Along with independence and a great career, many women are trying to keep up with the guys on the drinking front too. They enjoy going out for drinks with friends or having wine with a meal.
But is it possible that such social drinking can get out of control?
Everyone knows that alcohol can be addictive and that the disease of alcoholism is an enormous problem for many but of course women who are social drinkers are not in the same league as alcoholics. They don’t use alcohol to get them through the day; they don’t drink and drive and they are not craving a drink at odd times of the day or night. The problem is that although men still consume more units of alcohol than women – they are catching up fast. And the main reason is to give them confidence. A woman will find that a drink or two can help her in a social situation where she feels slightly out of her depth and the stresses of the day disappear so she can relax, or even have some fun.
Although women are mostly sensible about the amount of alcohol they consume, many are still regularly exceeding the limits. And they will have a big night out at weekends when they actually indulge in binge drinking. They could exceed the recommended weekly limit for women in just one go.
There are serious risks associated with such binge drinking, including:
- Long term effects to your health of memory loss, hypertension, alcoholic hepatitis, inflammation of the pancreas, liver disease, breast cancer, heart disease, weight gain, a higher risk of osteoporosis and damage to your skin.
- Risks to your safety and well being as you may become unaware of your surroundings, be in danger of being sexually assaulted or even raped, or generally behave inappropriately.
Women are substantially lighter than men and therefore the amount of alcohol they can safely consume is considerably less than men. The recommended weekly limit is a maximum of 14 units of alcohol which works out at around 7 glasses of wine or five pints of beer per week. Prolonged drinking over this weekly limit can cause serious damage and even irreversible health problems.
And it is not just young women at risk
The woman who shares a bottle of wine every evening with her husband is equally at risk. For example if a woman shared that bottle of wine every night for 10 to 20 years, she could get alcoholic cirrhosis from that alone. Most women will not even realise the harm they could be doing to their health.
If you feel that you might fall into this category of women, taking control of your life is the first step to stop the harmful effects of alcohol to the body. Moderation is best and can actually be quite beneficial but the relevant word is “moderation”.
The liver is a remarkable organ and is generously forgiving so that it will use its powers of regeneration if at all possible. But when the damage to the liver becomes irreversible through a process called cirrhosis, the normal structure of the liver is replaced with scar tissue. In this case, your skin will start to turn yellow, the kidneys will fail and to put it bluntly, you will die.
So what can you do to safeguard your health if you enjoy a drink?
Drinking in moderation is not usually a problem for your body if you stay below the recommended weekly alcoholic intake. You can enjoy a social night out without damaging your liver.
Here are some points to remember to keep you safe
Don’t give up the time spent relaxing with good friends and enjoying a drink or two – just make sure you follow, like everything else in life, the moderation rule.
- Work on your self confidence and self esteem in the right way rather than relying on several drinks to give you that all important confidence.
- Avoid going out with friends who are perhaps drinking too much and stick to those who drink in moderation.
- Only take sufficient money with you to pay for less alcohol or change to non alcoholic drinks once you have enjoyed the first or second alcoholic drink.
- Take your time and drink slowly.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach as drinking with a meal will not affect you in the same way and you will not want to drink as much.
- If you can get up and dance, do so. You will be too busy to drink!