Women and Alcohol Addiction

Updated: Jun 4, 2021

In many places in the U.S., drinking alcohol is ingrained in the culture. Drinking is celebrated and many of us do it whether we’re celebrating a special occasion or simply celebrating the end of a long day. We can hardly spend ten minutes on Pinterest without encountering a recipe for a cocktail or scroll through our Facebook feed without someone referencing that it’s “wine o’clock.” Alcohol is usually on the dinner menu when we dine out and always in the grocery aisle where we steer our carts each week.

As women, we may experience a complex relationship with alcohol. For one, we can drink the same amount as men, but our bodies are more vulnerable to its effects, particularly because women have less water in their bodies than men do. Consequently, women often experience alcohol-related problems earlier than men do. While both men and women face similar triggers to use and abuse alcohol, women may find ending a dependence on alcohol to be difficult because of triggers that are unique to their social world. Between book club wine culture and girls’ nights out, women may find avoiding alcohol to be challenging.

It’s crucial to note, however, that alcohol addiction will take a mental and physical toll on the body. In the United States, more than 15 million people suffer from an alcohol use disorder and each year more than 95,000 people lose their lives because of an alcohol-related circumstance. In fact, in this country, alcoholism is the third most preventable cause of death, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Choosing to stop drinking is a life-changing decision as well as one that requires help and, in many cases, ongoing support.

Women become addicted to alcohol or abuse alcohol for many different reasons. In some cases, it begins innocently in early adulthood. We may have begun drinking with our friends on the weekends or ventured out of our college dorm rooms for ‘quarter beer’ nights at a local bar. Women tend to be highly social and so, it makes sense that we are also vulnerable to social drinking as a trigger. Not only are women vulnerable to alcohol biologically, but we may experience vulnerability because of our social lifestyle too.

In the last month, according to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of all adult women will have drank alcohol. Nearly 15% of women binge drink each month. Binge drinking, drinking alcohol excessively, drinking alcohol habitually can pave a path to addiction and other alcohol-related health problems.

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