Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Women’s Health

Women are drinking more alcohol and experiencing serious health issues from alcohol consumption at unprecedented—and alarming—rates. And while excessive drinking can cause problems for anyone, statistics show that women who drink have a higher risk for certain alcohol-related issues than their male counterparts. It’s important to understand the unique impact alcohol has on women and what the best course of treatment is for women with an alcohol use disorder . The results in the chart show the increased risk of developing alcohol dependency for someone with a given mental health disorder . For example, a value of 3.6 for bipolar disorder indicates that illicit drug dependency became more than three time more likely in individuals with bipolar disorder than those without. The risk of an alcohol use disorder is highest in individuals with intermittent explosive disorder, dysthymia, ODD, bipolar disorder and social phobia. One of the major points of concern is the increase in excessive alcohol consumption by adolescent girls.

  • All you need to do is look for broken capillaries on the nose and face.
  • And just as women metabolize alcohol differently than men, they also face more serious health consequences, research shows.
  • Show that an alcoholic’s brain activity at cognitive control regions is different than the activity in normal individuals.
  • Per day,twenty-nineindividuals die from motor vehicle accidents involving a driver impaired by alcohol.
  • Women may also face challenges in acknowledging and admitting a drinking problem and in accessing help when they need it.

It’s critical to address and break through stigma, because it can make women less likely to admit they have a problem, thereby preventing them from seeking help (Copeland, 1997; Kulesza et al., 2013). Alcoholism, or addiction to alcohol, is an increasing problem for women. In general, women are more prone to alcoholism compared to men based on their body compositions.

Alcohol Abuse Statistics by Race and Ethnicity

Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Public Health . Every day, 44 Americans die from overdoses involving prescription opioids. Learn how we are continuing our mission to be a force of hope and healing, and what we are doing on the front lines to help families and communities affected by opioid addiction. Kaiser Health News is a national, editorially independent newsroom and program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. Cooper plans to return to school this fall for a master’s degree in social work, with the goal of working to change those gender disparities in the field.

women and alcoholism statistics

Alcohol consumption was more acceptable for women once they started working, but the stereotypes concerning what women could and could not do have changed. Signs of alcoholism in women differ from the signs of alcoholism in men. Many studies have tried to uncover how alcohol affects women differently.

Alcohol Use in the United States

Look into CheckUp & Choices, an online program that can help you assess your drinking and—if you’re interested—develop skills to scale back. “Our studies have shown that with a few simple tools, you can reduce consumption by about 50 percent,” said Reid Hester, PhD, director of research at the organization. The checkup alone costs $34, and the full program is $79 for three months, with a money-back guarantee. “Being able to drink more indicates you’ve developed a tolerance,” Wilsnack explained. That’s worth noting because escalating use raises the risk of liver damage. You’ll also want to pay attention to your ability to stop drinking. “If you find it uncomfortable to give up alcohol temporarily—or you really can’t do it—that’s a red flag,” Wilsnack added.

“I just am aware of it very much like I would be aware of spending habits or my cardio exercise.” Today’s women stay single longer and focus on their careers. Socialization often revolves around food and drink, and many women spend more time with friends or co-workers, which can lead to a higher likelihood of drinking.

Physical Signs of Liver Damage

Women are more at risk for developing a drinking problem later in life. They are also at greater risk for alcohol-related health problems as they get older due their physiology. Younger women (aged 18-34) have higher rates of drinking-related problems than older women do, but the rates of alcohol dependence are greater among middle-aged women (aged 35-49). Women with children under age 18 had higher rates of clinically significant anxiety, compared to men with children under age 18 and to women with no minor children. Women are more likely to shoulder the burden of household tasks, caregiving, and child-rearing than men.

women and alcoholism statistics

SEXUAL HEALTHCARE Sexual health services should be offered to women to address unique health risks, as part of normal comprehensive physical exams provided to patients. These services may include attention towards family planning, protection and sexually transmitted diseases, and fluctuating hormonal levels. GENDER INEQUALITIES Women are more likely to experience economic barriers to treatment. Pay gaps, lower wages, less income, or the higher likelihood of women living in poverty prior to substance use https://ecosoberhouse.com/ disorder onset, can limit the financial resources available to seek services and treatment. Substance use disorder in women progresses at a faster rate than men, and are more susceptible to craving and relapse. Physiological differences accelerate the progression of addiction, as women metabolize alcohol and drugs differently. Fewer stomach enzymes and more fatty tissue slow down the processing of alcohol and other drugs, causing the body to be exposed to higher concentrations of the substance longer.

All our interactive charts on Alcohol Consumption

The health effects of alcohol are worse than a hangover. Women have increased their consumption of alcohol during the coronavirus pandemic, data shows. Alcohol affects women differently than men, both in the short-term and long-term.

“The first step is to talk to your primary healthcare provider to assess whether you’re struggling with alcohol addiction or whether you can curb your usage with small lifestyle changes,” Dr. Bulat says. “There are medications available to help you break the habit.” Community resources such as alcoholics anonymous may be helpful, too.

In general, for both men and women, chronic drinking carries with it an increased risk of long-term detrimental health effects. The survey also asked what sources of support women would seek out if they had an alcohol or drug problem; each participant was asked to select all sources that applied to her. Figure 2A shows the percentage who strongly agreed with the source of help when it appeared as a statement (e.g., “I would seek help from a health care provider”). These data suggest that women would seek a variety of sources for women and alcoholism help and are consistent with results of past studies, which show that many women with alcohol and drug issues seek help in mental health or primary care settings . Women reported being just as likely if not more likely to seek addiction treatment in mental health settings (29%) or general health care settings (29%) than in addiction treatment settings (23%). Importantly, only 8% of the women who completed the survey strongly agreed with the statement that they would not seek help and hope the problem goes away on its own.

They’re at greater risk for hangovers, blackouts, liver disease, alcohol-induced cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers. One study found alcohol-related visits to the emergency room from 2006 to 2014 increased 70% for women, compared with 58% for men. Another paper reported that the rate of alcohol-related cirrhosis from 2009 to 2015 rose 50% for women, compared with 30% for men. Research shows women suffer health consequences of alcohol — liver disease, heart disease and cancer — more quickly than men and even with lower levels of consumption. Some studies have suggested that it’s more common for women struggling with alcoholism to experience “increased psychiatric comorbidity,” which means that they have both an addiction and a mental health condition . News, the serious health consequences of alcoholism in women was discussed.

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We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers. Our physical and mental health is suffering because of drinking. We have to address the reality of excessive alcohol consumption by women, and more women need to speak out about it — and seek help. Alcoholism has devastating effects on a person’s health and personal life, no matter what sex they are. Studies show, however, that the risk factors that lead to alcoholism and the consequences of alcohol abuse differ among men and women.