Alcohol in relation to coping with problems

One drinks for fun and to relax, while the other mainly uses alcohol to numb feelings or to deal with problems. In her research into the relationship between alcohol and the way women deal with problems, psychologist Carien Karsten discovered four different strategies.

Although the development of a (problematic) drinking habit is the same for both men and women, the reasons why men or women drink are often different. This is how it is on the site of Jellinek I read that men drink more often to give themselves an attitude, to drink off tension or to counteract depressive feelings. Women are more likely to drink in response to negative situations and to numb pain. In addition, women are more likely to drink secretly and alone. They also feel more guilty about their drinking behaviour.

Psychologist Carien Karsten conducted research years ago into ways in which women use alcohol to deal with problems. Although it cannot be ruled out that these strategies are also applied by men, this study focused only on women. The research revealed four different 'strategies'.

  1. The Adaptation Strategy

This strategy is used by women who are internally dissatisfied with their way of life, but feel that they should stick with it anyway. Alcohol is the sweetener that helps them adapt and tolerate the situation. The underlying problem with this strategy is often relational. It is possible that the woman feels trapped in a role pattern or that she is structurally overloaded, for example due to the combination of work and family.

  1. The performance strategy

In this case, a woman drinks to give herself an attitude or to conform to a certain image. Drinking alcohol has a symbolic function here: it stands for toughness, companionship, adventure and having fun. Drinking can be a means of being seen as an equal by male colleagues, especially among women in a 'men's profession'. For some women, drinking is a way of rebelling and protesting. Because excessive drinking in women is more likely to be seen as 'indecent', excessive alcohol consumption is a means of resistance here.

  1. The anesthetic strategy

Alcohol is a means of escape, it is used so as not to have to feel. Women with traumatic experiences of abuse, neglect or abuse, in particular, use alcohol to numb feelings of pain.

  1. The intoxication strategy

In this strategy, the intoxication is mainly sought. This doesn't always mean someone wants to get drunk. Rather, it is about escaping the daily worries and letting go of control. Alcohol is used to allow desired feelings, for which there is otherwise little or no room for. With this strategy, alcohol is a way to make social contacts run more smoothly, for example.


(Partly) recognizable?

The strategies above represent four ways in which alcohol can play a role in coping with problems. In practice, these can overlap a bit more. In addition, these strategies have been studied among women who systematically drank too much. This does not alter the fact that more people can recognize themselves in drinking because you are not feeling well, want to give yourself an attitude, want to stun or get into a daze.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these strategies? Talk about it on the IkPas forum!






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