Binge drinking is becoming more prevalent among older women

The evidence shows that binge drinking has increased in older women. It could be happening due to more freedom and economic stress, among other reasons.

Women worldwide have nearly caught up with men in terms of binge drinking, according to research conducted by several organizations. In fact, binge drinking in general may be so common now that it is a public health crisis, according to research in JAMA Psychiatry. It has even increased among older women, and here is a look at some reasons that could be driving the rise in older women, both in California and across the nation.

Old habits remain

Women who started drinking at a younger age may not see a reason or need to cut down on their drinking, just as their male counterparts do not. Alcohol can provide stress relief and other benefits no matter the drinker's age.

More freedom

Women have more freedom than before in many areas of society. The stigma against women drinking is not as strong as it used to be. This can affect older women in several ways. An older woman who has never really been a drinker before might see her friends or counterparts drinking and want to participate. Or, a woman who has been somewhat of a drinker for a while already may not feel any social pressure to cut down on her drinking or quit when, years ago, she might have.

Women are also in higher levels in the workplace. They must wine and dine clients just as men do.

Longer lifespans

Women in the United States are living relatively long lives. According to the Social Security Administration, a woman who turns 65 today would be expected to live until 86.6, on average. That is longer life span provides more years and more opportunities for drinking.

The recession

Some researchers theorize the recession that began in 2008 and ended only recently contributed to an overall increase in binge drinking. If older women felt economic or mental stress during this time, they could have turned to alcohol to help cope.

The potential dangers of drinking for older women

The prevalence of binge drinking among older women is something to keep an eye on for several reasons. For one thing, a woman who has always been able to handle her liquor well may now be on medications that do not mix well with alcohol. Plus, an older person, whether male or female, processes alcohol more slowly and reaches a higher BAC. There can be a higher risk of driving intoxicated and getting a license suspended even when a woman takes exactly the same precautions she did before. Health-wise, alcohol stays in the liver longer when a person is older, so the chances of liver damage are increased.

Women in California may be anxious and scared if they are charged with DUI after never having a problem with drinking. Contacting a DUI attorney to discuss their case, court procedures and possible resolutions can help them deal with the situation and help them get the best possible outcome.