In today’s vastly changing society, where women are no longer taking a back seat in education, career equality and in life, women are also experiencing some serious side effects of high-pressure living — alcoholism is on the rise.
Through the ’60s, the media portrayed smoking as cool, sophisticated and sexy until cancer came into the mix. While advertisers now have to insert a warning message on everything related to smoking, we now have booze advertisers sending out a message of safe drinking. Sex in the City was a huge promoter of women drinking while they enjoy the good life. There is a normalization of drinking portrayed in the media and we are seeing effects of this everywhere.
Dr. Dy Wolpert, founder of the DyLo House, a prominent holistic health care treatment center in Oxnard for men and women suffering from fear, depression, anxiety and all forms of addictions, believes that fear is a big issue.
“Women have a lot more pressure than men, not to mention the unrealistic expectations that have been placed on women over time — societal norms that have been somewhat dormant until the last decade. Fear is one of the biggest causes behind women drinking; it’s the culprit. Stress is a factor, but when stress becomes unmanageable, it produces high-anxiety,” Wolpert said.
There is no doubt that alcoholism and any type of addiction is invariably symptomatic of what is going on inside with a person. “Understanding that addiction is a symptom of something else is a simple premise. Indeed, addiction doesn’t just come out of nowhere, and it can get complicated,” Birnbaum said.
“No one becomes an alcoholic overnight. Like anything else, it develops over time. It’s about pain. It’s about the past. It’s about need and desire. It’s about disappointment. Triggers are out there. When anxiety happens, people want instant relief. Alcohol is an instant drug. Remember the movie Cat on a Hot Tin Roof? Brick is only interested in drinking to find peace from pain that click in his head. ‘You waitin’ on that click … it’s like a switch clickin’ off my head. Turns the hot light off and the cool one on and all of a sudden, there’s peace.’ They will keep drinking to into a stupor and it feels better than the pain,” Wolpert said.
There are a variety of reasons people turn to alcohol for pain relief, and according to Birnbaum, “Genetic disposition doesn’t mean that a person will become an addict. Currently, one in every five people in this country has a family member or someone they personally know with an addictive behavior issue.”
It is not only career women who are falling prey to the lure of alcohol. This is affecting women of all ages, including women over 60, especially divorced women who are experiencing the pangs of loneliness. “A lot of women are battling alcoholism at an older age, and there are numerous reasons for this,” Birnbaum said. “However, it’s highly important that we keep in mind the fundamental causes behind alcohol addiction: stress, depression and also untreated and undiagnosed psychological issues, which usually breed self-medication. If something is undiagnosed, a person cannot get medication, so alcohol is a legal drug, but it can be deadly,” Birnbaum said.