Wine Mom: Why Women Are Drinking More to Cope

Typically, the narrowing of the cis-gender gap is a good thing. But the news that women are gaining on male alcohol consumption, binge-drinking and alcohol use disorder is alarming. What was previously a 3-1 ratio for risky drinking habits in men versus women is now closer to 1-to-1.

You don’t have to look far for evidence of the changing attitudes around women and alcohol.  Mother’s Day gift guides sell wine glasses emblazoned with “Mommy Juice.” At happy hours, women are bellying up to the bar alongside their male co-workers, matching them, drink-for-drink. Many women routinely prepare dinner while sipping a glass of wine, often finishing off the bottle before bedtime.

According to a recent NPR headline, “Women Now Drink As Much As Men — Not So Much For Pleasure, But To Cope.” Alcohol is serving as a sure-fire way to decompress for many women, who are stressed out with the modern and usually inequitable demands of work and home life. In 2022, American women typically earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. The Pew Research Center also reports that women pick up a heavier load when it comes to household chores and caregiving responsibilities.

A recent article in The Atlantic draws a comparison between women’s modern day alcohol use and the over prescription of Valium in the 1970s to help women cope. As the article notes, “Gradually, booze has become the 21st-century ‘mother’s little helper’.”

This is dangerous because women can’t metabolize alcohol as quickly as men due to having less fluid in their bodies and lower levels of the enzyme ADH, which breaks down alcohol and reduces absorption. These impacts show more quickly with short term effects like slurred speech and feeling tipsy, as well as in severe long-term impacts like liver damage and cancers.

Many health-conscious women watch their diet and exercise closely and experts are advising they turn that attention towards their alcohol intake. The rise of the “sober curious” movement can encourage women to put the brakes on such frequent alcohol intake and instead search for healthier outlets.

Therapists at WellPower follow the “science of well-being” and promote proven stress-reduction techniques to help people live healthier lives and cope. To reduce alcohol intake, WellPower’s Chief Medical Officer, Jody Ryan, MD, recommends people change their routines. For example, instead of pouring that nightly glass of wine before dinner, he recommends a walk around the block or trying a recipe for a refreshing mocktail instead.

If you are concerned about your alcohol intake, consider participating in “dry months” or set limits on the amount of drinks or even when you drink. Studies show that cutting out alcohol for even a month can make a noticeable difference in your health with an increase in energy, weight loss, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and even a reduction in cancer-related proteins in the blood stream. WellPower’s TherapyDirect can help. TherapyDirect offers an immediate online connection to a professional therapist with no fees and no insurance needed. For more information on TherapyDirect, visit