Friday November 22, 2019

Quit Alcohol For Improved Mental Health, Say Researchers

In fact, anyone can benefit from sobriety because the potential benefits of alcohol do not outweigh its known harm and risks

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Bottles of Alcohol. Wikimedia Commons

By Bharat Upadhyay

If you thought moderate drinking would not do you much harm, think again. Researchers have found that quitting alcohol completely may improve mental well-being, especially for women.

Moderate drinking was defined as 14 drinks or less per week for men and 7 drinks or less per week for women.

The study found that men and women who were lifetime abstainers had the highest level of mental well-being at the start of the study.

For women who were moderate drinkers and quit drinking, quitting was linked to a favourable change in mental well-being, showed results published in the journal CMAJ.

While the study was conducted on Chinese and American populations, experts have said that the results could apply to Indian populations too.

Society, Drinking, Alcohol
An estimated 53 million adults — experienced harm because of someone else’s drinking in the last 12 months. Pixabay

According to Naveen Kumar, Consultant Gastroenterology, Narayana Superspecialty Hospital in Gurugram, quitting alcohol even for a month could help in repairing the gut and metabolic system and alleviate its symptoms. It will help in boosting long-term health and can provide a healthier quality of life.

“Abstinence from alcohol is mandatory for a healthier brain and liver, a stronger immune system and heart, especially in women as alcohol effects are more harmfully serious on women, considering their metabolism and estrogen levels,” Kumar told IANS.

In fact, anyone can benefit from sobriety because the potential benefits of alcohol do not outweigh its known harm and risks.

Also Read: A Feeling of Safety Most Important for Hospitalized Kids

“Alcohol works in a way that may depress our central nervous system and may fluctuate our mood as it lowers the levels of serotonin in our brain. Regular consumption changes the chemistry of the brain and results in the depletion of our mental health,” Mrinmay Kumar Das, Senior Consultant at Jaypee Hospital in Noida told IANS.

“To increase the brain volume and to deal with all sorts of situations, abstinence is required,” he added. (IANS)

Next Story

Husbands With Well-Paid Wives May Have Poor Mental Health

A wife who is well-paid may be injurious to husband's mental health

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Mental Health
Working wives who are paid well can be the reason for a poor mental health in husbands. Pixabay

If your wife earns more than you, especially after marriage, and you are facing some sort of mental stress for quite some time, there is a definite link between the two.

An interesting study has found that husbands are least stressed when their wives earn up to 40 per cent of household income but become increasingly uncomfortable as their spouse’s wages rise beyond that point and are most stressed when they are entirely economically dependent on their partner.

The research from the University of Bath also showed that husbands did not suffer psychological distress about their wives’ income if their wife was the higher earner before marriage and the existing and potential income gap was clear to them.

The study of over 6,000 American heterosexual couples over 15 years showed husbands are at their most anxious when they are the sole breadwinner, shouldering all the burden of responsibility for the household’s finances.

Stress levels decline as their wives’ earnings approach 40 per cent of household income. But as women’s earnings go through that point, the study showed husbands’ stress levels gradually increasing.

“The findings suggest that social norms about male breadwinning — and traditional conventions about men earning more than their wives — can be dangerous for men’s health. They also show how strong and persistent are gender identity norms,” said Dr Joanna Syrda, an economist at the University of Bath’s School of Management.

The study also shed light on the ‘bargaining power’ between husband and wife.

“The elevated psychological distress that comes with husbands’ economic dependence on their wives can also have practical underpinnings due to bargaining in the shadow of dissolution or the fear of reduced economic status in the event of an actual divorce. These effects are larger among cohabiting couples, possibly due to the higher probability of dissolution,” she elaborated.

Mental Health and distress
Social Norms set for men is another reason for poor mental health. Pixabay

The study also showed a disparity in the way husbands and wives assessed their own psychological distress and that of their partner.

Survey respondents were asked to measure distress in terms of feeling sad, nervous, restless, hopeless, worthless, or that everything was an effort. Men reported better mental health than their wives reported on their behalf.

“This too may be down to gender norms. If masculine social roles preclude the admission of vulnerability, and men are inclined to hide symptoms of stress and depression, it follows that wives’ responses (about their spouses) will be less accurate,” said Dr Syrda.

In fact, wives reported their husbands’ lowest distress level was when they were contributing 50 per cent of the household income, while husbands reported lowest distress when their wives contributed 40 per cent.

Also Read- Young People Diagnosed with Diabetes May Experience High Stress Levels

“With masculinity closely associated with the conventional view of the male breadwinner, traditional social gender norms mean men may be more likely to experience psychological distress if they become the secondary earner in the household or become financially dependent on their wives, a finding that has implications for managing male mental health and society’s understanding of masculinity itself,” the researchers elaborated.

The fact that a wife observes to a lesser degree her husband’s elevated psychological distress when he is financially dependent on her may be simply because he does not communicate it — this may be yet another manifestation of gender norms, showed the findings published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. (IANS)