6 Reasons Why Middle-Aged Woman May Have Substance Abuse Issues


Midlife can bring about a myriad of changes – from career shifts to empty nests – and for some women, it may also coincide with an unexpected challenge: a growing reliance on alcohol. In recent years, there’s been a noticeable uptick in alcohol consumption among midlife women, raising concerns about health and well-being. This gallery article explores what drives this trend.

The Societal Shift


Societal norms around alcohol usage have shifted dramatically. While past generations may have viewed drinking as a mainly male activity, women are now encouraged to unwind with a glass of wine or cocktail. This cultural shift and stigma-free availability can lead some middle-aged women to turn to liquor more readily.

Pinkwashing and Targeted Marketing


The alcohol industry often targets women with “pinkwashed” marketing campaigns that portray wine or cocktails as a way to relax, unwind, or celebrate. These campaigns can create an association between alcohol and self-care, normalizing excessive consumption. 

Increased Stress and Anxiety

Biserka Stojanovic/Getty

Middle age can be stressful, juggling work, family, and personal health concerns. Some women turn to liquor as a coping mechanism to manage stress and anxiety, even though it only provides temporary relief.

Empty Nest Syndrome

Liubomyr Vorona/Getty

In many cases, empty nest syndrome, when children leave home, is accompanied by loneliness and creates a feeling of loss of identity. Alcohol can be misused as a way to fill the void or to relieve the pain.

Social Pressure

Miljan Živković/Getty

Social drinking can be a double-edged sword for women. While it might seem like everyone’s having a drink and relaxing, women can feel pressured to participate. This pressure can come from wanting to fit in with the group or feeling the need to loosen up in social settings. 

Menopause and Hormonal Shifts

Dinara Ilikaeva/Getty

In addition to sleep disturbances and hot flashes, menopause can cause various physical and psychological changes. Women may turn to liquor to cope with these unpleasant symptoms even though it can worsen sleep quality.


Leave a Comment