There seems to be a clear connection between Stay-At-Home orders and people’s urges to consume alcohol. Drinking in varied capacities seems to be the collective pastime of the moment, and in the absence of bars and restaurants, people are digging into their cellars, signing up for wine memberships, and teaching themselves how to make their own cocktails. We also all seem to be struggling to stay positive in light of all that is happening-which is perfectly normal given the circumstances-but with things ramping up again, we thought now would be a good time to explore the question: Is there a connection between the consumption of alcohol and mental health? Could drinking wine actually help with depression?
According to Miguel A. Martinez-González in his “Alcohol Intake, Wine Consumption and the Development of Depression,” it’s possible. Published in BMC Medicine, the article claims that moderate drinking-defined here as two drinks or less daily for men and one or less for women-appears to help protect against coronary artery disease and heart attach. A study in the Netherlands has even suggested that two drinks a day may reduce an older person’s risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. But the latest news on the potential benefits of drinking alcohol comes from Spain, where researchers at the University of Navarra followed more than 5,500 light-to-moderate drinkers between the ages of 55 and 80 for seven years. The investigators found that those who drank two to seven glasses of wine a week-in other words, no more than one drink per day-were the least likely to suffer from depression, compared to those who didn’t drink any alcohol. When they enrolled in the study, none of the participants were depressed or had a personal or family history of depression or problems with alcohol. The study also found that drinking more than seven glasses of wine per week didn’t lower the risk of depression. The Spanish findings don’t prove that moderate drinking prevents depression-however, they do suggest an association between the two.
While there’s much more research to be done on the topic, these findings make us hopeful. And although scientists aren’t certain that a glass of wine a day will keep the doctor away, they do know that there is a definite connection of some kind. But if you ask us, it sure can’t hurt. So, cheers! Here’s to lifted spirits and a healthy mind.