The drinking habits of men and women have historically been different, with men always consuming more alcohol than women and drinking more often. While this trend has been fairly consistent over the years, and men still drink more than women, the gap between the two sexes may be shrinking. A new study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, found that women are drinking more alcohol and drinking more frequently, according to an agency news release.
The recent findings are worrisome, says NIAAA Director George F. Koob, PhD, due to the fact that women are more susceptible to several alcohol-related health problems, including:
- Liver Inflammation
- Cardiovascular Disease
Closing The Gap
Led by Aaron White, Ph.D., NIAAA’s senior scientific advisor to the director, researchers examined data from annual national surveys conducted between 2002 and 2012. While the reasons for the increase in alcohol consumption among females is unclear at this time, the researchers found that people who drank alcohol in the previous 30 days increased for females from 44.9 percent to 48.3 percent, the report stated. On the other hand, consumption among males decreased from 57.4 percent to 56.1 percent between 2002 and 2012.
The same trend was observed regarding the average number of drinking days in the past 30 days. Females drinking days increased from 6.8 to 7.3 days, but decreased for males, from 9.9 to 9.5 days.
“We found that over that period of time, differences in measures such as current drinking, number of drinking days per month, reaching criteria for an alcohol use disorder, and driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year, all narrowed for females and males,” said White, PhD. “Males still consume more alcohol, but the differences between men and women are diminishing.”
The results were published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
When men consume 5 or more drinks, and when women consume 4 or more drinks, in about 2 hours, it is referred to as binge drinking. The behavior has been associated with several negative effects, some of which can be fatal. Binge drinking can result in:
- Sexual Assault
- Driving Under the Influence
- Alcohol Poisoning
The national surveys did indicate a decrease in binge drinking among men 18-25 years of age not enrolled in school, according to the report. However, among women who were not enrolled in school, binge drinking rates increased.
If you are a female who is struggling with alcohol, please contact Design for Change. Our treatment center has gender specific living spaces and gender specific programs. We recognize that women have unique needs, and our facility addresses those by creating a special place where women can bond with each other and form a supportive community.