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The Dangers of the “Wine Mom” Phenomenon

wine momThe recent release of “A Bad Mom’s Christmas” prompted CNN.com to question whether this portrayal of “bad moms” drinking/partying was more worrisome than funny. The comedy taps into a cultural phenomenon known as “wine mom” – which also coincides with a spike in alcohol use among women. Between 2002 and 2013, “high-risk drinking,” defined as consuming four or more drinks a day, rose among women by 58 percent, compared with a 29.9 percent rise for the general population, notes CNN.com.

Coincidence? There’s no research to date on whether the “wine mom” phenomenon has contributed to this rise, but experts believe there’s a connection.

“Moms drinking alcohol used to be taboo,” Emily Feinstein, director of health law and policy at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, told CNN.com “Now, we have more women acknowledging that being a mother is hard work, which is a good thing, and they need a drink at the end of their workday.”

Wine Mom: Why It’s Harmful, Not Hilarious
Certainly, being a “wine mom” doesn’t necessarily mean one has a drinking problem. But it could easily turn into a problem if you’re having more than a glass of wine (and alone or in secret) on a regular basis. Approximately 8 percent of women will be dependent on alcohol in their lifetime.

The warning signs of a functional alcoholic include:

  • Denial: For example: “I haven’t had any setbacks because of drinking.” “I only drink expensive wine.”
  • Eating habits: Are mealtimes an excuse to start drinking? Have you lost interest in food altogether?
  • Withdrawal signs: Are you irritable, nervous or uncomfortable when you’re forced to abstain from drinking?
  • Lack of control: Are you unable to stop after just one or two drinks?

What’s more, women are more vulnerable than men to the damaging effects of excessive alcohol use, and the damage tends to appear with shorter periods. Women who drink excessively are at an increased risk of the following:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Cirrhosis and other alcohol-related liver diseases
  • Damage to the heart muscle
  • Cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon and breast

Even if you don’t have a problem per say, you may be sending a bad message to your kids. “If they see you are drinking to deal with stress, then they learn that is how they should deal with stress,” cautions Feinstein.

Another valid point made in the article: The “wine mom” phenomenon further alienates moms in recovery. “Even as someone who was really secure in my sobriety, I found I couldn’t relate to other moms. There was always this wink and a nod about how you have to have that glass of wine,” Britni de la Cretaz, a recovering alcoholic who became a mother when she was three years sober, told CNN.com. “I don’t think there is anything wrong with drinking; what concerns me is the message being sent to women that the only way they can get through parenting is by drinking.”

Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse
At Family Recovery Specialists, we provide women with an alcohol dependency with a full continuum of care, including medical detox, group and individual therapy, relapse prevention and aftercare planning. Our team takes a holistic approach to addiction treatment that includes a blend of therapy, self-management techniques and symptom management. To learn more about our program or to begin the admissions process, call today: 305-595-7378.

Family Recovery Specialists offers adolescent and adult substance abuse counselors, treatment and consulting in Miami.

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