During this pandemic, alcohol abuse among young women is on the rise. Studies show that cases of alcoholic liver disease – such as alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis – were already increasing before the Coronavirus hit. During this shut-down cases of liver disease among women in their 20’s and 30’s have increased by around 30% according to a recent NPR podcast on the situation.
What is the cause of this rise in alcohol abuse and liver disease in young women?
Biologically, young women are more susceptible to liver damage from alcohol consumption. But in addition to that fact, loss of jobs among women, taking on more responsibilities at home, and general social isolation have all contributed to this issue. Not to mention that alcohol is often marketed as a way to “wind down” and cope with stress. This factor has played into a large increase in consumption as well.
The road to alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis, especially severe versions, can vary from person to person. Liver specialists say it can be exacerbated by obesity, certain genetic factors, and underlying health problems.
Drinking a glass or two of wine — even every day — is unlikely to cause this sort of liver damage in many people, the experts say, though it’s possible.
Doctors are seeing patients who have edged up to higher amounts of drinking in the last year during this pandemic. Some to a bottle of wine, or 5-6 drinks, a day. This increases the chances of liver disease. Sometimes even severe enough to require hospitalization. And binge drinking, even if less frequent, can also be damaging.
So how do we treat this issue?
Firstly, we need to understand the underlying problems. Whether hereditary addiction issues, suppressed domestic or sexual trauma, or just isolation…the alcohol abuse is the symptom. The base issue is what needs to be addressed.
Do you have a problem?
This is a scary question. Many people that use alcohol to relieve stress and anxiety shy away from finding out if their problem is actually serious. There are some useful tools online to gauge if you indeed are drinking too much – this is a great resource from Alcoholics Anonymous to see if you are in need of some help. Frightening as it may be, knowledge is power. And we are here for you.
What to do if you think you need help
The counselors at Waters Edge Counseling are trained in Substance Abuse issues, and we are here to help you come to terms with any issues you may have. This is a no-judgment zone. We will, of course, work with you to discover the root of the problem. Waters Edge can help you dig deep, face those issues, and help you with resources to turn this around.
It has been an extremely stressful year. There is no shame in admitting that you have leaned on something – possibly alcohol – to help you get through this time. But facing it head on is a healthy way to get better. We are here for you. We make scheduling an appointment with one of our counselors extremely easy with our online scheduling system. And you can always call us at 912.319.5552 to learn more.