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The Washington Post reports that new studies are emphasizing the problematic relationship of women and alcohol. One study the article cites compiled 68 varying alcohol-use studies from around the world in which researchers from Australia discovered a “gender convergence”. Data revealed that the gender gap between males, females, and their relationship with drinking is closing. In the early 20th century, men who were born were “more than twice as likely as women to drink and three times as likely to have an alcohol problem.” By the end of the century, that difference was practically non-existent.

Women in Culture

What is causing this closure? George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, explains that women are living in a different culture than they were 100 years ago. “Instead of being at home,” Koob describes, “they’re in society, and drinking is part of business and social gatherings.” Another problem is that underage drinking in men has declined. Women are continuing to drink underage at a steady pace. Additionally, Koob expresses, women report experiencing depression and anxiety twice as often as men. Depression and anxiety are two of the most highly co-occurring or “comorbid” problems with addiction. Often, women, and men alike, will turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with the symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders. Koob points out a final fact which is emphasized in The Big Book Of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The primary text for the free recovery support group and founding group for the world wide twelve step program, was written for men, by men. A singular chapter addresses women, and that is only to the wives of alcoholic men. Quite quickly, the founders discovered that women were equally perilous alcoholics as their male counterparts. The authors write that there are no specifics like length of time drinking alcoholically or just how much one drinks to determine the effect of alcoholism. “To be gravely affected, one does not necessarily have to drink a long time nor take the quantities some of us have. This is particularly true of women.” The authors then dedicate two more important sentences to female alcoholism, not daring to call it any more or any less than what males experience. “Potential female alcoholics often turn into the real thing and are gone beyond recall in a few years. Certain drinkers, who would be greatly insulted if called alcoholics, are astonished at their inability to stop.”

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