The past 20 years of medical research on alcohol use have helped discern patterns of alcohol use that may contribute positively to health from patterns of alcohol use that are harmful to health and that may predispose one to the development of an alcohol use disorder (alcohol abuse or dependence). These investigations have contributed significantly to a growing appreciation that women differ from men in their health responses to alcohol. Women are more vulnerable to the harmful health effects of alcohol, with alcohol-related health problems occurring at lower levels of consumption and at a briefer duration of alcohol exposure—a phenomenon that has been called a “telescoping course” of alcohol-related harm in women. This entry briefly reviews current knowledge specific to women's patterns of drinking and ...

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