Today’s world puts a lot of pressure on women. Women are bombarded with images in magazines, the media, television shows, movies, and ads that constantly pressure them into looking or behaving certain ways. And while many realize that these pressures on women are far beyond reality or expectations, many forget this or buy into the idea that this is how they should be living life.
How many times have you seen an alcohol commercial with women in it and everyone is happy and having fun? Have you ever seen an alcohol commercial where they are trying to sell you that drink and they portray someone drinking alone and depressed? It’s very easy to come up with examples of the first one but it’s really hard to think of any examples of any company trying to sell you something and exposing their product in a negative light at the same time.
Beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages are portrayed in commercials as perhaps a drink that will liven up your party, the magic elixir that allows attractive women to be surrounded by handsome looking guys at all times, and perhaps you will even find new adventures. And, with some television shows that glorify partying, drunken nights, or portray drinking in a positive light (you could guess which shows we’re talking about), in real life, alcohol abuse is a serious problem. Exposure to these images may influence women’s alcoholic consumption, but many factors are also at play.
Alcohol And Substance Abuse Among Women
In the United States, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse notes that 6 million women are dependent on alcohol and 2.6 million women have a substance abuse. From 1998 to 2007, the number of women arrested for drunk driving rose by 30 percent. Also from 1999 to 2007, the number of ER visits for women being very intoxicated also rose 52 percent. The numbers of women abusing alcohol is indeed rising. Scientists have also wanted to have more research done with the biochemical differences between men and women when they drink. When women drink, they have reported to scientists that it makes them feel sexier, more affectionate and feminine. But what are some other reasons that women might be driven to drink more these days?
Some Reasons Alcohol Abuse May Be On The Rise For Women
Some explanations for the recent rise in alcohol abuse among women include: (Note that these are not all inclusive and there could be other reasons):
A study showed that 74% of women who were addicted to alcohol were sexually abused and 52% had physical abuse in their past or current history. Those who were raised in violent home settings and who continued to live in domestic abuse after leaving home are much more susceptible to using drugs and/or alcohol to hide or ease the pain of their realities.
Emotional abuse, imbalanced relationships, and feelings of marginalization
Women who are in relationships where their partner lacks empathy and there is an unequal distribution of household tasks often turns to the bottle to control their happiness, for power, comfort, and it may even offer relief from their depression and hopelessness. Also, women who felt stigmatized for their gender or feel inferior or disrespected also are more likely to have alcohol addictions.
For women who are isolated (and maybe have a few kids and are stressed), it may be easier for them to look to alcohol as a way to connect with friends. What may have started out as a few drinks every Friday night with your girlfriends to ease stress, may turn into drinking earlier in the day and becoming more intoxicated by night.
Some women imbibe because they believe they can equally consume alcohol the way men might. But women and men’s bodies are built differently when consuming alcohol and some do not realize this. Women become intoxicated more quickly than men (even if the same height and weight) because their bodies have more fat which keeps the alcohol in their system and less water (which would dilute the alcohol).
Changing roles and expectations
Women today have different roles and scientists are thinking there is a link between alcohol consumption and the shift of women’s roles in society.
More women are attending college today, and studies have linked the rise in female attendance at colleges to the rise of alcohol consumption.
Life After College
Some scientists say that women continue their college partying days in male-dominated work places (such as finance or technology).
Career to home shift
Still other scientists say that the shift and focus from a career to raising children at home, could be a factor in the rise of drinking among women. Being bored and anxious (all with potentially a screaming toddler or children in the background) may cause them to reach for the bottle to get away from reality for a while.
Depression and Anxiety
Women are two more times likely to be afflicted with depression and/or anxiety than men. And in turn, they may be more at risk to self-medicate by alcohol.
Women also may abuse alcohol if they have or had an eating disorder.
Wine And Women
Another disturbing trend is that wine has become a popular and socially accepted drink among women. Wine is not seen as “bad” as other alcoholic beverages or drugs and is encouraged at book clubs, on t-shirts or online groups, and at social gatherings. Many moms think that wine is a culturally accepted way to ease the troubles of your day. And it may even be viewed as independence and freedom that was lost once having children. According to the Wine Institute, women are the primary drinkers of wine in the U.S. and they also buy a majority of the 800 million wine glasses sold each year.
Despite many women viewing wine in a positive light, it is still alcohol and it can still be abused. Do not buy into the idea that it is safer to drink because you can still develop an alcohol abuse disorder from drinking wine.
There Is hope
If you or a woman you know is struggling with an alcohol addiction, seek help now. Alcohol abuse is on the rise for women, but you do not have to be part of that statistic. Whatever your situation, there is hope, and professionals are just waiting for you to reach out to them. Contact us at alcoholtreatment.net to learn more.