Men crave alcohol more than women

May 12th, 2008 - 11:35 am ICT by admin  

Washington, May 12 (IANS) Here’s adding yet another strand to the Mars versus Venus debate. A new study has found that, when upset, men are more likely than women to crave alcohol. Researchers exposed 54 healthy adult social drinkers (27 women, 27 men) to three types of imagery scripts - stressful, alcohol-related and relaxing - in separate sessions, on separate days and in random order.

Researchers then assessed the participants’ subjective emotions, behavioural and bodily responses, heart rate, blood pressure, and self-reported alcohol craving.

“After listening to the stressful story, women reported more sadness and anxiety than men,” said Tara M. Chaplin of Yale University, who conducted the study. “As well as greater behavioural arousal.”

But for the men emotional arousal was linked to increases in alcohol craving. In other words, when men are upset, they are more likely to want alcohol.

These findings - in addition to the fact that the men drank more than the women on average - meant that the men had more experience with alcohol, perhaps leading them to turn to alcohol as a way of coping with distress, added Chaplin.

Men’s tendency to crave alcohol when upset may be a learned behaviour or may be related to known gender differences in reward pathways in the brain,” she said. “And this tendency may contribute to risk for alcohol-use disorders.”

Findings of the study are slated for publication in the forthcoming issue of Alcoholism. They are also available at OnlineEarly.

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