Quitting Alcohol and Mental Well-being

According to a study carried out in Hong Kong  and published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal, Quitting alcohol may improve health-related quality of life for women, especially their mental well-being. The study carried out by Dr. Xiaoxin Yao, Dr. Michael Ni, Dr. Herbert Pang and colleagues at HKU included 10 386 people from the FAMILY Cohort in Hong Kong 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 mean age of participants in the FAMILY Cohort was 49 years and 56% were women. About 64% of men were nondrinkers (abstainers and former drinkers) and almost 88% of women were nondrinkers. In addition, the researchers compared their findings with data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, a representative survey of 31 079 people conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the United States.

Quitting Drinking Alcohol is Linked To Better Mental Well-being

During their study, the researchers discovered that men and women who were lifetime abstainers had the highest level of mental well-being at the start of the study (baseline). Also, 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. They however recommend that more evidence suggests caution in recommending moderate drinking as part of a healthy diet.

“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.”

More Benefits of Quitting Alcohol

Additional information from DrugRehab further suggest that quitting alcohol can potentially prevent liver cancer, breast cancer, mouth cancer, esophageal cancer and cancer of the pharynx. Alcohol also harms the immune system. People who drink regularly may be more likely to get sick. But abstaining from alcohol allows your body’s natural defenses to operate at full strength and protect you from disease.

The mental health benefits of quitting drinking are numerous. People who successfully quit alcohol have longer and deeper sleep. They also have a more stabilized mood and enjoy relief from anxiety and depression.

Your skin also benefits from quitting alcohol. This is because alcohol is dehydrating, which causes skin cells to lose their plumpness, and that leads to tired, older-looking skin. Removing alcohol from your diet can improve the way you look.

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