One in ten Finnish women is heavy user of alcohol
The use of alcohol has been increasing steadily in all age-groups among Finnish women. Approximately one in ten women can be reckoned among the large-scale consumers or "heavy users" who take at least 16 drinks a week.
Some 5 to 10 per cent of female problem-drinkers have been driven to serious alcohol-related difficulties, while alcohol-related deaths among women have increased fourfold during the past two decades.
In fact, alcohol-related deaths are more common among working-age women than deaths from breast cancer.
In comparison, approximately one-fifth of male problem-drinkers are large-scale consumers, taking at least 24 drinks a week.
The information is based on a survey on alcohol use conducted by the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES).
Alcohol for many has become a daily or weekly habit to soften the pounding of their everyday life, helping to lift their spirits.
Elderly women frequently succumb to the temptation of drinking a little in secret every day, while there is a trend towards binge-drinking among younger women, who have developed a habit of drinking cider and wine, mainly at weekend parties.
Typically, women try to conceal their drinking problem longer than do their male counterparts, as alcoholism is still seen as more shameful in women than in men.
Mothers also fear losing their children if their alcohol-related problems are revealed. In fact many women with alcohol use disorders seek treatment only when they are facing the risk of losing custody of their children.
In addition to traditional addiction rehabilitation programmes, including detoxification and institutional treatment, there are a number of addiction treatment prorammes which women can attend once a week in order to discuss their problems anonymously.
The cold fact is that women cannot tolerate alcohol as well as men. They get drunk faster, become addicted to alcohol more quickly, and develop alcohol-related diseases quicker than men do.
Moreover, even a small amount of alcohol can harm a developing foetus.
One drink can consist of a bottle of light beer or cider, 12 cl of mild wine, or 4 cl of strong alcohol beverages.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Alcohol abuse most common killer of working-age Finnish men (1.11.2006)
National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES)