Alcoholism is an overlooked epidemic that is on the rise, especially in women. The term alcoholism has long been used to describe what is currently defined by DSM-5 as “alcohol use disorder, the chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using.”
We hope to make a change in the way society views alcoholism. In order for that to happen, we want to help our community understand alcoholism. And we want alcoholic women and their families to know that there is a promise for recovery and hope for those still suffering.
1 in 11 Women in the U.S. Is an Alcoholic
A 2017 study published in JAMA Psychiatry showed that the rate of alcohol use disorder in women in the United States nearly doubled in an 11-year period. It jumped from 4.9% in 2002 to 9.0% in 2013. This means that the data we have from seven years ago tells us that one in 11 adult women in this country is an alcoholic. Which if you combine the data from that study for both men and women? Then one in eight American adults are alcoholics.
In comparison, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, the most common cancer in American women except for skin cancers.
Only 6.9% of Alcoholic Women Will Get Formal Help
This staggering data, combined with a growing DFW population, means that the estimated 251,364 alcoholic women in the Dallas Fort Worth area are increasing. But if that data from 2013 is any indication of what is happening today, less than 1 in 15 (6.9%) will actually get formal help. Why? Alcoholic women – over 11.5 million in the United States – face unique experiences and challenges when it comes to seeking help.
Studies show that alcoholic women are more likely than men to face multiple barriers to recovery and are less likely than men to seek treatment. Women face more stigmatization, shame, family responsibilities, and socioeconomic barriers than their male counterparts. They also more frequently have co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, and trauma. Women who seek help often take multiple tries to recover, resulting in job loss, divorce, separation from their children, and depleted financial resources.
Read Breaking the Stigma: Women and Alcoholism
85% More Women Are Dying From Alcohol
Studies find that the rates of death involving alcohol from 1999 to 2017 increased by 85% among women alone.
While there are varying numbers on the number of total alcohol-related deaths per year, some areas of the NIAAA website say 88,000 while others say 72,000, researchers agree that the death rate is an undercount. While death certificates often fail to capture the role alcohol plays in deaths, we can all agree that the number of deaths involving alcohol is undoubtedly increasing, and it’s clear that women appear to be more at risk.
Learn More About Alcoholism
We strongly believe that every alcoholic woman, regardless of her resources or circumstances, deserves the opportunity and has the right to recover from alcoholism. When women receive education on the disease of alcoholism and are equipped with a solution of recovery, it empowers them to take action to fight for their lives. Something that we believe inspires a big change in the entire community.
Learn more about women and alcoholism by registering for an upcoming webinar below or visiting magdalenhouse.org/education.