The problem of alcohol abuse has been with humankind since its narcotic effects were first discovered over 9,000 years ago.
And for much of history, it was a problem that afflicted men far more than women.
And while that is still true, things in America are changing.
New data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism shows that between 1999 and 2017, the death rate from alcohol abuse rose by 51%.
It rose by more than 85% for women alone.
According to the Institute’s Deputy Director, “more women are drinking, and they are drinking more.”
Make no mistake about it, men in America are still dying from alcohol abuse at staggering rates - 72,558 in just 2017 alone (vs. 18,072 women in the same year).
Health authorities site an aging baby boom generation and cumulative effects of decades of alcohol abuse as partly to blame for the rising death rates.
They also point to the fact that the opioid epidemic has witnessed the deaths of many who combined alcohol and opioids.
But neither of these factors fully explains the dramatic rise in alcohol abuse and subsequent mortality seen in women.
Part of the rising mortality appears tied to the fact that alcohol is more likely to cause cardiovascular problems and some cancers in women.
Another factor seen in the data – teen girls for the first time in history are as likely to drink as boys.
Researchers are hoping there is a silver lining to all the data. They suggest that perhaps what we are seeing is a rise in alcohol deaths tied to an aging baby boom generation and nothing more. They also note that rates of teenage consumption of alcohol are falling.
Taken together – perhaps there is hope that the scourge of alcoholism is nearing a period of decline.
Only time will tell.
If you are struggling with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol and need help in Connecticut, New Hampshire or Southern Maine, the recovery teams at Aware Recovery Care are here to help. Our unique model of care is giving clients a significantly better chance of recovery when compared to traditional inpatient rehab care. To learn more or to talk to one of our Recovery Specialists, visit www.awarerecoverycare.com.