A Canadian journalist says the pressures of balancing a high stress career, family and meeting society’s expectations is driving some women to drink too much.
Ann Dowsett Johnston is the author of the new book, Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol.
She says the gender gap is quickly closing between men and women when it comes to the over-consumption of alcohol.
“It’s important for professional educated women to know they’re not immune to this, it is actually very serious, especially in our culture,” she says. “We’re leading the risky drinking numbers and it’s very, very prevalent in our society and it’s something we have to start talking about.”
Johnston comes at the issue from first hand experience.
She says she began consuming alcohol too heavily about six years ago as a way of coping with a demanding job.
“I didn’t have a problem in my 20’s, 30’s or 40’s — but in my 50’s, I started medicating depression with alcohol after work and it increased. I had grown up with addiction with my mother’s alcoholism and knew I had to get help before it got worse.”
Johnston says she was able to find a good rehabilitation program in the U.S. in 2008 and hasn’t looked back since.
She also says with increased purchasing power women have become a new and vulnerable target for alcohol advertisers.
Johnston has worked as a journalist at Maclean’s magazine and written two popular books on Canadian university rankings.
She is also a past vice-principal at McGill University.
Johnston was the keynote speaker at an FASD conference in Saskatoon on Tuesday.