Alcoholism used to be considered a “man problem,” but the number of female drinkers has steadily increased over the last decade. The gender gap between men and women drinking is shrinking all the time. There is a cultural stigma toward women drinking vs. male drinking and women tend to keep it more hidden.
The National Institute of Alcoholism and Abuse (NIAAA) states that about 5.3 million women in the United States drink alcohol in a way that threatens their health and safety. There are unique risks to women drinking, such as:
● increased risk of breast cancer
● increased risk of sexual assault
● damage to an unborn baby
Women who have one drink on an empty stomach have a blood alcohol level content high enough to more than double risk of a fatal car accident. That’s it, one drink.
Emotions and Alcohol
Women are more comfortable being emotional and thinking about those feelings than men are, generally speaking. Usually, this is considered an excellent skill to have, but not when it makes women more likely to seek out a way to cope. The way to handle strong emotions is not through alcohol, but many women choose to do it that way.
Women are more likely to drink if they have:
● a history of depression
● a history of abuse
● a high tolerance level
● a family member who has struggled with addiction
Part of this is apparently due to the idea of a “wine-mom” that has percolated through popular culture. Google that phrase, and you’ll get hits for memes, t-shirts, funny stories and the like. But female alcoholism is no joke and is at an all-time high in young moms.
The idea behind this is that women need “something” to help them deal with their high-stress lives dealing with demanding children and over needy husbands. Herein lays the issue: self-medication.
Popular culture usually pictures such “moms” with a drink in hand. There’s the Sunday Brunch Mimosas, the cool aunt with vodka on hand. This provides a standard for the “fun loving” women enjoying her alcohol. This sets an expectation that no one seems to question.
It is often presented that it’s okay for women to have a vice. They have so much to handle with their misbehaved kids and a lazy husband. They deserve some fun, right? Women are being sold that alcohol consumption is glamorous when in reality, it’s an ongoing crisis.
Watch a video to know more about hidden alcohol problems in women.