More often, middle-aged women find that they are drinking alcohol more and more each day. A glass after a tiring day at work can quickly turn into one or two bottles.
Depression and anxiety, present during middle age, can be the trigger to start drinking too much alcohol in an attempt to deal with your negative feelings and emotions.
Many people do not believe in the concept of a midlife crisis, which occurs during middle age which makes life more difficult and miserable. With the midlife crisis, personal, emotional and financial deterioration in an adult’s life can begin. For women, this phase of life occurs at the same time as menopause, which can further exacerbate the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption.
The Problem can Start out Innocuously
You might think drinking with friends or a glass of wine at dinner doesn’t make a difference. But a glass of wine contains 12 grams of alcohol and takes an average of 2 hours to be discarded.
A document published by the Italian Higher Institute of Health Makes it clear: “the female body has half the capacity of the male to” digest “, discard the alcohol ingested also based on reduced body mass concerning the man and total fluids (less dilution capacity) so it is essential to avoid drinking in particular circumstances work that requires concentration, but also in specific cases, such as driving a vehicle.”
The research also clarifies why drinking alcohol can be more complicated for middle age women :
- “Menopause is a critical time during which psychological and organic disorders related to changes in hormonal balance can occur.
- Alcoholic beverages can negatively affect the already tricky hormonal balance.
- Fill in a moderate amount of consumption to increase your risk of cancer.
- Alcohol can cause mood swings. Therefore, drinking in anger can be a bad idea as it can exacerbate the aggression later.
- Alcohol, being variable from individual to individual, can cause sadness and depress. “
Women over 40s are also more likely to become addicted if they experienced drug addiction in their youth. The emotional chaos you may experience during the midlife crisis can make your judgment difficult. Instead of continuing to work on your recovery, you may think that alcohol and drugs are the only way to avoid emotional pain again.
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Does alcohol consumption increase in middle-age?
In Brazil, according to the IBGE, “alcohol consumption among women has increased: the index is 4.1 percentage points higher than in 2013 (12.9%). Driven by this increase among women, 26.4% of the adult population said they drank weekly in 2019 against 23.9% in 2013.”
“In Italy, about 67% of women consume beverages that hit the forehead 43% of the 1980s. The number of consumers is not only affecting younger generations. But, it also involves more generations of women. Even the elderly generation who remember well they did not receive, throughout their lives, formal education on how to consume alcohol, how to avoid abuse.”
Addiction is a disease that affected about 22.7 million U.S.’s citizens in 2013. In addition, drug addiction affects older citizens, with about 2.3 million adults over 40 needing treatment to treat disorders caused by drug use, etc.
Substance abuse, especially alcohol and prescription drugs, is one of the growing problems among middle-aged women in the United States. Yet, even though the number is growing exponentially, this epidemic is ignored and also underestimated.
Why are the Health Consequences for Middle-aged Women more Severe?
Alcohol causes depression.
The habit of drinking regularly and in excess is related to the symptoms of depression. However, it can be challenging to separate the cause and effect when the two are together. Alcohol affects several chemical nervous systems that play an essential role in regulating mood. One study found that women who drink alcohol get depressed after drinking. Reducing or interrupting alcohol intake helps to improve mood and deal with depression.
Weight gain due to alcohol addiction.
Weight gain and high alcohol consumption are directly related to people who drink heavily. However, in moderate drinkers, it may be different. Also, different types of alcohol have other effects on the body.
In the U.K., a regular wine drinker gets 2,000 extra calories a month. That adds up to 44,200 extra calories in one year. This is too much. Alcohol addiction is causing weight gain, and middle-aged menopausal women, who already tend to put on weight due to decreased metabolism, are more exposed to gain weight quickly.
Hot flashes and menopause.
Menopause affects women in their 40s. During the ten years leading up to this period, women may experience a variety of symptoms., Typically, when the effects of excessive alcohol consumption subside, a person may experience hot flashes because of the alcohol hangover.
Many middle-aged women say that drinking alcohol – especially red wine – causes hot flashes. Also, several small studies even claim that hot flashes are caused after drinking alcohol.
University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore “The mechanism of association between alcohol use and hot flashes is unknown. Some studies have shown that alcohol use alters sex steroid hormone levels, and sex steroid hormones are associated with the risk of hot flashes.
Interact with medications.
The consumption of alcoholic beverages can interact with a wide range of drugs. Alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of some drugs and cause or increase their side effects. When taking medication, always read the package leaflet labels and warnings carefully.
In middle age, many women need treatments that help them manage the symptoms of menopause, hypertension, hypothyroidism, among others. Therefore, it is essential before starting any treatment to consult your doctor and discuss the problem.
Alcohol can Affect Women’s Health Heavily.
The consequences of excessive alcohol consumption are more severe for women than men. As the feminine body absorbs alcohol slowly, leading to higher blood alcohol levels.
Here are some of them:
Breast cancer: Research suggests that more than one alcoholic drink a day may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer in some women, especially for those who reach middle age and are in menopause or postmenopause
Heart disease: Chronic alcoholism is a significant cause of cardiovascular disease. And again, women are more susceptible to alcohol-related heart disease.
Premature ageing: alcoholic beverages dehydrate the body and skin, so wrinkles are more noticeable. Besides, alcohol consumption alters sleep patterns. So when the person does not rest at night, the signs of ageing the next day are more evident.
If You Are Carrying that Burden
Dealing with a midlife crisis is difficult because the person’s feelings scream that something is wrong and needs to be corrected immediately. A sense of urgency and the feeling that time is running out can lead people to make hasty and even destructive decisions or an addiction.
If you are dealing with addictions and midlife crises, there is hope for you. First, find a dependency therapist who can relate to you and start digging deep to find out why you need to use alcohol. They can also help you with other aspects of the midlife crisis you are experiencing.
Often, middle-aged women who are experiencing a hard time or have a problem feel lonely and isolated. Find someone to open up to, and if you have no one to trust, see a therapist, look for an association like Alcoholics Anonymous or your doctor.
UOL, By Giovanny Gerolla, 22/06/2013 “Por que as mulheres estão bebendo cada vez mais?”, available at: https://www.uol.com.br/universa/noticias/redacao/2013/06/22/por-que-as-mulheres-estao-bebendo-cada-vez-mais.htm accessed 02/12/2020.
U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes by Chrissy Schilling, M.S., a Lisa Gallicchio, Ph.D.,b Susan R., Sc.D.,c Patricia Langenberg, PhD,d Howard Zacur, M.D., Ph.D.,c and Jodi A. Flaws, PhD. a,d,e “Health Current Alcohol Use, Hormone Levels, and Hot Flashes in Midlife Women”, available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1949018/ accessed 01/12/20202.
Ministero della Salute Italiana, by Gruppo di Lavoro CSDA Centro Servizi Documentazione Alcol dell’Osservatorio Nazionale Alco SIA Alcol: sei sicura? 2007 Roma “Donna e Alcol Il libretto per conoscere e non rischiare,” available at: http://www.salute.gov.it/imgs/C_17_opuscoliPoster_101_allegato.pdf accessed 10/11/2020.
Agencia IBGE, attualizado em 2019, 18/11/2020, “Impulsionado pelas mulheres, consumo de álcool cresce entre brasileiros,” available at: https://agenciadenoticias.ibge.gov.br/agencia-noticias/2012-agencia-de-noticias/noticias/29472-impulsionado-pelas-mulheres-consumo-de-alcool-cresce-entre-brasileiros-em-2019 accessed 30/11/2020.