FACTS AND STATISTICS
WOMEN AND ALCOHOL KEY FACTS
- According to the National Institutes of Health, research shows that drinking, binge drinking, and extreme binge drinking by women are increasing.
- Female alcohol use disorder in the United States increased by 83.7% from 2002 to 2013, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
- High-risk drinking, defined as more than three drinks in a day or seven in a week for women, is on the rise among women by about 58%, according to a 2017 study comparing habits from 2001-2002 and 2012-2013.
- A 2018 study found a steep rise in the rate of alcohol-related ER visits between 2006 and 2014, and increases were larger for women than men.
- Death from liver cirrhosis rose in women from 2000 to 2013.
- Women who drink have a higher risk of certain alcohol-related problems compared to men.
- Studies show that women start to have alcohol-related problems sooner and at lower drinking levels than men for reasons including women typically weigh less than men, alcohol resides predominantly in body water, and pound for pound, women have less water in their bodies than men.
The risk of cirrhosis and other alcohol-related liver diseases is higher for women than for men.
- When a woman and a man of the same weight drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman has a higher blood alcohol concentration, putting her at greater risk for harm.
- Approximately 46% of adult women report drinking alcohol in the last 30 days.
- Approximately 12% of adult women report binge drinking 3 times a month, averaging 5 drinks per binge.
- Most (90%) people who binge drink are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent.
- About 2.5% of women and 4.5% of men met the diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence in the past year.
- National surveys show that about 1 in 2 women of child-bearing age (i.e., aged 18–44 years) drink alcohol, and 18% of women who drink alcohol in this age group binge drink.
- Excessive drinking may disrupt the menstrual cycle and increase the risk of infertility.
- Women who binge drink are more likely to have unprotected sex and multiple sex partners. These activities increase the risks of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
- About 10% of pregnant women drink alcohol.
Approximately 12% of adult women report binge drinking 3 times a month, averaging 5 drinks per binge.
- More than 3 million women in the US are at risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy.
- Women who drink alcohol while pregnant increase their risk of having a baby with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). The most severe form is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).
- It is not safe to drink at any time during pregnancy.
- Excessive drinking increases a woman’s risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature delivery.
- Women who drink alcohol while pregnant are also more likely to have a baby die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This risk substantially increases if a woman binge drinks during her first trimester of pregnancy.
- The risk of cirrhosis and other alcohol-related liver diseases is higher for women than for men.
- Excessive drinking may result in memory loss and shrinkage of the brain. Research suggests that women are more vulnerable than men to the brain damaging effects of excessive alcohol use, and the damage tends to appear with shorter periods of excessive drinking for women than for men.
- Studies have shown that women who drink excessively are at increased risk for damage to the heart muscle than men even for women drinking at lower levels.
- Alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast among women. The risk of breast cancer increases as alcohol use increases.
- Binge drinking is a risk factor for sexual assault, especially among young women in college settings. Each year, about 1 in 20 college women are sexually assaulted. Research suggests that there is an increase in the risk of rape or sexual assault when both the attacker and victim have used alcohol prior to the attack.