The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), supports about 90 percent of the Nation's research on alcohol use and its effects. The goal of this research is to better understand the causes and consequences of alcohol abuse and addiction, and to find new ways to prevent and treat alcohol problems.
Finding out what makes some women drink too much is the first step to preventing alcohol problems in women. Scientists are studying the role of genetics and family environment in increasing or decreasing the risk of alcohol problems. They also are studying other features of a woman's life, such as the type of job she has; whether she combines family and work; life changes like marriage, divorce, and the birth and departure of children; infertility; relationship and sexual problems; and ethnic background.
Scientists want to know why women in general seem to develop long-term health problems from drinking more quickly than men. Researchers are examining issues like alcohol and breast cancer in women, and the extent to which alcohol may lower the risk of heart disease, and possibly osteoporosis, in some women.
Finally, research is helping determine how to identify women who may be at risk for alcohol problems, and to ensure that treatment will be effective.
The Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) serves as the focal point for women's health research at NIH. ORWH works in a variety of ways to encourage and support researchers to find answers to questions about diseases and conditions that affect women and how to keep women healthy, and to establish a research agenda for the future. ORWH encourages women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds to participate in clinical studies to help increase knowledge of the health of women of all cultures, and to understand the health-related similarities and differences between women and men. The office also provides opportunities and support for the advancement of women in biomedical careers.