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Did you know that 17.6 million people suffer from alcohol abuse in the USA? By some estimates, one-third of alcoholics are women. When most people imagine an alcoholic, they tend to think of a man sitting at a bar downing beer after beer. However, that’s not always the case. More and more women are increasingly becoming dependent on alcohol.

This article from NPR titled Drinking to ‘Numb’ Women Gain on Men in Alcohol Abuse delved into the recent rise of alcohol use by women of all ages. The author compares the advertising of cigarettes in the 1950s and ’60s to the advertising of alcoholic beverages made specifically for women.

“We’re seeing a parallel … to what happened with Virginia Slims and tobacco, where — somewhere around the mid-’90s — the alcohol industry, the spirits part of it, looked and said, “Beer is cleaning our clock, what are we going to do? Our Johnnie Walker drinkers are dying out.” And they saw a huge gap of drinkers who weren’t fully engaged, and that was the female gender. And they pitched with alcopops — those sweetly-flavored, pre-packaged drinks like Mike’s Hard Lemonade — and they pitched those at teenagers, and it was an experiment that paid off. “

Once women were including in the marketing and advertising of alcohol, the entire culture began to shift. Teenagers and young women started playing the same drinking games as young men. However, the women were playing the games with shots of vodka, not shots of beer. 

Although most people who drink don’t become alcoholics, the recent increase in alcohol abuse has caused more damage than people could have predicted. The NPR article noted that many women are affected with liver disease due to alcohol over-consumption. Some women are dying when they are only in their twenties because of the progressive nature of liver disease. Most younger women drink to be part of their social group, but other women may drink to numb the pain. This is a huge red flag for alcohol abuse! Self-medicating is a common behavior among addicts and women tend to suffer from depression and anxiety more so than men. If your loved one is drinking because she’s depressed, lonely, or anxious, then she needs to get help for a possible alcohol abuse problem.

Many liquor companies present alcohol in a glamorous light while obscuring the dangers of over-consumption. Liquor commercials make alcohol look fun and sophisticated. However, the long term side effects of alcohol abuse are not. Side effects include high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, cirrhosis of the liver, nerve damage, and malnutrition. There’s nothing glamorous about dying young from the disease of addiction.