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Monday, 29 July 2013

Alcohol and the sexes: Men tend to drink when they're angry, while women feel more depressed after a night out

  • Alcohol was found to be consistently ineffective at drowning sorrows
  • Study found that monitoring emotions could play an important role in treating and preventing relapse in alcoholics

A person's gender affects when they drink and how they feel the morning-after-night-before, according to new research.
A study has found that men tend to drink when they feel angry and women experience more depressive emotions the day after drinking.
Scientists found that alcohol was consistently ineffective at drowning sorrows however.
The gender divide: The study found that men and women have different emotional relationships with alcohol.
The gender divide: The study found that men and women have different emotional relationships with alcohol. Experts believe their findings could help treat people who struggle with drink in the future
Valerie Harderassistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont and lead author of the study, said ‘These male-female differences are consistent with several reports showing that men and women respond differently to stress, and experience mood and substance use disorders at different rates.'
To understand people's moods and drinking habits, Professor Harder and her colleagues used an interactive voice-recording program like the ones found in call centres.
The 246 study participants, aged between 21 and 82, were problem drinkers who had been flagged by their primary-care doctor.
The suspected alcoholics then went through an alcohol treatment program and were called in every day for six months and reported their moods, stress level and drinking habits on the program.
The results revealed that for men, it was anger that fuelled drinking. 
According to the study, a man who felt angry was more likely to drink the next day than a man who did not feel angry.
Man angry
depressed woman
The study found that men were more likely to turn to drink if they were angry. Women on the other hand were found to become far more depressive after drinking a large quantity of alcohol
Professor Harder said: 'Working on strategies for male drinkers to manage their anger may warrant special emphasis in alcohol treatment approaches [in the future]. 
'Furthermore, results from a recent study of relapse after alcohol use treatment suggest that targeting the relationship between [negative emotions such as anger] and alcohol use
could decrease the probability of relapse, thus improving alcohol treatment outcomes.'
Happiness and sadness were also recorded in the study.
While researchers found that neither emotion acted as a particular trigger for drinking in one gender over the other, they did discover that they did surface after drinking.
Professor Harder and her colleagues presumed that people would report less anger and sadness after drinking, and more happiness a day after drinking. But the data showed the exact opposite.
Both men and women reported feeling less happy the day after drinking, but the effect was much stronger for women.
The researchers said the findings could play an important role in developing new treatment approaches toward alcoholism and relapse prevention.
Professor Harder said the findings could be useful in the doctor's office and at home - people who feel alcohol improves their mood may want to pay attention to how they feel the day after drinking.
And rather than simply asking about the number of drinks a person has in a week, doctors could also ask patients about their moods before and after their drinking.


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