Overturning of Roe v Wade and worldwide pandemic exacerbate Women’s risk for Alcoholism and Co-occurring mental health disorders

Women’s health and wellbeing have been at the forefront of discussion since the recent June 2022 Supreme Court ruling overturning the historic Roe v Wade. This controversial decision revokes the fundamental health rights, at the federal level, to privacy that protects a persona’s choice to have an abortion. The impact of this significant decision can have devastating implications on the mental health of women. Even more so on women in marginalized communities. Another major factor that has impacted women’s health was the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a study from the RAND Corporation, women have increased their heavy drinking days by 41% compared to pre-pandemic days. Along with increased alcohol consumption, research has also found greater risks of psychological stresses related to COVID-19. 

roe v wade

With a multitude of compounding factors contributing to the disturbance of women’s health, are women at greater risk for developing alcohol use disorders in addition to co-occurring mental health disorders? 

In light of the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn the 1973 landmark case, women have faced many more hurdles and obstacles relating to their mental health. Women who already have underlying mental health conditions can face exacerbated symptoms with an increase of anxiety, depression, PTSD, stigmatized grief and even the development of substance abuse and addiction.

Forced pregnancies can result in distressing emotional, physical and even financial pressures. For some women, financial responsibilities related to pregnancy costs and the costs of childcare, causes immense stress. The loss of control of ones own body can also trigger feelings of devaluation in social society, where issues such as sexual harassment in the work place and a discrepancy in gender pay gap are still problematic. 

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These significant factors that are a result of banning legal abortions have a negative impact and extreme consequences on women’s mental health. When these mental health conditions become more intense, many will turn to substances such as alcohol as a way of coping and self-medicating. Substance self medication can directly lead to the development of an alcohol use disorder and addiction. 

Consumption of alcohol in women has slowly been on the rise and was only intensified because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The gender gap between men and women’s drinking habits are getting smaller and closer to a 1 to 1 ratio. Many factors can contribute to this trend in changing social norms of female alcohol consumption. 

The alcohol industry is targeting the female market with “chick beer”, “skinnygirl margaritas”, low calorie alcohol infused seltzers and much more. The rise in “Mommy wine culture” has given off the impression that the stresses of life make it acceptable to have a glass of wine every so often. Because of the pandemic, alcohol is now more accessible and even easier to obtain through online websites and app delivery services. During the height of the pandemic when much of society was in lock down, alcohol was seen as a “cure” for pandemic woes and stresses. 

Reach out to Hotel California by the Sea

We specialize in treating addiction and other co-occurring disorders, such as PTSD. Our Admissions specialists are available to walk you through the best options for treating your addiction.

Unfortunately the risks of health conditions related to alcohol are much greater in women compared to men. Long term drinking can lead to liver damage, heart disease, brain damage and even cancer. These alarming consequences disproportionately affect women more intensely due to biological make up and a higher statistical rate of co-occurring mental health conditions.

When examining the risk factors and symptoms of alcohol use disorders and mental health conditions in women, premiere behavioral health and substance rehab providers such as Hotel California by the Sea can help. Hotel California by the Sea specializes in gender targeted programming for women with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. Clients have the options for multiple levels of care through detox, residential and outpatient programming, along with a variety of behavioral therapies utilized to address every aspect of a person’s addiction. 

With the unpredictable landscape in women’s health, Hotel California by the Sea will be there to guide each client through every step of their healing process. 

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/roe-v-wade-the-mental-and-physical-health-effects-of-anti-abortion-laws#Mental-health-effects

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/women-and-alcohol

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/03/opinion/american-women-alcohol-abuse.html

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/06/09/1003980966/women-now-drink-as-much-as-men-and-suffer-health-effects-more-quickly

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/women-alcohol-and-covid-19-2021040622219

https://www.verywellmind.com/the-mental-health-consequences-of-restricting-abortion-5496856