Watch CBSN Live

"Sex And The City" Linked To DUIs?

Since 1998, drunken driving accidents have been increasing.
Once primarily a problem for guys, more and more women are getting arrested, and in accidents for driving while intoxicated.

Early Show medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton explained this growing trend, which is called the "Sex and the City" syndrome.

"This is something we're seeing more and more," she said. "The social phenomenon brought about largely by shows and movies like 'Sex and the City' is women are drinking more and more. The drink, the cosmopolitan has had a huge comeback."

Women are drinking more fruity drinks, which may taste good, but can be risky.

"The ones that look pretty, taste fruity and sweet, they have a lot more sugar in them," Ashton explained. "They can hit your bloodstream a lot faster. You don't understand beforehand how much alcohol you are consuming. It can be dangerous."

There can be health risks as well.

"Not only the initial intoxication but the long-term effects on women from use and abuse, we're understanding that it is a lot different than what men experience," she said. "So it's a problem."

She also says women may be more likely to develop liver disease from drinking.

"Research suggests that woman are more vulnerable than men to alcohol- induced brain damage and it may increase the risk of breast cancer and make women more susceptible to heart disease, even though, over a lifetime, women drink less alcohol than men," Ashton added.

Ashton showed how much alcohol you have to drink to actually start to feel it.

"For a woman to feel her muscle coordination and a decrease in her reaction time, she would have to drink more than 2 drinks in an hour," she said. "But it also depends on the size of the person, and the alcoholic content of the drink."

There has also been a trend towards super-sizing drinks.

"[It's] high school chemistry - twice the volume in a glass, twice the alcohol," Ashton said. "Women are drinking much more than the standard 1.5 ounces of alcohol in those large mixed drinks and may not realize it."

In the past 10 years, drunken driving accidents in California among women 21 to 24 have skyrocketed 116 percent for women - and nationwide drunk driving arrests among women have gone up 28 percent.

View CBS News In