Quitting alcohol can improve mental health in women

Quitting alcohol can improve mental health in women
Highlights

Studies reveal that giving up alcohol can improve mental well-being.

Washington: Quitting alcohol may improve women's mental well-being besides their health-related quality of life. "More evidence suggests caution in recommending moderate drinking as part of a healthy diet," said Dr Michael Ni, School of Public Health and The State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, University of Hong Kong (HKU).

The study published in the journal 'CMAJ' included 10386 people cohort who were nondrinkers or moderate drinkers (14 drinks or less per week for men and 7 drinks or less per week for women) between 2009 and 2013.

The researchers compared their findings with data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, a representative survey of 31079 people conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the United States.

The mean age of participants in the cohort was 49 years and 56 per cent were women. About 64 per cent of men were nondrinkers (abstainers and former drinkers) and almost 88 per cent of women were nondrinkers.

Men and women who were lifetime abstainers had the highest level of mental well-being at the start of the study (baseline). For women who were moderate drinkers and quit drinking, quitting was linked to a favourable change in mental well-being in both Chinese and American study populations.

These results were apparent after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, body mass index, smoking status, and other factors. "Global alcohol consumption is expected to continue to increase unless effective strategies are employed," says Dr Ni.

"Our findings suggest caution in recommendations that moderate drinking could improve health-related quality of life. Instead, quitting drinking may be associated with a more favourable change in mental well-being, approaching the level of lifetime abstainers," Dr Ni said.

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