A cultural push toward drinking wine to de-stress from work and parenting may be contributing to more cases of alcoholism among women.
In 2017, a study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that women’s alcohol dependence and misuse increased 83 percent between 2002 and 2013. According to data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 5.3 million American women had an alcohol use disorder in 2015. Drinking more than three drinks in a single day or more than seven drinks per week is considered risky drinking that could lead to an alcohol use disorder.
Here are some of the most significant contributing factors for the rising numbers of women with alcohol use disorders.
1. The “Wine Mom” Culture
It has become common to see references on social media, television and other cultural venues depicting moms and women drinking wine to unwind from a hard day. For some women, having several drinks a day can become a habit. They can become dependent on the relaxing effect of the alcohol even though they are drinking more than guidelines suggest is healthy. Many women also report that wine also becomes an essential part of their get-togethers with other women, pushing their weekly drink count even higher.
2. Greater Societal Acceptance of Female Drinking
Where previous generations seem to have looked down on women who drank heavily, much of that stigma has now disappeared. Women are generally regarded as having the right and ability to do the same activities that men do, and drinking appears to be one of those things. One major drawback is that drinking disproportionately affects women, from greater levels of intoxication due to smaller body size to higher rates of cancers and co-occurring mental health disorders than their male counterparts.
Finding alternatives to drinking alcohol, such as drinking tea, can go a long way toward healthier habits.
3. Longer Workweeks and More Career Stress
The American family’s workweek grew by about 11 hours between 1979 and 2006, which may have added stress to working women’s lifestyles, for which they may have used alcohol to cope. In addition, many men may still lag in taking equal responsibility for childcare. It is easy to turn to alcohol as a coping tool and stress reliever, but this habit can lead to an alcohol use disorder.
4. Increased Rates of Binge Drinking Among Young Women
Younger women ages 18 to 30 are drinking more than ever before. A full 25 percent of people (men and women) in this age group meet the criteria for alcohol addiction, according to a 2017 JAMA study. Women showed a larger increase in high-risk drinking (including binge drinking) in the study than men, which supports other studies showing a rise in women with alcohol use disorders.
Although more women may be drinking heavily, women are also more likely than men to seek treatment when they find themselves dependent on alcohol. If you need gender-specific treatment to overcome an alcohol use disorder, contact The Recovery at Village Palmer Lake today to learn how we can help.