A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry shows that American women are drinking more than ever, with a significant increase in problematic alcohol consumption.
These results are reflected in other parts of the western world, too – in an international analysis of research by the University of NSW National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, the gap in rates of drinking between the sexes was virtually non-existent.
This is particularly dangerous as women are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of alcohol.
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One justification for the trend put forward by the Australian researchers is that more women are now working than 50 years ago. With an independent income and the breaking down of traditional gender roles, they’re able to socialise and drink freely.
In a piece for HuffPo Bunmi Aboaba, CEO at The Sober Advantage, suggests that another work-related factor plays a significant role: stress. She cites a recent study that shows women are more stressed than men at work because they’re more likely to be taking on the majority of work around the home, too.
She says that with longer hours and more responsibility, women might be more likely to use alcohol as self-medication for stress and anxiety.
Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council say that there is no completely “safe” level of alcohol consumption but current guidelines recommend consuming no more than 4 standard drinks on any single occasion of drinking, and an average of no more than 2 standard drinks per day long-term. This is for both men and women.
The takeaway here? Assess your daily alcohol consumption and consider (and combat) the stressors that may be contributing to it.