The Rise of Alcoholism among Women in the USA

Today, Americans are more likely to be heavy drinkers and binge drinkers than in recent years due in large part to rising rates of drinking among women, according to a new analysis of county-level drinking patterns in the United States. Heavy drinking among Americans has increased sharply, up 17.2% since 2005. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines heavy drinking as exceeding an average of one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men over the past month. We are also seeing profound cultural shift: Women in America are drinking far more, and far more often than their mothers or grandmothers did, and alcohol consumption is killing them in record numbers. The link between excessive alcohol consumption and health problems has been well proven but is not taken seriously. Drinking too much can cause liver damage, heart disease and elevate the risk for some cancers.

Women’s drinking has increased for a number of reasons. Those who have succeeded in obtaining jobs that were once dominated typically by men have joined or found it necessary to become part of the after-work drinking culture. The Office for National Statistics figures from 2011 show that women in management and professional jobs drink more than the average woman and drink more on weekdays. “Since the 1950's we’ve seen women’s drinking continue to rise,” said Emily Robinson, director of campaigns at Alcohol Concern. “Drinking at home has continued to increase and because alcohol is so cheap and easily available it’s become an everyday grocery item. We’ve also seen a concerted effort from the alcohol industry to market products and brands such as wine specifically to women.¨Jean Kilbourne, an author and filmmaker who writes and lectures about how advertising encourages addictive behavior in women, says that “the rise in hazardous drinking among women is not all due to the ads. But the ads have played a role in creating a cultural climate that says it’s funny when women drink heavily.” She adds, “they’ve played a role in normalizing” unhealthy forms of drinking.

From wine campaigns such as ¨Mommy´s timeout¨ to the ¨Mad housewife¨. A few glasses of wine and maybe a cocktail or two, its all being advertised as a way to cope with the challenges of being a modern day woman.

Women, alcohol, and cancer

One recent study concluded that even moderate drinking among women defined as no more than two drinks a day was correlated with higher cancer rates. Jennie Conner, the study’s author, noted that the increased risk was greatest in seven locations where human cells come in direct contact with alcohol.

“If all drinkers limited themselves to a single drink a day, we probably wouldn’t need as many cardiologists, liver specialists, mental health professionals and substance abuse counselors.”

Tips for healthy drinking:

  • Health experts recommend limiting consumption to no more than one drink per hour.
  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach.
  • Sip water and non-alcoholic beverages in between or along with your drinks.
  • Don’t drink every day. That way your liver can rest.
  • Set a limit and stick with it.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with drinking, don´t hesitate to ask for advice or help! It´s never too late and there is never a dumb question to ask. Call Ridgeview Ranch today at (877) 526–7706 to speak with one of our addiction specialists for a free consultation. For additional information regarding our detox, outpatient and inpatient (30, 60, & 90 day) treatment programs, please visit www.ridgeviewranch.com. We accept all major PPO insurances and have financing programs to fit your needs. We are here to help you!

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