Wine O’Clock – not always a harmless hashtag

Who doesn’t love a good hashtag. They can be fun, flippant or a great search mechanism.

But it doesn’t take long of scrolling through social media to see that Aussie women and wine have a close and burgeoning relationship.

We now know that one third of Australian women are considered high-risk drinkers, starting as a social activity, moving to stress relief and then sadly becoming an enduring habit of dependency.

Not that you would necessarily know to look at them. The women silently shouldering an alcohol habit which won’t let go are often highly functioning, professional women. I take the calls from those who hold down high pressure jobs yet go home and drink a bottle or two of red wine each night. Sometimes, Wine O’Clock becomes anything but fun.

By the time a woman makes the call to professional support services, unsurprisingly, her level of drinking has started to affect her relationships or her health. In fact, the only surprise is that this habit was hidden so well for so long – even to the drinker themselves – before it reached crisis point.

Women are less likely than men to seek help for alcohol. Yet women experience depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress at higher rates than men and often use alcohol as the pain relief they crave. Of course alcohol itself has depressive effects and can perpetuate the cycle, but the cycle is powerful both in allure and due to the biochemical effects of dependency.

In the same way that attending to a broken leg is a sign of wisdom, attending to other health concerns – including alcohol and wellbeing concerns – is a wise and strong thing to do.

Addressing this misuse can increase our physical health, help prevent disease, improve our personal wellbeing and relationships and even improve our professional productivity.

Perhaps it’s time for a new hashtag, or several of them. #strongwomengethelp #wellbeing #healthy #recovery #sober #productive #newday