Restorations Therapy Blog

Women May Perceive Their Drinking Habits as Socially Acceptable Even at High-Risk Levels, Yet Still Have to Deal with Societal Stigma

by on Friday, June 26th, 2020

women and their drinking habits

Research finds that despite the possible health risks of exceeding the guidelines of drinking, many young and middle-aged women who consume high levels of alcohol perceive their drinking behaviors as normal or acceptable—as long as they maintain control and respectable demeanors.

What Are the Guidelines for Drinking?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides dietary guidelines for alcohol consumption. For example, moderate drinking for men is up to two drinks per day and one for women. One drink is considered 12 ounces of beer, eight ounces of malt liquor, five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits such as vodka, rum, or whiskey. However, two out of three adults report drinking above these levels at least once a month.

Many populations should not drink alcohol at all, including those who are underage, pregnant women, individuals with medical conditions or specific prescriptions, and more. Surprisingly, it is more likely for women between the ages of 50 and 70 to consume alcohol at higher levels than their younger counterparts, which may surpass these low-risk drinking guidelines outlined by the CDC.

Women Face Societal Stigmas and Double Standards

Research finds that women tend to value their appearance of being respectable and in control over the quantity of alcohol they consume and the possible subsequent health risks. Socially and culturally, women are often held at different standards than men, especially when it comes to drinking alcohol or engaging in drug use. There is a double standard and stigma or mark of disgrace when it comes to societal views on drinking and gender.

Men usually get by with any amount of alcohol consumption, and women are often viewed in a negative light due to alcohol use. For example, drinking alcohol and lowered sexual inhibitions have an association, which often leads society to label and judge women who drink. Furthermore, the stigma that women face regarding drugs and alcohol may prevent them from seeking treatment. Thus, when compared with men, women appear much less likely to enter treatment for their issues with substance use.

Are You Looking for Help with Substance Use?

The CDC advises that at-risk populations, such as those with medical conditions or health issues, do not drink alcohol in any capacity. Short- and long-term risks include injuries, motor vehicle accidents, violence, chronic health problems, and some cancers. However, individuals will do what they want, and research finds that women may socially construct their drinking behaviors to prioritize their appearance rather than their health. Women have frequently reported that social drinking patterns are “part of the norm,” and just something everyone does. Unfortunately, women may be less likely to seek help due to social and cultural stigmas. If you or someone you know may need help with an alcohol or drug problem, call us today at (720) 446-6585.

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