Authors: Symone Richardson and Christine Nguyen
As we think about how we can move forward and intervene in the rising public health issue of increased alcohol consumption among women, there are many different campaigns, movements, and social reform that come to mind that we can use to combat the issue!
In the recent years, social media has been used more often for health communication and health campaigning. Successful social media health campaigns include #movember, #BellLetsTalk and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. While these positive health campaigns are prevalent, there is also a large presence of negative health communication on social media such as alcohol marketing (with the exception of TikTok and restrictions on others). To combat negative health communication, social media users from Facebook to Twitter to Snapchat could create a hashtag and promote healthy relationships with alcohol, raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol, and reject any inappropriate or misleading alcohol advertisements. In addition to being free, social media communication and campaigning can reach a very wide range of people from different countries and ages.
Another step towards reducing the burden of women and alcohol could be ending the stigma of women and alcoholism. In our society we are used to seeing mainly men having an issue with heavy alcohol use and alcoholism. As we have learned throughout this course, that is no longer the case. As mentioned before, social media campaigns could aide in the widespread education of the dangers of women and alcohol. There could also be in increase in informative advertisements on television and magazines as well as increased research on the topic in academic journals. Some of this education and research could revolve around how women metabolize alcohol differently than men, women have different adverse effects to alcohol than men, and women require different approach to treatment than men. The sooner alcohol use among women is seen as a global public health issue, the sooner we can implement more effective policies and interventions.
As mentioned in our last blog post, women are more likely to use alcohol consumption as a coping mechanism for issues such as anxiety disorders and depression. By offering different way to cope, we can hopefully decrease alcohol use among women. Examples of different coping mechanisms are exercise, meditation, and support groups. These alternative methods or coping have been found to help manage stress and anxiety as well as help individuals in maintaining sobriety or healthy relationships with alcohol.
Another way in which we can change the issue between alcohol and women could be a push for mocktails or other types of social beverages. Mocktails are non-alcoholic beverages or party drinks that mimic cocktails, just without the alcohol. With the rise in popularity of boozy brunches with bottomless drinks, consuming alcohol earlier in the day has become a sociably acceptable trend and almost glamorized among women. Virgin cocktails, or mocktails, offer an alternative to alcoholic beverages and can help reduce ones drinking. Mocktails can also be used to reduce discomfort that comes with social drinking culture since they look like cocktails! Mocktails can be easy to make as there are many articles and recipes available online as well as recipe books you can order. Here is one article that offers 40 different non-alcoholic beverage ideas!