The statistics are staggering, more women are drinking now than any time in recent history. Between 1998 and 2007, the number of women arrested for drunk driving rose 30%.
Between 1999 and 2008, the number of women who showed up in emergency rooms for being dangerously intoxicated rose by 52%.
10% of women between 45 and 64 binge drink.
According to Gallup polls, the more educated and well off a woman is, the more likely she is to drink, and many women who drink heavily are also victims of sexual abuse or have had eating disorders.
Another alarming fact is the connection to alcohol and an increased risk of breast cancer.
Alcohol is like food and sex and money. It’s intimate and personal and no one wants someone telling them what to do with these areas of their life.
I’m not here to tell you what to do.
Every situation is different and the choice is yours to make. However, since I work with a lot of professional women and the research from neuroscience tells us that the brains of high powered people are more prone to addiction, I wanted to share some Healthy Discoveries from successful, smart, articulate women who have spoken out about the stigma of woman and alcohol and shared their own stories. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Books Drinking To Distraction by Jenna Hollenstein, a nutritionist who gave up drinking and explored her seemingly normal use (by society’s standards) but wrote about her silent struggle with alcohol. Another classic book on this topic is Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp and Best Kept Secret by Amy Hatvany which is fiction, but based around the author’s drinking experiences.
TED Talk Drinking And How It Changed My Life by Ann Dowsett-Johnston, an excellent TED talk that most all women can relate to (and should watch).
Website Sexy Sobriety a holistic health and business coach who created a great website and online resource for women who wonder if they drink too much and are contemplating taking a break.
Documentary Lipstick & Liquor explores the secret in the suburbs. How a growing number of women are abusing alcohol and becoming alcohol dependent.
Functional Nutrition and Biochemical Assessments – traditionally we’ve thought of alcohol dependency as a moral defect and a self-will run riot. The recommended remedy is for people to make amends and acknowledge their character defects.
Functional nutrition takes a different approach. Instead of focusing on the psychology we focus on the physiology. High histamine (found in red wine), pyroluria (deficient B6 and zinc) can make people feel anxious, socially isolate and have a poor stress tolerance to severe inner tension – all of which often leads to self-medicating with even more alcohol. If someone (male or female) has these biochemical imbalances it’s hard to resist alcohol. But there’s good news, these nutritional deficiencies can be fixed rather quickly.
—Learn more about pyroluria – 40% of all alcoholics have pyroluria. Supplementing with B6 and zinc can be extremely beneficial.
—Learn more about high histamine -Even though alcohol is high in histamines, if you’re intolerant to histamine this can ironically make you want to drink more alcohol. If your face and neck flush when you drink, this is one sign that you may be reactive.
—Learn more about alcohol biotypes – There are no hard and fast rules for definitions of an “alcoholic.” However, assessing your individual biochemistry is helpful to determine your specific biotype: nonalcoholic chemistry, alcohol intolerant chemistry, hypoglycemic chemistry (mistakenly labeled as alcoholic), addicted alcoholic chemistry, essential fatty acid chemistry or full on alcoholic chemistry.
Listening to people’s stories and understanding biochemistry is the first step to removing the shame and stigma that so many women secretly carry about their increased use and abuse of alcohol.