A few decades ago, drinking alcohol was mostly a male-related activity. Women were traditionally at home caring for the children, cooking, and cleaning. Men were at the bar drinking beer or liquor with their buddies.
As the years went on and women have become liberated from traditional gender roles, they have adopted much more than working outside of the home. With that, we mean drinking alcohol.
It’s common to see and hear women speak about how they turn to wine to cope with the busyness of life. When going out on the town, men aren’t the only ones in the bars and clubs. Women are well represented in them now and are having just as many drinks as many of the men.
What first started just being a way to show that women can do whatever men can do, women have quickly found themselves suffering from some of the same consequences - alcoholism.
Statistics on Women and Alcoholism
Surveys report women are starting to exceed men in the amount of alcohol they drink. Rates of binge drinking, alcohol use disorders, and driving under the influence of alcohol are rising for women.
● Alcohol use disorder by women has increased by 83.7% between 2002 and 2013.
● Drinking more than three alcoholic beverages has increased by 58% when compared to the amount women drank between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013.
● Alcohol-related emergency room visits have also increased for women between 2006 and 2014.
● The number of liver cirrhosis deaths, a severe consequence of overdrinking alcoholic beverages, has increased in women from 2000 to 2013.
Alcoholism isn’t just affecting adult women; girls in 10th grade are more likely to drink than boys in the same grade.
Issues with Alcoholism in Women
Society continues to focus on men when it comes to alcoholism, causing women to suffer from this disease unnoticed. It’s a serious issue because without putting the spotlight on women’s addiction, many of them end up suffering much more than men.
● They continue to live life with the effects of alcoholism, putting themselves, and their children at risk.
● The stigma continues because “women aren’t supposed to be "alcoholics,” so they are less likely to seek help.
● Women end up in broken marriages and relationships because they fail to see their drinking is causing problems.
● Children begin drinking earlier, especially girls, because they see their mom drinking alcohol and don’t see it as an issue.
Bringing alcoholism in women to light will help stop the emerging problems across the country.
Crimes Committed by Women Who Drink
The stereotype is that men are more likely to commit crimes because of being under the influence, but women also engage in criminal activities when intoxicated.
When women drink, they are at an increased risk of engaging in risky behaviors, especially criminal ones. They are more likely to become involved in:
● Sexual assault
● Aggravated assault
● Intimate partner violence
● Child abuse
Surveys of women offenders show that most of them had been drinking before or during the criminal activity, suggesting the use of alcohol was used to decrease inhibitions. Alcohol abuse affects decision-making skills, which can influence the motivation to commit crimes.
Along with the increased rates of alcohol abuse among women, crime rates among the gender are also rising. The need for women to be treated for alcoholism is imperative in decreasing crimes committed by them.
Women-Related Medical Consequences of Alcoholism
Women can suffer from many alcohol-related health problems that men wouldn’t experience.
Women who consume large amounts of alcohol are more at risk of developing breast cancer.
● 9 out of 100 women who drink heavily have breast cancer.
● 10 out of 100 women who drink two alcoholic beverages per day receive a breast cancer diagnosis.
● 13 out of 100 women who consume six or more alcoholic beverages a day suffers from breast cancer.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Women who are pregnant and drink alcohol significantly increase the risk of their baby being born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Babies with FASD may suffer from:
● Smaller head size
● Abnormal facial features
● Vision and/or hearing programs
● Bodyweight issues
● Learning disabilities
● Memory, focus, and coordination issues
● Speech and language impediments
● Lower IQ and intelligence
● Problems with vital organs
Other Women-Related Medical Concerns Due to Alcoholism
● Heart disease
● Mental illness
● Liver disease
● Alcoholic hepatitis
● Other forms of cancer
Increased risk of secondary medical concerns such as traumatic injuries from falling, accidents from drinking and driving, etc. can also be a consequence of alcohol abuse.
How to Help Alcoholism in Women
Women can suffer from alcoholism. They can suffer from the effects of drinking too much too often. It is not normal to cope with wine, beer, or a cocktail. Women need to be aware of all these statements, so they know when they should reach out for help.
Reaching out for help doesn’t mean she should be thought less of because “only men are alcoholics.” Alcoholism is a disease that does not discriminate based on sex, ethnicity, culture, etc. It is a disease that needs to be treated with medical and mental health professionals. It is nothing to be ashamed of, so it’s not anything that needs to be hidden.
If you’re a woman suffering from alcoholism or you know someone who is, understand that this is something many women are dealing with, and there is help for it. Alcoholism is not a life sentence. Alcohol addiction treatment centers can help women understand the reasons they started to drink and learn how to stop using alcohol to cope with life’s stressors.
Alcoholism doesn’t go away on its own - for men or women. Dealing with the problem by treating it is the only way to stop the issues that have arisen from drinking. Seek help now for your alcoholism, so you can start living a life that isn’t controlled by wine, beer, and liquor.