By Zoe Bradbury
For years, it’s been a common assertion that drinking is bad for one’s health. But now, a new study conducted in Sweden has found that having a casual glass of wine at the end of the day could be beneficial for an individual’s mental health.
More than 10,000 people from 1998 to 2010 participated in the study, which found that those who were non-drinkers actually had a higher risk of depression.
On the other hand, light to moderate drinkers, who drank up to 14 units of alcohol per week, had a smaller chance of developing depression.
That equates to just less than 10 glasses of wine, or 10 pints of beer, spread across seven days.
But this doesn’t mean one should wilfully drink over 10 drinks in a night – spreading alcohol consumption across the week is key, as heavy or binge drinkers were 80 per cent more likely to be at risk of suffering depression.
The study also analysed lifestyle, socioeconomic, sociodemographic and social behaviours, as well as childhood adversity and symptoms of depression. None of these, however, swayed the statistics that light to moderate drinkers had lower rates of depression than those who completely abstained from alcohol.
It’s a stark difference from other studies conducted in the past, which warn of the harmful effects of alcohol on mental health. It means one shouldn’t feel too guilty for indulging in that glass of wine after work.
The study came to the conclusion that light to moderate drinkers had a lower risk of depression likely due to social behaviour.
It’s been proven in the past that fewer social interactions can often worsen depressive symptoms.
As people go out for drinks with co-workers, friends or family, their social interactions increase – and those who chose to abstain, more often than not, were saying no to social gatherings.
Strengthening relationships with friends, then, can be seen as just one of the ways to improve mental health – and in this instance, enjoying a glass of wine or two with friends clearly isn’t something to be ashamed about.
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