Young Women and Alcohol

How much is too much?

  • Sixty percent of U.S. women have at least one drink a year. Among women who drink, 13 percent have more than seven drinks per week.
  • More than one drink per day is considered "too much" for women.
  • Wisconsin women of childbearing age are more likely to drink than women nationally.

Health Risks

  • Alcoholic liver disease: Women are more likely than men to develop alcoholic hepatitis (liver inflammation) and to die from cirrhosis.
  • Brain disease: Most alcoholics have some loss of mental function, reduced brain size, and changes in the function of brain cells. Research suggests that women are more vulnerable than men to alcohol-induced brain damage.
  • Cancer: Many studies report that heavy drinking increases the risk of breast cancer. Alcohol also is linked to cancers of the digestive track and of the head and neck (the risk is especially high in smokers who also drink heavily).
  • Heart disease: Chronic heavy drinking is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease. Among heavy drinkers, women are more susceptible to alcohol-related heart disease, even though women drink less alcohol over a lifetime than men.

What Alcohol  Does to Women

                                             Women And Alcohol
                                                      Fact sheet

  Women affected by alcohol

    - 1.6 million alcoholics USA

    -Fastest growing segment of alcohol abuse in the population

  • Women who have a higher risk
    • family history of alcohol
    • victim of violence
    • Alcoholic partners
    • Bulimia (correlation)
    • Depressed
    • single
    • middle aged (retired, divorced, alone)
    • Grieving
  • What is binge drinking?
  • Excessive drinking sometimes to the point of blacking out or passing out.
    • 18.44% of women at child bearing age use alcohol, 15% binge drink
    • 7.6% pregnant women used alcohol
  • Excessive drinking may disrupt menstrual cycle and increase the risk of infertility or miscarriage.
  • Alcohol consumption- relationship with mouth, throat, esophagus, liver and breast cancer.  

State specific (2012)

look at the printed sheet.

Case Study (real life)

In other countries

Risky drinking  patterns case study's

To explain the risky behaviors of women and whether it continue into pregnancy. This study was done in Australia and concluded that women who had risky behaviors before pregnancy continued during and after.

Low/ middle income




high stress

61% continued binge drinking into pregnancy

47% just stop drinking weekly

Alcohol Use in Pregnant Women

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)  

  • FASD is the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy, while FAS is a specific birth defect.
  • Effects an estimated 40,000 newborns each year in the U.S.
  • There is no cure for FASDs.
  • Possible signs: behavior problems, organ dysfunction, slowing growth, maternal alcohol use, etc.
  • Diagnosing FAS can be difficult since there is no medical test. ( abnormal facial features, growth problems, and central nervous system problems)
  • Primary disabilities: lower IQ, impaired ability in various subjects, and lower level of adaptive functioning
  • Many strengths for a person with FASD: cheerful, helpful, likable, etc.
  • Difficulties for a person with FASD: sensory, physical, information processing, executive function and decision-making, and self-esteem along with personal issues
  • FASDs can lead to "secondary conditions." (mental health problems, disrupted school experience, trouble with the law, inappropriate sexual behavior, and alcohol and drug problems)
  • FASDs are 100% preventative.


Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs). (2014, July 24). Retrieved April 10, 2015, from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:

Anderson AE, Hure AJ, Forder PM, Powers J, Kay-Lambkin FJ, et al. (2014)Risky drinking patterns Are Being Continued into Pregnancy: a Prospective Cohort study. PloS ONE 9(7): e 86171. doi:10.1371/journal.pone0086171

Data & Statistics. (2015, January 28). Retrieved April 3, 2015, from

Health Topics: The facts About Women and Alcohol. (2014).  Retrieved March 1, 2015, from

FASD: The Basics. (2015, April 1). Retrieved April 10, 2015, from FASD Center for Excellence website:

Women and Drinking. (2008). Retrieved April 14, 2015, from National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website:

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