New Study Finds Alcohol-Related Deaths Among Women Are on the Rise

A study published last week examined trends in alcohol-related deaths and found that, while men have always had higher rates of alcohol-involved deaths than women, the gap is narrowing.

Researchers analyzed 608,948 fatalities that occurred in the U.S. between 1999–2020. This data deep dive showed increases in alcohol-attributed deaths among both sexes—especially in recent years—but the rate of increase was higher among women.

According to the study, men are 2.88 times more likely to die from alcohol-related causes than women, which is consistent with previous findings.

However, from 1999 to 2007, the rate of alcohol fatalities among women increased by 1% every year. This rate jumped to 4.3% per year between 2007 and 2018 and then skyrocketed to 14.7% from 2018 to 2020, compared to an increase of 12.5% among men during the same time.

This alarming trajectory supports the claim made by other researchers that women are consuming more alcohol, in larger amounts and more frequently, than ever before. In 2021, more than 20% of women (or 27.3 million) admitted to in the past month.

The so-called “normalization” of alcohol use among women is a hotly debated subject, with more and more brands creating new products and marketing campaigns geared toward women. Think Skinnygirl Cocktails, Yes Way Rosé, the organic wine company Avaline, and countless others, coupled with the evolution of enabling catchphrases like “mommy juice” and “rosé all day.”

Some experts have linked such concepts to a rise in high-risk drinking and alcohol misuse among women.

This is particularly concerning because women are believed to be at higher risk than men for a myriad of health issues that stem from chronic alcohol use. These potential harms include an increased risk of breast cancer, as well as higher incidences of liver disease, heart disease, depression, stroke, stomach bleeding, and other cancers.

Women also tend to be smaller than men, and their bodies process alcohol differently than men, often leading them to get drunk faster and stay drunk longer.

The recent study found that women over 65 had a higher mortality rate than men in the same age group. Researchers believe this underscores the fact that women have increased health issues related to alcohol use, as compared to men.

The study results may also point to an uptick in stress levels and stress-related disorders among women, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Stress and other common co-occurring mental health conditions are known risk factors for alcohol addiction.

If you or someone you love has lost control of their drinking, professional treatment can help. Our Massachusetts alcohol rehab, inpatient rehab facility in Rhode Island, and other New England locations offer high-quality, personalized care designed to meet the individual needs of each patient.

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