Women AND Alcohol are forming a dangerous friendship

Alcohol Hits Women Differently

As the pandemic continues to march on, we’ve all created new normals. Some of these habits can be helpful, whereas others can sometimes begin to take us down the negative path!

In fact, new research is showing that we, as Americans, are picking up new unhealthy habits at a very rapid clip. And, one habit is affecting women more disproportionately than men.

I’m speaking of drinking alcohol in excess. In fact, women are drinking quite a bit more alcohol since the pandemic started.

Women are drinking more these days

While there are many reasons for this phenomenon, I want to focus on the fact that women, more than men, are susceptible to the negative effects of alcohol. For example, women can get heart disease & cancer sooner than men because of alcohol consumption. While we don’t know the exact details and mechanisms of why alcohol affects women differently than men, it’s important to know that this habit might be putting us at higher risk of heart disease and cancer.

The pandemic has put forth an uncomfortable light on our nation’s challenges of mental health. Women, largely, have been reported to have more mental health conditions than men. But, they have reduced access to good mental health care.

And, because there’s, unfortunately, a stigma on mental health conditions; many women are not getting the help they need. Healthcare professionals are of the belief that women could be self-treating their undiagnosed mental health conditions with excess alcohol.

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Many of us might be using alcohol as our primary coping strategy in the face of undiagnosed ADHD, anxiety, stress, & isolation.

The best practice is no drinks. But, if you’re unable to do so, please keep this firm rule in mind: Don’t drink more than 1 drink per day. And, if you are drinking more than 1 drink per day–don’t drink more than 3 drinks in a 2 hour period. That’s it.

Anything more than that should give you pause.

If you are going over this threshold regularly, I want you to seek help and determine if you’re struggling with some underlying mental health condition.

Talk to your healthcare team and see if you’re drinking in excess to overcome some underlying condition. There’s nothing shameful or weak about your character if you need to speak to someone about this.