Alcohol is the drug of choice among American women. An
astonishing 4 million women meet the diagnostic criteria for abuse
or dependence. Yet until recently, alcoholism-like heart
disease-was considered a man's problem. Research, prevention, and
treatment efforts were aimed at men. The few studies on women that
existed focused on the effects of alcohol on children and
Mixing cutting-edge research with moving stories of women who
struggled with alcohol problems, "Happy Hours" challenges our
assumptions and expands our awareness of the role alcohol plays in
Women metabolize alcohol differently from men, more quickly
developing such physical complications as liver disease, high blood
pressure, and hepatitis. A female alcoholic is likely to suffer
from depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, which may not go
away even if she stops drinking. Commonly, her alcohol abuse is
comb combined with the abuse of other drugs. She is at high risk
She must also bear the rage leveled at women who don't live up
to certain standards of femininity. She is seen as a bad mother, a
disgraceful daughter, a shameful wife. Unfairly regarded as
sexually "loose' " she is actually more vulnerable to assault.
Indeed, when a woman drinks, she is five times more likely to be
One stunning fact says it all: Female alcoholics are twice as
likely to die as male alcoholics in the same age group--even as
male alcoholics die at three times the rate of men in the general
Devon Jersild tells the stories of women who fell into a
dizzying maze yet moved forward into recovery. Her book began as a
journey of understanding when her alcoholic sister edged closer to
death. Jersild consulted climclans, doctors, psychologists, and
researchers 'in the field of alcohol studies. What she found is
sometimes shocking but always inspiring. Elegantly written and
compelling, "Happy Hours "is an important look at the lifelong
effects of alcoholism on a woman's health and well-being.
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