MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Government health experts want to highlight what they call an under-recognized problem for women: binge drinking.

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control found 14 million women in the U.S. binge drink about three times a month. In a typical binge, they down six drinks.

CDC says most binge drinkers are not alcoholics. Moreover, the women who binge drink the most may be the ones you’d least expect to have a problem.

“For the past decade or so, young, well-to-do college-educated women are drinking more and more in a binge like fashion,” said Dr. Joseph Lee, the medical director of Hazelden’s Youth Services.

It’s a trend Lee says marketers are picking up on.

Consider it. How often have you seen signs at bars saying “girls drink free” or alcohol ads that appeal to women?

In fact, Hazelden – a nationally renowned treatment center organization — is expanding their women’s services in 2013.

New numbers show drinking is most common among whites and Hispanics, and women with household incomes of $75,000 or more. What started as a glass of wine after the kids go down may have turned into three glasses a night.

But when does it exactly become a problem?

“It depends on that lady’s individual risk,” Lee said. “That person should ask themselves some questions. Have they thought about cutting down? Have they thought that maybe their drinking was too much and felt guilty about it?”

He says even if you’re not an addict, binge drinking can have serious health consequences, including breast cancer, heart disease, sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy.

Also, Midwestern states lead the country in rates of alcoholism. Some 8 to 10 percent of people above the age of 12 in Minnesota have an alcohol problem.

If you have any concerns, the best thing to do is talk to someone. For more information about Hazelden, click here.

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