One-third of Australian women are considered high-risk drinkers, yet women are unlikely to seek help specifically for alcohol. This means that the women you work with, have lunch with or care about may well be silently struggling with the overuse or misuse of alcohol.
Women’s use of alcohol often starts as a social activity before moving to an occasional method of stress relief and becoming an unhealthy habit that can feel overwhelming to overcome.
Understanding Anxiety From Alcohol in Women
High Sobriety (2013), a book by Jill Starktook about her year off alcohol, reveals an experience many Australian women have identified with. Many women who perhaps engaged in binge drinking in their teens or twenties assumed they would stop when they had children, yet found they would turn to alcohol to manage their stress and anxiety.
“We need to encourage young women to look at other ways to relieve stress,” Jill told Emma Reynolds in an article for News.com.au. “Women have more anxiety issues relating to their self-esteem and gain more confidence from drinking.”
According to Beyond Blue, women experience mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress at higher rates than men. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 women in Australia will experience depression, and 1 in 3 women will experience anxiety during their lifetime.
Women often use alcohol to self-medicate anxiety or mental and emotional distress, even though alcohol has depressive effects and can perpetuate the problem. Using alcohol to manage anxiety has become socially normalised for many women. It’s not surprising that the misuse of alcohol by educated women in their 40s and 50s is growing.
Anxiety From Alcohol: Who Is Most At Risk?
A study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development revealed women in law, education, and finance are statistically more prone to consuming hazardous amounts of alcohol regularly.
Associate Professor Tim Slade, lead author of a study by UNSW’s National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, advises women are “more likely to seek help for almost any problem, but not alcohol.”
It’s essential we create a culture of care and acceptance for women who may be at risk of alcohol misuse. A shame-free approach recognises that alcohol misuse is a symptom of a health or well-being concern, and getting help is a sign of strength and wisdom.
6 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Drinking Habits
If you’re concerned about your drinking habits or feel you might be using alcohol to cope with other conditions such as anxiety, ask yourself the following six questions to help explore your concerns further:
- Do you ever feel guilty or ashamed about your drinking?
- Do you ever hide your drinking or lie about how much you drink?
- Have you ever had a friend or family member express concern about how much you drink?
- Do you feel that it is impossible to relax without drinking alcohol?
- Do you have memory lapses or blackouts, making it difficult to work out what you did while drinking?
- Do you ever have a drink and consume more than you intended?
If, after answering these questions, you think you might be at risk of alcohol misuse, please talk to a health professional. Getting help early can prevent significant health concerns from developing.
Overcome Anxiety From Alcohol With Help From The Banyans
A personally designed wellness program in a residential setting can assist those seeking a private, confidential residence with therapeutic support.
The Banyans Health and Wellness has welcomed women of all ages and professional backgrounds and provides excellent biopsychosocial support in a warm and caring environment.
Designed for integrated restoration and with an expert team of therapists, health practitioners and wellness coaches, The Banyans Health and Wellness Residence is a place where body and soul prosper in an environment of rest, wellness, and inspired living.
Speak to our expert team any time on 1300 226 926 or complete an online form for a confidential discussion about how you or someone you care about can benefit from The Banyans alcohol addiction programs.