Wednesday NIH webinar on women and alcohol highlights obscured problem

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

While recent headlines have pointed out the disastrous rise in opioid use during the pandemic, less attention has focused on alcohol consumption during the pandemic and relapses among those with alcohol use disorder. Even more under-recognized is the prevalence and burden of alcohol use disorder among women, who too often aren’t included in discussions about the condition.

Yet research from the National Institutes of Health shows that the gender gap between men’s and women’s alcohol consumption is narrowing — and that’s not a good thing. Higher levels of alcohol consumption had already been on the rise in older adults and particularly in women prior to 2020, and the pandemic has only exacerbated this health issue.

That makes a new webinar from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism all the more important for health journalists to attend, especially those who cover dependence/addiction, alcohol, women’s health, and family issues. The webinar, scheduled for 12-1 p.m. ET Wednesday, July 28, will feature three researchers who have looked at the impact stress and trauma have on women suffering from alcohol use disorder and how to help them. Journalists will have the opportunity to interview the researchers after the event.

According to the event description: “Recent increases in rates of alcohol use disorder in women have been linked to stress and trauma. Our conversation will focus on vulnerable populations, such as women living with HIV and female veterans with military sexual trauma. Advances in treatments — including community partnerships and medication development targeting stress — will be discussed.”

The presenters include Geetanjali Chander, M.D., MPH of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Tracy Simpson of the VA Puget Sound Healthcare System; and Sherry McKee, PhD, of Yale School of Medicine. RSVP for the webinar at dana.west@icf.com, or view it later on the NIH Videocast.

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