CDC: Millions of American women are binge drinking

Dr. Janet Taylor talks about a new CDC report that says binge drinking is a dangerous problem among women and girls
CBS News

(CBS News) A new CDC report says millions of American women are binge drinking, putting their health, and even their lives, at risk.

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The study reveals nearly 14 million women binge drink about three times a month -- having an average of six alcoholic beverages at one sitting.

Why are women binge drinking?

Binge drinking -- having more than 4 drinks in two hours -- does not make you an alcoholic, but it indicates that you may have what Taylor called, "problematic drinking."

She said that between the ages of 18 to 22, people report they binge drink because they're bored. People in the 22 to 30 age range say it's because they're trying to escape something -- maybe from work.

"People feel pressure, so they come on the weekends usually, and throw back four drinks in two hours to take the stress off," Taylor said. "Certainly, we want to close the gender gap, but not by these troubling numbers of more women drinking alcohol."

She said binge drinking does more damage to women's bodies than it does to men's bodies. There is an increased risk for breast cancer, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and dementia.

How do you know if you have a problem?

If you drink more than seven drinks a week, or three in a day, or are binge drinking, Taylor said it's time for a self-assessment because that's considered "risky drinking."

"If you find that you're drinking to escape; you find that you can't stop -- that you go into withdrawal... or you avoid your usual activities -- you're not going to work, relationships are suffering, you may have a problem and you need to talk to your health care provider."

To watch the full interview with Dr. Janet Taylor, click on the video player above.