Over the last 30 years, the gender gap between male and female alcoholics has begun to close. Traditionally, more men than women struggled with alcoholism but these statistics have narrowed. Why? Some suggest that it may be due to the new, more equal playing field in the work force combined with the continued expectations of women on the home front. Many women are now expected to hold down and excel at a fulltime job while also remaining the primary person in charge of raising children and managing the household. Their stress level, in short, has increased exponentially, and more and more women are seeking solace in a bottle.
A new study from British research firm CACI examined the postal codes within Great Britain that are considered to be affluent. The study found that among the most well-to-do citizens of these particular postal codes, the women who “lunched” (meeting other friends for lunch at trendy restaurants) were much more likely to drink more alcohol than the current health recommendations.
The director of analytics for CACI, Patrick Tate, stated: “A lot of them are very sociable, and they don’t need to work… They are typical ladies who lunch. They wouldn’t think twice about going shopping, meeting up with friends with a few glasses of wine, and then having even more glasses of wine with their dinner.”
The current recommendation from the medical community is no more than three units of alcohol per day. A unit would be about the size of a small glass of wine or one shot of liquor in a mixed drink. Interestingly, these same women were also found to have a greater tendency toward the experience of depression and other mental illnesses; empirical evidence has repeatedly pointed to alcohol dependency as being a catalyst for both depression and mental illness.
Effects of Drinking on Women
The National Institute of Health (NIH) warns women in their booklet “Alcohol: A Women’s Health Issue” that “the ability to drink a man – or anyone – under the tables is not a plus: it is a red flag. Research has shown that drinkers who are able to handle a lot of alcohol all at once are at higher – not lower – risk of developing problems, such as dependence on alcohol.”
The effects of drinking for women are numerous and, in many ways, much more dangerous for them than for the average man. They can include:
- An increased vulnerability to sexual assault
- Increased rates of domestic violence
- Higher risk of chronic medical ailments like liver disease, brain disease, breast cancer and heart disease
- Increased rates of mental health issues or an exacerbation of underlying symptoms
Unique Needs of Women in Treatment
Women in treatment have unique needs that may include therapeutic services that address gender role pressures and social stigma. Each woman’s story is different, and each one will benefit from a personalized treatment plan designed to help her get the most out of her rehabilitation program. Call now to find the right one for your loved one.