More and more women addicted to alcohol

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Drug officers: More and more women are affected by alcohol addiction. The Federal Government is very concerned about developments.

Around 1.3 million people in Germany are addicted to alcohol, including an estimated 370,000 women. In addition, children and adolescents are also increasingly using alcoholic luxury foods. A development that is not only viewed with concern by the Federal Government's drug commissioner.

Women are increasingly affected by alcohol addiction
While alcohol addiction has predominantly affected men so far, the proportion of alcohol-dependent women has increased massively in recent years. The federal government's drug commissioner Mechthild Dyckmans (FDP) is currently warning young people and children, in particular women, of the negative consequences and addictive potential of alcohol consumption. Since the organs in children and adolescents are not yet fully developed and alcohol can have particularly serious health consequences for them, the drug officer regularly addresses them with warning words. However, an explicit warning in the direction of women is unusual and shows how urgently Mechthild Dyckmans believes that action must be taken. At this year's annual conference of the drug commissioners, the main focus was on the problem of female alcohol dependence.

Up to 20 percent of women drink too much alcohol
A study carried out on her behalf showed that in certain sections of the population and age groups, 20 percent of women already consume too much alcohol and that a dangerous trend can also be observed in young girls, said the federal government's drug commissioner, Mechthild Dyckmans. According to their statements, around one in five women between the ages of 45 and 54 years have alcohol consumption that is too high, so that this age group can be seen as a special risk group.

More than 12 grams of pure alcohol a day are dangerous to health
The Federal Government's drug commissioner cannot base her arguments on the comparative figures from previous years, but still sees a worrying increase in female alcohol consumption. Mechthild Dyckmans believes that the fact that female metabolism is more sensitive to alcohol in particular is given far too little attention. Based on various scientific calculations, Dyckmans assumes that there is a considerable health risk if you consume around 12 grams of pure alcohol a day (approx. 0.3 liters of beer). Due to the special sensitivity of their metabolism to alcohol, the risk of developing liver cirrhosis or breast cancer is significantly higher for women if they consume alcohol.

Many women do not abstain from alcohol even during pregnancy
According to Dyckmans, alcohol consumption, which is relatively widespread, is particularly critical even during pregnancy. According to the Federal Center for Health Education (BzgA), only two out of ten women are able to drink no alcohol at all during pregnancy. "This is why too many children are born with fetal alcohol syndrome in Germany," explains Dyckmans, which can manifest itself in intellectual disabilities, but also in attention and behavioral disorders, and which can affect children for a lifetime. Recent studies have shown that even the smallest amounts of alcohol can have fatal health consequences for the unborn child.

Girls particularly at risk
The graduate psychologist Michael Klein from the Catholic University of North Rhine-Westphalia in Cologne also attributed the fact that the teenagers, especially the girls, often get drunk uncontrollably to addictions for daughters of alcohol-dependent mothers. Approximately 1.3 million girls are affected by the alcohol dependency of a parent, whereby a mother's alcohol addiction (due to its role model function) increases the risk of addiction for the affected daughters by 16 times, whereas the risk in boys only triples. In 2008, around 2,400 girls between the ages of 10 and 15 had to be treated with alcohol poisoning in the hospital, compared to around 2,100 boys of the same age. Against the background of this relatively high number of alcohol poisonings among young people as a whole, the drug commissioner of the German government also criticized that the controls of the youth protection law "apparently do not work".

Prevention measures must be targeted specifically at women
In addition to the new commercials already sent to warn of the negative consequences of alcohol consumption, Mechthild Dyckmans has announced various other measures that should not only include better offers in alcohol prevention and therapy, but also target the prevention measures specifically for women. "We have to take the special requirements of women into account," emphasized the Federal Government's drug commissioner.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), alcohol addiction among men and women causes about 24.4 billion euros in costs each year. The RKI adds up all the costs that are directly related to alcohol addiction. This includes early retirement, treatment costs and incapacity for work. (fp)

Also read:
Alcohol & overweight add up
Alcohol can increase asthma and hay fever
Late treatment of alcohol addiction
Addiction: More and more women are being treated

Photo credit: Paul-Georg Meister /

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Video: Straight Vodka Drinker. Addicted


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