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Non-Drinkers More Depressed?

Drinking-sadness From time to time, findings from research studies make me marvel in disbelief. Such was the case when I recently discovered that scientists in Norway found that those of us who are non-drinkers are more depressed, AOL News alerts us.

Wait a minute? Even though alcohol has been linked to health hazards galore, from car crashes to alcoholism to cancer, if you don't drink, you may get blue more often?

Although I was tempted to dismiss the results, I quickly learned that this is not a study at which you should sneer. The scientists, headed up by Jens Christopher Scogen of the University of Bergen looked at a whopping 38,000 people. (It's always a good sign when thousands of folks participate in research.) What's more, their conclusions were published in the medical journal Addiction.

So why the startling results?

Well, non-drinkers tended to have such illnesses as fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, which not only prevented them from imbibing,
but also made them more prone to depression, according to TIME magazine. In addition, the booze-shunners had fewer social ties. 

Plus, Dr. Skogen told TIME, "some people assume it's healthier not to drink." Furthermore, some abstainers were recovering alcoholics so they may have more more psychological distress than others. (Only 14% of the non-drinkers in the Norway
study fit this category.)

One dubious explanation is, according to TIME, 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. "

You've got to be kidding! If you don't drink, you're not social? What about those of us, who meet fellow exercise-loving friends on the bike trail, at fitness events or doing yoga? In fact, I just met a potential new friend today after a great spinning class.)

What irks me about this study is that it discounts the socializing aspect of exercising and other shared activities. In addition, it ignores a Japanese study, which concluded that drinking makes the heart grow sadder.

As for me, I'm sticking to my no-alcohol routine — the sugar doesn't work well in my system. And, I'm convinced, I'll be the happier for it, despite this study's questionable conclusions.

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