LISTEN – GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN…WITH PROBLEMS –
June 9, 2021 – And the latest U.S. data from 2019 shows that women in their teens and early 20s reported drinking and getting drunk at higher rates than their male peers — in some cases for the first time since researchers began measuring such behavior. This trend parallels the rise in mental health concerns among young women, and researchers worry that the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic could amplify both patterns.
“It’s not only that we’re seeing women drinking more, but that they’re really being affected by this physically and mental health-wise,” says Dawn Sugarman, a research psychologist at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts, who has studied addiction in women.
Research shows women suffer health consequences of alcohol — liver disease, heart disease and cancer — more quickly than men and even with lower levels of consumption.
Perhaps most concerning is that the rising gender equality in alcohol use doesn’t extend to the recognition or treatment of alcohol disorders, Sugarman says. So even as some women drink more, they’re often less likely to get the help they need.
In Cooper’s case, drinking eventually led her to drop out of college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She moved back home and was soon taking a shot or two of vodka each morning before heading to the office for her finance job, followed by two more drinks at lunch. When she tried to quit on her own, she was quickly pulled back by the disease.
“That’s when I got scared, when I tried to not drink and only made it two days,” says Cooper, now 30. “I was drinking for survival, basically.”