Alcoholism is dangerously prevalent in Western society, and it’s an especially devastating cause of death and depression among women. According to the OECD, a study shows that because of a lower alcohol tolerance and the peer pressure to keep up with males in the workforce, as well as the stigma attached to alcoholism, this condition is on the rise among career women, but is often kept hidden.

As the Wall Street Journal notes, the rise of drinking – especially wine consumption – among women is no accident. It’s even become a cultural trope. But the difference between a controlled glass or two during social occasions and physical dependence on alcohol is a very fine line that can quickly disappear after a stressful day. The difficulty of single parenthood and career stressors only increases that problem. It results in many women developing a serious drinking problem, often without really realizing it until much later.

Seeing Signs: What Constitutes As Alcoholism?

If you’re suspecting that one of your loved ones may indeed be suffering from too much alcohol consumption, don’t just let that stand alone as an unlikely guess. There are signs and symptoms to alcoholism that you can watch out for, which can help you differentiate the condition from when people are just consuming a healthy amount of alcohol.

What is Moderate Drinking?

First, the science. When it comes to what constitutes drinking in moderation, every agency has its own statistic, backed up by its own officials and scientists, as Forbes notes. The truth is, we don’t know how alcohol begins to affect the body negatively, and everyone has a unique tolerance to the substance.

Women have less body water and less blood. Thus, the ratio between blood and alcohol goes up faster in women of average height and men of below-average height in comparison to most men. Food intake is also important. Food, especially lipids, helps alleviate the effects of alcohol as it binds to your stomach’s contents and doesn’t escape into the bloodstream.

However, if we are to follow what the International Center for Alcohol Policies (now known as the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking) notes as the international average for drinking guidelines, then women should consume about 10-20 grams of ethanol per day, at maximum. 5 ounces of wine, then, contain 14 grams of alcohol.

How much is too much?

Too much, then, is when you exceed these guidelines by a lot. Having more than seven glasses of wine in a week may not necessarily be a sign of alcoholism among your loved one – but if she’s prone to binge drinking after work or on stressful days, downing a bottle of wine easily more than once a week, then she may be well on her way.

Some other signs include lying. If you’ve noticed that your loved one has been consuming alcohol in secret, that she’s been more drunk or tipsy as of late, or that her coping mechanism for especially hard days has been a glass or three, then consider an intervention. Stopping an addiction early may help you make the recovery much easier for the person. Otherwise, contacting some drug rehab centers for women like the River Source can help you avert a worsening situation, and understand the next steps moving forward.

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