Women are Leading the Charge of Alcohol Abuse

Women are Leading the Charge of Alcohol Abuse

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The New Numbers on Alcohol Abuse

According to a new report from the American Journal of Public Health, binge drinking and heavy drinking has been on the rise over the past decade. An analysis performed between 2005 and 2012 reported that heavy drinking rose by 17.2% between these years. Although overall, men showed higher rates of heavy drinking, the rates among women were rising significantly.

The report, complied by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations at the University of Washington, was published in late April. To generate it, researchers studied data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. This is a recurring phone survey conducted by the CDC.

Researchers examined almost four million Americans’ drinking patterns. It’s important to note they only looked at adults twenty-one and older, so these new statistics don’t reflect underage drinking trends.

This study, led by Dr. Ali Mokdad, a professor at the University of Washington and former CDC bigwig, was the first of its kind. No other survey, report, or study has examined adult drinking behavior on a national level.

The results? Well, find a full and detailed breakdown below, but the gist is that people are drinking more alcohol more often. The drinking patterns of women are especially concerning. Between 2002 and 2012, rates of binge drinking among women rose seven times more than similar rates among men.

Dr. Mokdad had the following to say about female alcohol consumption, “It seems like women are trying to catch up to the men in binge drinking…It’s really, really scary” (Kaiser Health News).

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New Binge Drinking Statistics

The latest binge and heavy drinking statistics are in. The numbers are surprisingly high. Find a full breakdown below, but first it’s important to define what constitutes binge drinking and heavy drinking.

According the CDC, heavy drinking is when men have more than two drinks per day and women have more than one drink per day. Binge drinking, on the other hand, is when men have five or more drinks in one sitting and women have more than four drinks in one sitting. The timeframe used to measure both binge and heavy drinking is within the last month.

Find the newest statistics below!

  • Between 2005 and 2012, the percentage of people who engaged in heavy drinking was between 2.4% and 22.4%. This averages to around 12.4% of all US drinkers.
  • The percentage of people who engaged in binge drinking was between 5.9% and 36%. That averages to around 21% of all US drinkers.
  • During this same period, binge drinking rates among women rose around 36%. Compare this to binge drinking rates among men, which rose only 23%.
  • Approximately 12% of adult women report binge drinking 3 times a month, averaging 5 drinks per binge.
  • In 2010 upwards of 88,000 deaths were attributed to alcohol.
  • Heavy drinking is estimated to cost the United States, and private companies, more than $220 billion dollars each year.
  • Taxes on alcohol haven’t risen along with the cost of living. In effect, this makes alcohol cheaper now than in the past. Researchers believe this may be one of the causes of increased binge and heavy drinking.
  • A study found that alcohol companies spent approximately $3.45 billion to promote their products in 2011 alone. Researchers suggest this as another possible cause of increased rates of alcohol abuse.

Why are Women Drinking so Much?

There isn’t a simple answer as to why women are drinking more often and in greater quantities than ever before. As noted above, researchers suggest the price of alcohol, mixed with the billions spent in advertising, could be a large influence. Unfortunately, there’s no definitive proof about whether this is true.

There are a few different theories as to why the gap of heavy alcohol is closing between men and women. Some of these theories include changing societal norms and stress. According to an article on WebMD, “high rates of depression and anxiety among women could play a role, as could violence against women.” Where alcohol consumption among women used to be considered more taboo, changes in societal norms have made it less so. Additionally, women are taking on more roles that in the past were predominately men’s roles. 

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Helping Women With Alcohol Abuse Issues

According to the NIAA, an estimated 5.4 million women who were over 18 in 2016 could have been considered as having an alcohol use disorder. Unfortunately, only about 6.9% of these women got help from an addiction treatment professional or program. 

The need for addiction treatment programs that specialize in women’s addiction issues is critical. That is why at Lighthouse, we have gender-specific residential facilities and addiction professionals that educated in providing gender-specific care.

Are you struggling with binge drinking and alcohol abuse? Lighthouse Recovery Institute offers a full continuum of care for men and women in need of treatment for drug addiction and alcoholism. With comprehensive care, you can recover from addiction and be free from the obsession.

There’s no better time to get the help you need than now. Call Lighthouse for immediate support at 1-866-308-2090.

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