The latest statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism have revealed that more women turn towards alcohol as a coping method.
Between 2001 and 2013, alcohol consumption among women rose by 16%. And women who were already consuming alcohol at roughly four or more drinks per week went up by a staggering 58%. As of 2019, three in four women were struggling with alcohol use and abuse.
Furthermore, the ratio had previously been 3-1 between men’s dangerous drinking habits compared to women’s, but multiple global studies have found that women are closing the gap. The ratio has inched closer to 1-to-1.
Camelback Recovery is a sober living facility for women in Scottsdale, so we understand that alcohol has become a common coping method. But it’s also true that one of the most effective ways to beat back alcoholism in its initial stages is to get to the root cause.
Underlying Issues Behind Alcohol as a Coping Method
Declining Mental Health
According to psychologists, the trend has been following the same increase in poor mental health and other mental health concerns that have sprung up in recent years. Studies by the WHO show that one in five women have a common mental health problem and are often undiagnosed.
These issues could be depression, physical and emotional trauma, PTSD, panic disorder, OCD, among others.
Women are under more pressure, becoming more aware of inequalities, the wage gap, and challenges from a socio-economic standpoint. It adds to their stress and anxiety, leading to alcohol abuse as a coping method.
The cultural situation plays a significant role in turning to alcohol as a coping method. Alcohol is more accessible, and binge drinking is more acceptable than in previous years. The party lifestyle is celebrated in media, making binge drinking appear like a valid outlet during downtime.
Poor Living Situations
Women who cope with high-tension lifestyles with long workdays, with more housework waiting for them at the end of the day, are also likely to turn to alcohol. Alcohol becomes a way to relieve burdens from work or home life.
Some researchers are even concerned that these trends will exacerbate the anxieties and stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. With global uncertainties, rising costs, and poor job prospects compounding existing socio-economic problems, more women will turn to alcohol for relief.
What to Look Out For
Being on the lookout for the warning signs is crucial to heading off alcoholism.
Steadily increasing alcohol consumption. Someone may go from one to two drinks a week to four to five
Alcohol is becoming an impediment in work or family life
Engaging in risky behavior following drinking binges
Weight loss from excessive drinking instead of consuming food
Physical manifestations such as dry skin, brittle hair and nails, and sped-up aging signs
What Family and Friends Can Do
Family and friends who observe the warning signs can begin the process of helping their friend or family member. By striking at the root cause, they can potentially prevent alcoholism from getting worse. Providing a listening ear for problems, giving support, or even just showing someone that they don’t have to fight their issues alone can go a long way.
If you’re concerned that a friend or a family member may be showing signs of alcoholism, or if you want to help someone already in this situation, do not hesitate to reach out to professionals for help.
Camelback Recovery aims to provide a safe, healing space for women to recover and return to sober living. Our counselors can provide much-needed advice, guidance, and, most of all, a way out of a dire situation towards more fulfilling lives.