Carrie Bradshaw and her rounds of cosmopolitans; Bridget Jones with her glasses of chardonnay; Chelsea Handler declaring her passion for vodka. In sitcoms, rom-coms and comedy shows, female boozers are the stuff of jokes. They suffer through hangovers, complain about their bar bills, promise to cut back and then cheerfully renege.
But many women find that their drinking doesn't lead to laughter. In the U.S. and Western Europe, growing numbers of women struggle with alcoholism; in some places, women's rates of alcohol abuse have achieved parity with men's.