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Women are Drinking More in Recent Years but Why?

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Several new books have explored women and drinking and how it has changed in recent years. Author Gabrielle Glaser jokes about women drinking wine at book club meetings.  It makes you wonder if Glaser’s book and another new one about women and drinking will be required reading at book (and wine) clubs. Glaser’s “Why She Drinks” came out this past summer. Now, Ann Dowsett Johnston has released “Drink,” a combination of her own story of recovery with research on how and why women drink. Both books discuss the current situation: Women today are drinking plenty of alcohol. It’s not just young women binge drinking, although the problem may start there. Women Drinking: Getting Worse Faster Both authors mention that men and women drink for different reasons. Men drink to be more social. For women, drinking can be a refuge from depression and anxiety. Women may consider that ‘they deserve a drink’ for all their efforts—at work, then at home on their second shift as a parent. But the damage can catch up with them quickly. Drinking becomes a problem for women faster than it does for men. Biology works against them. Women’s bodies are, on average, smaller than men’s, with a much higher percentage of fat/lower percentage of water. That means alcohol is exposed to more body tissue, more rapidly. In addition, women produce less of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, which helps break down alcohol.

What Can Women Do?

The authors differ in how women can handle problem drinking.  The subtitle of Glaser’s book, “Why Women Drink and How They Can Regain Control,” is a good indication of the difference. Glaser does not believe 12-step programs that promote being powerless are beneficial to women, who may already perceive themselves as powerless. Johnston is in recovery and promotes abstinence-based programs. The appearance of both books is a good time for women to take a look at their lives and their drinking. Is it just to be social, just because they deserve it or has it turned into something worse? If you are concerned about your drinking or that of a loved one, contact Stepping Stone Center for Recovery. Call us at 866-957-4960 and we can get you the help you need.

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