People Who Don't Drink Alcohol Might Be More Likely To Die Young

by Sean Levinson

Alcohol may lead to car accidents and liver disease, but it turns out abstaining from drinking only shortens one's life expectancy, according to a paper published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

That's what six researchers led by psychologist Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin discovered in 2010, and their study took a variety of external factors into account.

The team monitored 1,824 people between ages of 55 and 65 over the course of 20 years.

Participants were classified as either heavy drinkers, moderate drinkers or abstainers.

The mortality rate proved the highest for the last group, with 69 percent of abstainers dying after 20 years, compared to 60 percent of heavy drinkers and just 41 percent of moderate drinkers, according to Time.

If this wasn't shocking enough, what makes these results even more surprising is that it didn't matter what kind of people the abstainers were.

It appears that no matter the situation the abstainers were in -- whether they were recovering alcoholics or not, had many or a few friends, were paid a lot of a little, were in poor or good physical shape -- they tended to die younger.

The study suggests one similarity, however. If one doesn't drink, that person is significantly less at peace with his or her life than people who do.

Time lists a number of reasons as to why moderate to heavy drinking can be a sign of a happy, healthy existence.

Alcohol is expensive, so those who don't drink may very well be less financially stable and therefore more burdened with worry in general.

People who drink regularly also tend to do so in good company, allowing them more opportunities to express themselves to those who will listen.

Then there's the undeniable fact that drinking helps one relax, forget about petty problems and ultimately rekindle enthusiasm for the future.

This explains why non-drinkers have previously been proven to display more behaviors akin to depression than heavy drinkers, Time reports.

So while this study might not be an excuse to up your drinking habits, it most definitely serves as a reminder that bottled-up stress is not healthy and sometimes, nothing vanquishes frustration better than a cold one.

Citations: Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers (Time)