The Connection Between Advertising and Alcohol Abuse in Women

Editorial Team

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The Connection Between Advertising and Alcohol Abuse in Women

Heavy drinking has become a serious problem among families and women are at just as high of a risk as men. In fact, recently, it seems as though there has been a significant increase in alcohol marketing geared specifically toward women. Does this have a connection to the rise of alcohol abuse in women? It’s hard to think that there has been no impact.

Marketing Has Made Heavy Drinking Among Women Seem Normal

About a decade ago, marketers began to promote alcoholic beverages in a new way. Rather than using sex and romance to market alcohol, there was an approach that showed women drinking wine to handle their daily stresses. There were ads popping up on social media with women holding quarts of whiskey and sitting by the men at bars throwing down shots. This new advertising approach turned women’s liberation into including heavy drinking, which according to researchers promoted and contributed to a cultural shift that has led women in America to drink more and consume alcohol more frequently than their mothers and grandmothers. This has also resulted in more deaths in women because of alcohol consumption leaving women who don’t drink not as common as it was in the past.

The statistics for women drinkers are startling. White women are much more likely to drink dangerously, with more than 25% drinking several times a week. The share of binge drinking among the group has increased 40% since 1997, a federal health data analysis done by the Washington Post revealed. More than a million women found themselves in the emergency room because of heavy drinking in 2013. Middle-aged women of all races are most likely to be those suffering from severe intoxication and more frequent drinking. The increase in drinking has led to a significant increase in early mortality. Since 1999, the rate of alcohol-related deaths for white women between ages 35 and 54 has more than doubled, accounting for about 8% of deaths in that age group.

Drinking Among Women is on the Rise

The marketing approach has worked, and National Public Radio reported that women have seen a significant increase in alcohol consumption.  Besides there being more people drinking, more of them are consuming enough alcohol that it is dangerous and/or harmful, according to a study that was included in the JAMA Psychiatry. A federal agency for alcohol research sponsored the study, which studied changes in drinking patterns from 2002 to 2013 by using in-person surveys for tens of thousands of adults spread across the United States.

During that specified time-frame, drinking increased substantially with problem drinking increasing by an even higher percentage. Researchers say that increased alcohol consumption grew across the board, but even more so by women, racial minorities, older women, and those who are poor. According to the researchers, the findings reveal a “public health crisis” since high-risk alcohol consumption is linked to psychiatric problems, chronic diseases, auto accidents, violence, and crime. The study also showed that high-risk drinking, which involves drinking four or more drinks a day for women or five or more drinks a day for men on a weekly basis, rose by 29.9%. When broken down, it rose by about 58% among women. Problem drinking includes alcohol abuse, which is drinking to the point that it causes significant, recurrent problems in life, or alcohol dependence. Problems with alcohol increased almost 50%. The female population saw an increase of alcohol abuse and dependence by 83.7%.

The Changes Among Women Regarding Alcohol Consumption Throughout the Years

The gap between the sexes has narrowed throughout time as far as alcohol consumption is concerned. Among those born in the early 1900s, a man was twice as likely drink than his female counterpart. A man was three times as likely to have problematic drinking and three-and-a-half times as likely to suffer harm that is alcohol-related. Among those born in the late 1900s, those differences had almost disappeared. Men and women were consuming alcoholic beverages at almost the same rate by the end of the century. While this specific study didn’t map out the drinking patterns of men and women separately, it did reveal that 42 studies showed the converging alcohol use was driven by the higher frequency of women drinking.

According to ChildTrends, a recent study revealed that women with a bachelor’s degree are more likely to drink than women who aren’t as well educated. A study revealed that in 2014, 16% of mothers with bachelor’s degrees in two-parent households drank at least moderately, while 12% of mothers with less education drank at least moderately. As part of the federal government’s Healthy People 2020 initiative, there are multiple goals pertaining to alcohol abuse and consumption. While heavy drinking among parents isn’t addressed specifically, many of the goals do relate, such as reducing the occurrence of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), improving abstinence from alcohol before and during pregnancy, reducing the number of adults who are binge drinking, and reducing the number of adults drinking excessively.

Sober Living Can Be A Reality

If you have been drinking heavily or binge drinking, you can get back on track to a sober life. Alcohol abuse in women is a very serious problem that require prompt, dedicated care from a medical professional. Drinking alcohol isn’t like it is portrayed in those ads where the mother is enjoying a glass of wine as the kids play in the background. If you would like to leave your alcohol problems in the past, contact Springboard Recovery today to learn how we can develop a personalized treatment plan for you.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:,drinks%20or%20more%20per%20week.
  2. The Washington Post:
  3. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:
  4. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:
  5. npr:
  6. JAMA Network:
  7. Verywell mind:
  8. Verywell mind:
  9. Newsweek:
  10. Child Trends:

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OCTOBER 31, 2018

Robert Castan is a member of the Executive Leadership Team at SpringBoard Recovery. Robert started his professional career as a house manager and has become an industry leader and trusted voice in the treatment world. He brings extensive knowledge of organizational growth, industry-leading outcomes, and comprehensive marketing to SpringBoard Recovery. Robert has been walking his own path of recovery for over 10 years. This path has truly driven his ambition to help make treatment available to others who are struggling with addiction. Robert finds great joy in traveling and keeping physically active, with an emphasis on biking. Robert resides in Arizona with his husband and two four-legged children.   The U.S. Alcohol Crisis, Still Deadlier Than the Opioid Epidemic   Zombies and Other Future Threats to the Health of American Youth Dire Mental Health: A Catalyst for Post-Pandemic Drug Addiction The Benefits of Rehab Center Staff Working Their Own Recovery Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm Robert Castan on Successful Addiction Treatment and Entrepreneurship Castan: The road less traveled of addiction & recovery in Scottsdale Opioids & COVID Driving Phoenix’s Rising Fatal Drug Overdoses Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm Successful Addiction Treatment Programs & Entrepreneurship

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