Alcohol Related Deaths Among Women On The Rise

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recently published a report and revealed deaths among women involving alcohol have been increasing for the last two decades. 

Specifically, women’s deaths rose 85% between 1999 and 2017. That number coincides with another NIAAA study that evaluated and compared women’s drinking habits between 2001-2001 and 2012-2013. That study found a 58% increase in high risk drinking, which was defined as three drinks a day or seven a week.

Stress is the driving factor behind women’s increased drinking, according to Susan Stewart, PhD, professor of sociology at Iowa State University who is currently researching this issue. She says alcohol is an outlet for women “They’re working, they’re taking care of children, they’re exhausted, and they need some kind of outlet. Having a few glasses of wine kind of does the trick for them.”

Work related events such as networking happy hours, client dinners and parties were considered environments that relate to women’s drinking habits.

The Realist Woman’s take:

While men still die in higher numbers than women in alcohol related deaths, this study shows women’s deaths are accelerating. A glass of wine to me seems harmless. Even two. But when it’s something you can’t seem to relax without, that’s a problem. 

Culturally, events surrounding wine are seen as socially acceptable and deemed classy and sophisticated and they absolutely can be. No one associates wine with someone being hammered. Drunkenness and alcoholism is usually associated with other forms of alcohol including tequila, vodka and brown liquors. But as women’s deaths related to alcohol are on the rise, we need to look at our culture surrounding women’s stress and the fact that their outlet for that stress is killing them. 

Our culture needs to promote healthy forms of relaxation. We need to promote rest as being the ultimate form of rejuvenation. This hustle culture of ours isn’t serving us mentally, emotionally or even physically, and we turn to alcohol as the source of our alleviation from stress. A lack of a spiritual foundation can also leads us away from healthy ways of tackling our exhaustion.

Until we learn how to step away from work emails after hours, learn how to say no to extra tasks, and unwind without alcohol, these deaths will continue to rise.