Imagine yourself as a working-class mom, being couped up into a house with 3 other children and a partner. It’s been a long day of working on a computer, laboring over a screen, scheduling meetings, and making video calls. Now, you have to make dinner for the family after being hunched over a computer and trying to keep your children distracted so that you can work.
Or imagine the opposite. You’ve been working all day with no one to talk to because you’re living in a one-bedroom apartment by yourself with a pet to keep you company.
What is the definition of alcohol abuse?
Either scenario, you have the strong urge to sit down, and make yourself a glass of wine to wind down or a fruity drink to liven your mood. It’s easy to fall into a habit that chews a bit more off than what we expect. Moderate drinking per the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines moderate drinking where a, a woman can drink up to four drinks a week; for men, it’s five. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines eight drinks or more per week for women as “high risk” or “heavy” drinking.
So what leads women to get to that point? Easy. Women are more prone to stress than the male counterpart, which leads to greater stress in women with the social stigmas associated with being a woman. Those who are mothers will experience greater amounts of stress to be the perfect mother, being able to juggle work, house chores, and the new added responsibility of ensuring students are keeping up with the new home-school work.
What leads to alcohol abuse?
In 2019, reports of binge drinking among women were 12% reporting to have binged-drink 3 times a month, with an average of 5 drinks per binge. At least 2.5% of women have reported being dependent on alcohol in the same year. These numbers are expected to increase as long as stay-at-home orders continue for the year 2020.
Alcohol can be seen as an easy sedative that allows the body to feel relaxed and not to have to worry about being wound up with these responsibilities. The problem with alcohol consumption is that it can also impair your judgment, which can lead to an increased risk of conflict and domestic violence. It also leads to heightened symptoms of panic, anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders.
What to do if you think you are dependent?
So you’ve arrived at the end of the blog post and you think you been misusing alcohol? The best thing to do is to stop, say doctors. But, please seek help, especially if you are dependent on alcohol.
Strategies for reducing alcohol use or to stop, are to think about the new environment we’re in. Allow yourself to readjust to this new environment. Also, try to reduce the amount you are drinking. Being able to reduce how much you drink shows that you aren’t dependent on alcohol. If you can’t, please seek out professional help that can guide you on how to make the adjustment. But, the worst thing to do is wait until it gets so bad that you can’t see an end.
- “Stress Drinking: Alcohol Consumption Increases During COVID-19.” University of Utah Health, 23 Apr. 2020, healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_p0xim6x3.
- “Women and Stress.” Cleveland Clinic, 13 Feb. 2019, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/5545-women-and-stress.
- “Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Women’s Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 Dec. 2019, www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/womens-health.htm.
- Purtill, Corinne. “Quarantini Anyone? When Everyday Drinking Becomes a Problem.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 Apr. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/04/30/us/30IHW-drinking-women-coronavirus-quarantine-habit.html.
- “Drinking Too Much Alcohol Can Harm Your Health. Learn the Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 Dec. 2019, www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm.