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Published January 29, 2010, 05:40 PM

More Women Battling Alcohol Addictions

The number of women battling alcohol addiction is on the rise. That's according to the latest statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The number of women battling alcohol addiction is on the rise. That's according to the latest statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Alcoholism and getting drunk used to be more associated with men, but over the last several decades, women have gained a lot of equality with men, including not being frowned upon for drinking.

Dr. Sharon Wilsnack says, “Women I think are using it as kind of a symbol of gender equality, you know drinking like a man and really taking some pride in being able to do those traditionally masculine behaviors.”

Doctor Sharon Wilsnack of the University of North Dakota is one of the nation's leading experts on women and alcohol. Wilsnack's studies show an increase in the number of women getting drunk, especially among women in their 20s. The percentage of women reporting being intoxicated jumped from around 27 percent to 43 percent between 1981 and 2001. As for women in their 20's...

“It went up two or three folds during that 20 year period. We're finding that upwards of 60 percent of women in their 20's are reporting getting intoxicated,” says Wilsnack.

Wilsnack says one of the main reasons behind the increase could be that women are under new stresses, and they resort to alcohol.

Wilsnack says, “Young women are told they can have it all. You can have a successful career. You can have a family, and there are those kinds of pressures on young women to do everything and do everything really well.”

While stress often prompts women to drink, men more often "down a few" during social situations.

“Women can really hide alcohol use. A lot of times they combine it with prescription drugs, and that's especially dangerous,” says Wilsnack.

Wilsnack is working to reverse the trend of women and drinking. She encourages those who have an alcohol addiction to seek help.

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