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Study predicts: Complete abstinence from alcohol may lead to improved mental wellbeing

Study predicts: Complete abstinence from alcohol may lead to improved mental wellbeing

Is moderate drinking beneficial or detrimental to health? This is one question that scientists and researchers have been asking and studying for many decades. While the debate still continues, a recent study challenged the notion of moderate drinking. According to the study, people should abstain from alcohol completely in order to enjoy superior mental health.

People who quit alcohol, especially women, could experience better mental health and also reach the same level of wellbeing as nondrinker. Past research has proved that excess consumption of alcohol affects mental health, however, it was unclear if moderate drinkers would benefit if they completely abstained from alcohol.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) stated that up to 4 alcoholic drinks for men and 3 for women in a single day and a maximum of 14 drinks for men and 7 drinks for women per week could be defined as moderate drinking. This included those who drank socially at events and also those who just enjoyed a glass of wine after a long hard day or week.

Woman who gave up drinking experienced better mental health

According to a study by the University of Hong Kong (HKU), women who totally gave up drinking experienced an improvement in their mental wellbeing. The study included 10,386 participants recruited through the FAMILY Cohort study, HKU. All the participants were either moderate drinkers or nondrinkers including people who had recently started drinking, those who were existing drinkers, persistent drinkers, former persistent drinkers, and those who had never touched alcohol in their lifetime.

The average age of the participants was 49 years and 56 percent of these were women. While 64 percent of the male participants were non-drinkers, 88 percent of the women were non-drinkers. Alcohol measurement and the link between mental health and alcohol drinking patterns over a period of four years were examined and compared with the data of a group of 31,079 people from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.

Significant improvement in people who gave up drinking

The study findings showed that people who had never used alcohol during their lifetime had the highest level of mental wellbeing. Those who completely gave up drinking showed noteworthy signs of improvement in their mental health. The researchers used a 100-point scale while assessing the data and found that women who gave up drinking showed improvement in their mental wellbeing at an average of 1.44 points higher than females who were lifetime nondrinkers. The results were found to be the same even after adjustments were done for body mass index (BMI), socioeconomic status, and smoking habits.

Study author Dr. Michael Ni said that the overall data showed that there was nothing called moderate drinking which could be classified as beneficial or considered to be a part of a healthy diet. He added that it is a matter of concern that alcohol consumption around the world is increasing at a rapid speed and that reports predict a 70 percent increase within the next 30 years.

Seeking treatment for dualdiagnosis

The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that approximately 8.5 million Americans above the age of 18 suffered from substance addiction and co-occurring mental health problems in the past year. When a mental disorder co-occurs with a substance use disorder (SUD), it is called a dual-diagnosis. Alcohol is known to cause several mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, personality disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

If you or your loved one is suffering from dual-diagnosis, contact the Florida Dual-Diagnosis Helpline. Call our 24/7 helpline 866-337-7631 to connect with state-of-the-art dual-diagnosis treatment centers or chat online with our experts to know more about  dual-diagnosis treatment options.