Australian researcher Hanna Watling has been focusing on statistics of middle-aged women who drink. ABC News Australia reports
on Watling’s research and why middle-aged women’s drinking habits could be dangerous.
Watling’s goal is to determine why middle-age is the period when women drink most. Part of Watling’s research involved offering an online survey to Australian women between 45-59 who drank alcohol a minimum of once in the past 30 days. The intent is to discover what is behind the demographic’s drinking habits and potentially provide more relevant alcohol treatment.
Effects of Alcohol Use
According to ABC News Australia, Watling points out that in some cases, women who upped their alcohol consumption “more than tripled
their lifetime risk of death from alcohol-related diseases.” The trend toward adult drinking is concerning, because although middle-aged women have less drinks at a time, alcohol makes an appearance at the table more often. Consistent drinking can become habit forming, and although the article doesn’t speak to alcoholism directly, Watling thinks the research findings could better inform “interventions” for women affected by alcohol use.
Symptoms of Alcoholism?
Recurrent drinking can signal a substance abuse problem. Hanna Watling speculates drinking might become either routine or stress relieving for women.
For women in their 40s and 50s, life is heavily marked by transition. Physically women transition through menopause, and relationally women in this age become empty nesters, restructuring their home and social lives. Does the stress of all these changes cause a need for reducing tension? Past research
notes it could be possible. Or are women who have reached a few decades of life experience simply more comfortable with their drinking habits and less concerned with restricting use? It doesn’t seem clear yet whether these women are experiencing alcoholism or simply on the edge of a potentially destructive trend.
Regardless of the findings from Hanna Watling’s current research, the focus of her study brings awareness to a specific age group that might be more susceptible to substance abuse.
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