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Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers?

rivrrat

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Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers, Study Finds - TIME

Why the **** hasn't anyone posted this yet? This is cause for a massive celebration with lots of alcohol! **** Yeah. I knew that wine I've been drinking nightly was good for something.

One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don't drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do.
Moderate drinking, which is defined as one to three drinks per day, is associated with the lowest mortality rates in alcohol studies. Moderate alcohol use (especially when the beverage of choice is red wine) is thought to improve heart health, circulation and sociability, which can be important because people who are isolated don't have as many family members and friends who can notice and help treat health problems.
Related: Study: Alcohol Abstainers at Higher Risk of Depression - TIME
 

soccerboy22

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Sweet. This will now fuel my drinking even more!
 

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I hope results like this come out for Marijuana users, too bad I just don't enjoy Alcohol.
 

Kernel Sanders

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The linked article neither states nor supports the notion that heavy drinkers outlive nondrinkers. It compares moderate to no drinking. Alcoholism is a serious health risk and leads to substantially shortened lifespan
 

rivrrat

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The linked article neither states nor supports the notion that heavy drinkers outlive nondrinkers. It compares moderate to no drinking. Alcoholism is a serious health risk and leads to substantially shortened lifespan
Actually, it did.

But even after controlling for nearly all imaginable variables — socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, number of close friends, quality of social support and so on — the researchers (a six-member team led by psychologist Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin) found that over a 20-year period, mortality rates were highest for those who had never been drinkers, second-highest for heavy drinkers and lowest for moderate drinkers.
Moderate drinkers lived the longest.
Followed by heavy drinkers.
Followed by non-drinkers.
 

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One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don't drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.
Wait what?

Those who abstain from the alcohol are actual former drinkers who had health issues in this study? How about those who have never had a drink? :confused:
 

danarhea

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The answer to that question is obvious. The heavy drinkers spend their lives well pickled and preserved. :mrgreen:
 

Ikari

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Why Do Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers? Because god hates prudes.
 

rivrrat

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Wait what?

Those who abstain from the alcohol are actual former drinkers who had health issues in this study? How about those who have never had a drink? :confused:
No no... it's easy to misread that, but you have to read on to the next paragraph. The thing is, there have been many studies like this one that have seen similar results. AA has said in the past that this was due to "many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking."

BUT.... this study takes that into account and says:

But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that — for reasons that aren't entirely clear — abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers.
 

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Heavy drinkers tend to go early. They rarely see 65.
 

Kernel Sanders

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Actually, it did.



Moderate drinkers lived the longest.
Followed by heavy drinkers.
Followed by non-drinkers.
My apologies. I missed that statement and the rest referenced moderate drinkers
 

Dav

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Why the **** hasn't anyone posted this yet?
I was going to post it last night, until I realized it was midnight and I needed to get off.


Bad news for me, though.



I wouldn't be surprised if this is a matter of correlation not being causation... I find it more likely that the type of people who don't drink are, for some reason or another, more at risk to have a shorter lifespan.
 
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rivrrat

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My apologies. I missed that statement and the rest referenced moderate drinkers
I tried to reference the actual paper for you, but I couldn't access it. I've registered on the site so I can, but I have to validate my email when I get home. And hopefully I don't have to pay. LOL
 

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I wouldn't be surprised if this is a matter of correlation not being causation... I find it more likely that the type of people who don't drink are, for some reason or another, more at risk to have a shorter lifespan.
Yeah, they're wound tighter than the alcoholics amongst us.
 

The Mark

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Sounds like the best option is to be a light to moderate drinker.

I probably qualify as very light...

My last drink was ~ 4-6 months ago, at least.
 

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I rigorously follow the 1-3 drinks/day guidelines, I just cram it all into one or two days.
 

rivrrat

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I wouldn't be surprised if this is a matter of correlation not being causation... I find it more likely that the type of people who don't drink are, for some reason or another, more at risk to have a shorter lifespan.
Indeed.

Study: Alcohol Abstainers at Higher Risk of Depression - TIME
In fact, those who never drink are at significantly higher risk for not only depression but also anxiety disorders, compared with those who consume alcohol regularly.
The most powerful explanation seems to be that abstainers have fewer close friends than drinkers, even though they tend to participate more often in organized social activities. Abstainers seem to have a harder time making strong friendship bonds, perhaps because they don't have alcohol to lubricate their social interactions. After all, it's easier to reveal your worst fears and greatest hopes to a potential friend after a Negroni or two.
 

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Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers, Study Finds - TIME>>

Why the **** hasn't anyone posted this yet? This is cause for a massive celebration with lots of alcohol! **** Yeah. I knew that wine I've been drinking nightly was good for something. >>

Does that mean they've found booze that doesn't effect the liver?

ricksfolly
 

rivrrat

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Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers, Study Finds - TIME>>

Why the **** hasn't anyone posted this yet? This is cause for a massive celebration with lots of alcohol! **** Yeah. I knew that wine I've been drinking nightly was good for something. >>

Does that mean they've found booze that doesn't effect the liver?

ricksfolly
Nope. If you read the link I posted, you see this:

Even though heavy drinking is associated with higher risk for cirrhosis and several types of cancer (particularly cancers in the mouth and esophagus), heavy drinkers are less likely to die than people who have never drunk.
 

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Honestly... I don't get our society's obsession with longer life while not looking at ways to improve the human condition itself, and I am continually disappointed that the scientific establishment upholds such empty values. What about quality of life? Alcoholics may live longer according to this study, but at what price? Are they happy drowning their sorrows all the time?

I would rather live 10 years less but in satisfaction with my accomplishments and a sense of happiness than be a weekend binge drinker who works a 9-5 that hates his life. I seriously want to know where the financial support for this study came from.
 

RightinNYC

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Honestly... I don't get our society's obsession with longer life while not looking at ways to improve the human condition itself, and I am continually disappointed that the scientific establishment upholds such empty values. What about quality of life? Alcoholics may live longer according to this study, but at what price? Are they happy drowning their sorrows all the time?

I would rather live 10 years less but in satisfaction with my accomplishments and a sense of happiness than be a weekend binge drinker who works a 9-5 that hates his life. I seriously want to know where the financial support for this study came from.
According to this study, the reason that the non-drinkers die earlier is not because drinking necessarily improves your health, but because drinkers are more sociable, have better friend/family networks, and are less likely to be depressed. That indicates that it's not likely that the drinkers are the ones who hate their lives. If we're just looking at QoL, it seems like moderate drinkers have a leg up.
 

Orion

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According to this study, the reason that the non-drinkers die earlier is not because drinking necessarily improves your health, but because drinkers are more sociable, have better friend/family networks, and are less likely to be depressed. That indicates that it's not likely that the drinkers are the ones who hate their lives. If we're just looking at QoL, it seems like moderate drinkers have a leg up.
Then the health benefits have to do with the other factors you mentioned, not the alcohol itself. People turn to alcohol to relieve stress and to have a social lubricant. People who are that way without the need to drink are arguably just as healthy. The statistic is misleading readers into believing that alcohol = longer life, when on an individual level it won't work that way.

All it means is that people are using an unhealthy substance to facilitate healthy outlets. I've met people who don't drink at all and their biggest complaint in the social realm is that they don't feel included because they aren't drinkers, so maybe that's why they're unhappy. I hope someday our society shifts away from the need to be altered in order to have human interactions. I myself would fall under the moderate category for drinking, but I usually feel that I'm at my best when I haven't had any.
 

RightinNYC

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Then the health benefits have to do with the other factors you mentioned, not the alcohol itself. People turn to alcohol to relieve stress and to have a social lubricant. People who are that way without the need to drink are arguably just as healthy. The statistic is misleading readers into believing that alcohol = longer life, when on an individual level it won't work that way.
Almost certainly true, though I think it's possible that a non-drinker who decides to become a drinker or vice versa might experience a change in the other areas of their life. I think you're right about correlation v. causation, but there's probably some degree of causation.
 

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Almost certainly true, though I think it's possible that a non-drinker who decides to become a drinker or vice versa might experience a change in the other areas of their life. I think you're right about correlation v. causation, but there's probably some degree of causation.
I know on a biochemical level, that if you introduce a toxin to the body, the liver will become much more active, and in turn will purge other toxins. For example, in TCM, people who have really bad psoriasis are often viewed as having built up toxicity in the body. We treat it by introducing some toxic herbs which kick the liver into high gear. Through purging the toxic herbs, other oxidants in the body get purged, and the skin clears up. Often, these herbs are introduced to the body through alcohol solutions, like warmed rice wine, because the alcohol will enter the liver directly and carry the herbs with it.

People who drink regularly surely have higher liver enzyme levels, which is why moderate drinking would bring some benefit to the body. But you'll notice that heavy drinkers come in second, because the alcohol toxicity begins to cancel out the detoxing effects; and of course, non-drinkers don't have boosted liver metabolism at all.
 
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