Alcohol addiction

Why has alcohol addiction in women spiked in recent years?

Alcohol addiction across both men and women has long been common and continues to rise, particularly since the beginning of the pandemic and now into an economic crisis, as the cost of living shoots up and people feel unable to cope.

Turning to alcohol is a common way out for many. Of course, it’s far from that, leading to further financial problems, addiction and breakdowns of relationships. But that’s what alcohol does and that’s why so many people check into alcohol rehab in order to try and get their lives back on track.

What rehab centres are finding though is that an influx of women are beginning to seek treatment, which is backed up by a number of studies that have suggested the reasons behind why more women are increasingly likely to suffer from alcohol addiction in the current climate.

Susan Stewart, a professor of sociology at Iowa State University noted that during the pandemic, women were more likely to have experience layoffs or have had to leave a job to care for children in comparison to men, while also taking on more responsibility elsewhere, such as running errands or caring for vulnerable relatives.

The stress related to that, ultimately then led to drink in many cases. However, it’s also noted that drinking among women has been increasing for some time, with the period between 1999 and 2016 seeing a 120% increase in deaths related to alcohol among non-Hispanic white women between the age of 25 and 64, while that is also 39% among Hispanic women.

The glamourisation of alcohol through social media is also playing it’s part. Getting a glass of wine at the cinema or having a drink after a run are painting a picture on the likes of Instagram and even on television, but it’s not the real story and the effects of that are adding up and leading to more addiction among women.

Equally, marketing alcohol has also seen more campaigns directed towards women. Stewart, who has written a book on the topic, said: “During the pandemic, there was this proliferation of jokes and memes about mothers drinking to get through the day, and now, people are starting to say, ‘No, why are we doing this? Why aren’t we addressing the root problems of our stress – of not getting support at home, balancing work and family, taking care of relatives?’”

Could that mean that more women are now starting to come out the other side of that, getting treatment where necessary and perhaps not even taking up alcohol in the first place?

Possibly, but that will start to show over the coming years. Such a climate we are in will often lead to more people turning to alcohol, but if the messaging is right and people continue to fall down a path of sobriety or abstaining, with more celebrities talking about it, and the marketing of non-alcoholic options, then what is a pandemic of its own may well start to slow…

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