A study by researchers at the University of Hong Kong has provided new evidence that women who stop drinking alcohol experience improved mental health, News medical reports.
Many women drink alcohol as a way to relax and unwind, but the new study suggests that stopping drinking altogether may be a better way to improve mental health.
“Our findings suggest caution in recommendations that moderate drinking could improve health-related quality of life,” says study author Herbert Pang. “The risks and benefits of moderate drinking are not clear.”
Co-author Michael Ni suggests that quitting alcohol altogether may be a better way to relax and feel calm and peaceful.
Reporting this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the team writes that although the link between moderate alcohol consumption and certain health problems such as cardiovascular disease and cancer has been well documented, the broader effect on health-related quality of life is less clear.
“Our objective was to examine the association of drinking patterns with changes in physical and mental well-being across populations,” writes the team.
For the study, Pang and team examined the association between alcohol drinking patterns and self-reported changes in physical and mental well-being among more than 10,000 people in Hong Kong and 31,000 people in the U.S. The analyses were stratified by gender and heavy drinkers were excluded from the study.
In both study populations, men and women who had abstained from drinking any alcohol across their lifetime reported the highest levels of mental well-being.
When those who were not abstainers were followed over time, which was around two years for the Hong Kong participants and around 3 years for the U.S group, giving up alcohol was associated with better changes in mental well-being among women, but not among men. The women who stopped drinking even reported levels of mental health that almost reached the levels reported by lifetime abstainers.