Do moms need too much wine? Women’s drinking habits spark concern

Mark Willingham Uncategorized

Do moms need too much wine? Women’s drinking habits spark concern

September is National Recovery Month. Women are at greater risk for some of the negative effects of alcohol, but their drinking is catching up to men.

TODAY

By A. Pawlowski

September12, 2018

As Dana Bowman’s family grew, so did her appetite for alcohol.

Bowman, who lives in Lindsborg, Kansas, didn’t drink much in high school or college, and occasionally enjoyed alcohol in her 20s. But she began drinking more when she got married and her “affair with alcohol” hit its lowest point when she had children, she wrote in her blog.

“I just didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin, especially as a parent,” Bowman, 47, who is the author of “Bottled: A Mom’s Guide to Early Recovery,” told TODAY.

Anxious that she didn’t know how to raise kids “perfectly,” Bowman turned to alcohol, hiding bottles in her closet, her boots and in the laundry room because “that’s safe — my husband never went in there,” she said.

White wine was her drink of choice — the perfect camouflage since it would seem impossible to the outside world that a mom of two could become an alcoholic if she was just drinking a lovely vintage, Bowman noted. She was relieved to find many parenting groups on Facebook considered wine to be “medicinal” — a perfectly normal part of a harried mom’s routine.

At her worst, Bowman drank about a bottle of wine a day, sometimes imbibing additional drinks, perhaps a cocktail or two, she recalled.

‘A REAL SHIFT’

Experiences like Bowman’s have experts concerned.

“Alcohol use is increasing among women in the United States at a time when it’s decreasing among men,” said Aaron White, a biological psychologist and senior scientific adviser to the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “There has been a real shift.”

One recent study found women are now drinking almost as much as men, closing a historically wide gap.

Another study found rates of binge drinking increased by 17.5 percent among women between 2005 and 2012, but rose just 4.9 percent among men for that same period.

The rate of alcohol-related visits to U.S. emergency rooms spiked by almost 50 percent between 2006 and 2014, especially among women, the government announced in January.

From 2000 to 2015, death rates for chronic liver disease and cirrhosis — often associated with alcohol abuse — increased 57 percent for women 45 to 64 years old, and 18 percent for women ages 25-44, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Problem drinking rose by 83 percent among women between 2002 and 2013, according to a study published last year in JAMA Psychiatry, an increase the authors called “alarming.”