Alcohol tends to take center stage in social settings, and the fact that it's legal makes alcohol highly accessible and socially accepted.
But alcoholism is on the rise in Ohio and nationwide, and the demographic that seems to be the most affected by it these days is women. Below the surface lies a serious problem that's causing an increasing number of women to become alcoholics, and it's even killing them.
According to a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry, more Americans are consuming alcohol to the point that it's dangerous, and women seem to be contributing a great deal to this finding. Given the fact that drinking in excess is associated with several chronic diseases, the study's findings point to the potential of a real public health crisis, according to study researchers.
Why Are Women Drinking More These Days?
It's not hard to come across advertisements for alcohol that focus on women as the target audience. Regardless of how women drinking in these ads are depicted, the message that it's OK to drink alcohol—even in excess—is still being driven home.
There could be a number of reasons why women are drinking more. One theory that's been suggested is that more women are in the workforce compared to the numbers from decades earlier. They've got their own money to spend and are more liberated in the social scene, and with an independent income and the elimination of gender roles comes the freedom and even the desire to drink while they socialize.
But perhaps work is doing much more to contribute to higher rates of drinking among women than just the extra money and feminist movement. It seems just as likely that work is contributing to a greater deal of stress among women, who may then reach for a glass of wine or something even harder after a stressful day at work.
And when the responsibilities of home life are thrown into the mix—such as tending to the kids and maintaining operation of the household—the desire to self-medicate against stress with alcohol becomes even more likely.
Women are also more likely to begin drinking in excess in college, and often in high school. When women are constantly being bombarded with messages that it's perfectly fine to reach for the bottle in order to relax and deal with life's stressors, the idea that problems with alcohol consumption would rise seems less surprising.
How Much Are Women Drinking?
According to the study, overall drinking increased by 11% between 2002 and 2013. But high-risk drinking increased much more significantly. The study found that high-risk drinking increased by 29.9% among all demographics, but among women, that number was approximately 58%. In this study, high-risk drinking referred to the consumption of four or more alcoholic beverages per day.
Problems with drinking are just as serious, which has increased almost 50% across all demographics, but as much as 83.7% in women. And these numbers are far worse for older women.
How Does Alcohol Affect Women Differently Than Men?
Men have historically been more likely to be problem drinkers, but the gap is quickly closing. And the effects that alcohol has on the body of a woman differs from that of a man's. Women can get drunk faster and also process alcohol in their bodies differently.
The female body has proportionately less water and more fat compared to a man's body. Since water dilutes alcohol and fat absorbs it, the organs in women's bodies are more vulnerable to larger amounts of alcohol. This problem is exacerbated as women age because their bodies have even less water.
In addition, women have less of an enzyme known as "alcohol dehydrogenase," which metabolizes alcohol before it's able to reach the bloodstream. As such, women's blood levels of alcohol will be higher compared to a man's after consuming the same amount of alcohol.
Seeking Treatment For Alcohol Use Disorder in Ohio Drug Rehab
Anyone who suffers from alcohol addiction should absolutely seek out professional help in order to overcome their dependence. In an effective Ohio drug rehab facility, alcoholics can receive the appropriate treatment to help their bodies safely detox while benefiting from counseling, group therapy, and educational sessions to teach them how to cope with life's stressors in the absence of alcohol.
If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol use disorder, call us at 844.244.6108 to get help today.