Some call it ‘collateral damage from the pandemic’; others call it a general trend as women continue to feel the pressure of ‘having it all’ in a world that doesn’t make that so easy. Whatever the reasons, it’s clear that alcoholic liver disease in women is on the rise, and we must look at how to change that.
What The Numbers Say About Increases In Drinking and Alcoholic Liver Disease In Women
You probably hear it all the time if you’re a woman. Whether you’re single with or without kids, or a mom, the ‘wine culture‘ is pretty heavily marketed. Blogger moms call their ‘Mommy Juice’ their sanity in a post-COVID world. Making this trend even more so evident.
But that’s why there is such concern.
Health experts are seeing a tremendous increase in drinking and subsequent alcoholic liver disease in women.  In fact, studies show skyrocketing rates of liver disease in young women ages 25-34. According to experts, those rising rates are directly associated with the rising rates of alcohol use disorder.
Dr. Rita German is a transplant hepatologist at the University of Wisconsin Health. She says that as they see more people drink alcohol at a younger age, they also see more people develop (and die from) cirrhosis.  The trend is especially concerning for those who treat advanced liver disease.
A Post-COVID World: Why Are Women Drinking More?
Data shows that there have been sharp increases in alcohol consumption since the 2020 COVID pandemic for women. Heavy drinking in women has risen by 41%.  This alarming trend has led to increased alcoholic liver disease in women as well, with experts finding 30-50% increases in the number of hospitalizations and deaths caused by alcohol-related liver disease in the past year. 
Many women feel the post-COVID pressure to do more with less time, resources, and understanding. Many women are taking on additional roles in this post-pandemic world. You may not just be Mom now; you’re likely a teacher and the lunch lady and the principal all in one.
Many women most likely feel disjointed or are just-getting-back-into-the-swing of social activities and opportunities that would have allowed support and socializing. Quarantining, worrying about or losing their job, and stressing over how to take care of themselves and those around them may have pushed them to seek some solace, if just temporary, in a drink.
And why wouldn’t it? There is a strong culture for women that promotes wine as a remedy.  The socio-economic statuses and powers held by women have risen in the last several years. Marketing companies have noticed and target women specifically with ‘lite’ or ‘fruit’ drinks and images that promote a glass of wine or alcoholic beverage as a standard for every function, from a zoom call with family to a child’s birthday party. 
The problem with this is that women are now paying the price, with liver damage and disease increasing at alarming rates.
Alcoholic Liver Disease In Women: Women Are Affected More
Research finds that women are more vulnerable to the adverse consequences of alcohol use. They achieve higher alcohol concentrations in their blood faster. It’s possible for women to also become more impaired in their cognitive functioning than men do when comparing equivalent amounts of alcohol consumed. They are also more susceptible to alcohol-related organ damage. This makes sense as the number of alcoholic liver diseases in women has increased as the percentages of women drinking more have also risen.
Ocean Hills Recovery: Ready To Walk With You
We know that you may feel like you need to do it all and be it all for everyone and everything but the truth is, you just can’t. Turning to alcohol to numb the depression or anxiety you may be feeling might seem like a temporary fix, but your dependence upon alcohol grows quickly. If you feel like you need a drink or two to get through each day or help lessen the anxiety, you’ll likely find that’ll double quickly as your tolerance builds.
We understand. We know that you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. The concerning thing about alcoholic liver disease in women is that organ damage can happen quickly and often irreversibly. But, you can make it through these days free from the chains of alcohol misuse, and we can help you. Our compassionate and caring staff at Ocean Hills Recovery wants to walk with you. You don’t have to be another statistic of alcoholic liver disease in women.
If you’re concerned about how the alcohol you’re drinking now may turn into liver disease in the future, contact us today to work with you to limit or quit using alcohol and live the healthy life you were meant to live.
Sources: https://www.uwhealth.org/news/uw-health-seeing-trends-of-increased-liver-disease-in-young-adults  https://www.rand.org/news/press/2020/09/29.html  https://www.aasld.org/  https://mspmag.com/health-and-fitness/how-mommy-juice-culture-gives-rise-to-alcohol-normalizatio/  https://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2346&context=utk_gradthes  https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa46.htm#:~:text=Women%20achieve%20higher%20concentrations%20of,traffic%20crashes%20and%20interpersonal%20violence.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.