provides diagnostic guidelines for addictions such as alcohol addiction and drug addiction.
The researchers followed up with the 149 subjects 14 years later and found that of 119 male alcoholics, 21 had died and of the 30 women, 7 had died. According to the study, this computes to an alcoholic mortality rate of 1.26% for men, which is double the rate of the general population, and 1.67% for women, which is four times higher than the general population. This suggests that women may be more susceptible to alcohol-related diseases like cirrhosis of the liver.
Alternatively, another study by researchers from Boston University School of Medicine, published last August, claims that women who seek alcoholism treatment recover from faster than their male counterparts. Research has linked heavy alcohol consumption with the loss of “white matter” in the brain. White matter is accountable for communication between the various parts of the brain.
The study used MRIs to look at the brains of 42 men and women who became abstinent after five or more years of active alcoholism.
The MRIs revealed that women recuperated their white matter within the first year. On the contrary, men showed limited brain recovery in the first year but began recovering their white brain matter just after a year of alcohol addiction recovery. According to one of the researchers, the MRI and study suggests “that restoration and recovery of the brain’s white matter among alcoholics occurs later in abstinence for men than for women,” and “additional research in this area can help lead to improved treatment methods that include educating both alcoholic men and women about the harmful effects of excessive drinking and the potential for recovery with sustained abstinence.”
Loss of white brain matter is a serious matter. The fact that it is possible to recover white brain matter, even if it takes a year, is a great incentive to seek alcohol addiction treatment. Sustained abstinence is possible through alcohol rehab programs designed to help you achieve lifelong recovery and abstinence from alcoholism.