Home » Alcohol consumption by women: More than one glass of champagne or one glass of beer – every day

Alcohol consumption by women: More than one glass of champagne or one glass of beer – every day

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Alcohol consumption by women: More than one glass of champagne or one glass of beer – every day

In Germany, alcohol addiction is seen as a men’s problem. In general, statistics show that men use the bottle more often than women. They drink themselves to a binge more often and consume alcohol more often in risky quantities. For a long time that was the rule.

But now things are changing: Young women have caught up with men of the same age in risky alcohol consumption. Risky alcohol consumption among women between the ages of 18 and 25 has been increasing since 2015, according to the alcohol survey from 2022 published by the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA).

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More and more young women are drinking alcohol every day in quantities equivalent to more than a glass of champagne or a small glass of beer. In a representative survey by the BZgA in 2021, 16.4 percent of young women and 16.9 percent of young men said they had drunk alcohol in quantities that were harmful to their health in the past twelve months. For men, this equates to more than two glasses of sparkling wine or two small glasses of beer per day.

Young women in particular drink in alarming quantities

Where does the trend come from? “Fortunately, young people grow up in a world where young women have the same opportunities and the same risks as young men,” says the President of the German Society for Addiction Research and Therapy, Falk Kiefer. “Accordingly, it is obvious that drinking behavior is becoming more similar.” The phenomenon is also a consequence of emancipation.

According to projections, around 7.9 million people in Germany between the ages of 18 and 64 drink alcohol in a risky manner, as the German Addiction Center (DHS) reported last year in its “Addiction Yearbook”. Around 4.1 million of them are men and 3.8 million are women. According to the “Alcohol Atlas Germany 2022”, published by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), among women it is primarily young people who consume risky alcohol.

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Addiction help facilities in Germany have to adapt to this development, says Kiefer. “We currently still have a large majority of men in addiction help,” says the addiction expert, who is medical director at the Central Institute for Mental Health in Mannheim. Accordingly, the offer is aimed primarily at male patients.

In his opinion, women generally do not need any other therapies. However, an equal exchange must be made possible in discussion groups. Offers specifically for alcoholic women are therefore sensible and necessary.

Social change is changing drinking behavior

Stephanie Krüger, who heads the mental health department at two facilities at the Berlin Vivantes Clinics, is also convinced of this. Both houses run a center for women’s mental health, which specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of female psychological complaints and illnesses.

She also believes that the changing drinking behavior is linked to social changes: “Women don’t want to be left behind, they want to keep up everywhere. And then they say: “Then I’ll just let myself get drunk, I can do that just as well,” says the psychiatrist.

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Nevertheless, it is still less socially acceptable for women to drink alcohol, says Krüger. “A woman who drinks in public, a woman who smokes or someone who behaves completely uninhibited is much more likely to be stigmatized than a man and is still socially ostracized today.”

According to the psychiatrist, women drink secretly much more often than men. In their facilities, women stayed to themselves in all discussions: “There is more openness and the underlying problems are better understood because other women can also identify with them.”

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The number of drunk women in rescue centers is increasing

There is a special consultation hour for women between the ages of 18 and 24 where they can speak in a “protected and unbiased manner”. So far, she has not been able to recognize that the changed drinking behavior is leading to an increase in psychological complications, says Krüger.

However, the number of women who end up in the rescue center while intoxicated is increasing. “We often have severe intoxications, especially among young women, with various substances, including alcohol, in the rescue center.” Some have up to three or four alcohol per mille.

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The psychiatrist believes that other factors also played a role in the development. Many young women felt pressured, for example by beauty ideals that were spread on social media. “I can imagine that this pressure leads to people seeking relief in the form of alcohol and drugs and, when intoxicated, wanting to forget that they were ghosted or bullied.”

Ghosting refers to a sudden break in contact. It is all the more important to pay particular attention to young women: “This is an age at which mental illnesses often first manifest themselves.” Alcohol can promote or worsen this.

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Even though alcohol consumption in Germany has fallen overall in recent decades, according to the DHS, Germans still drink a lot compared to other European countries. This has consequences: According to the Alcohol Atlas, around 20,000 new cancer cases every year can be traced back to alcohol consumption.

It is estimated that more than 8,000 people die from alcohol-related cancer. Around 14,200 people died from illnesses caused exclusively by alcohol in 2020.

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Addiction expert Kiefer assumes that the increased alcohol consumption among women will spread across all generations over time. It is very likely that the number of women addicted to alcohol will also increase. If you start drinking alcohol every day at a young age, increase the dose over time.

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