The Practitioner 2009 – 253 (1724):10
Abstinence from alcohol associated with anxiety and depression
15 Dec 2009
A large, prospective, population-based study has shown that people who drink no or little alcohol are at increased risk of anxiety and depression. Data on a sample of 38,390 people taking part in the HUNT study, in Norway, were analysed. Subjects filled in a questionnaire on alcohol intake which was based on the amount of alcohol consumed over the past two weeks. Anxiety and depression were measured using HADS. 'While the study demonstrates an association between low alcohol consumption and symptoms of anxiety and depression, limitations of the study mean that the causality of the relationship cannot be addressed. Possible causes discussed include a direct protective effect from moderate alcohol consumption, that mid-range drinking habits may be a consequence of psychological wellbeing in cultures where some alcohol consumption is the norm, and confounding from a range of social factors.'