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Men Tend to Drink When They Are Angry, Study Reports

Update Date: Jul 30, 2013 02:14 PM EDT
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When people consume alcohol, there are certain signs that indicate once someone is intoxicated. Even though these signs might be similar between people, the reasons behind why people drink and how drinking makes them feel vary greatly from one person to the next. In a new study, researchers focused on these multiple variables that influence people to drink. They discovered that sex greatly affects why people drink and how they feel that day after.

For this study, the research team headed by the assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont, Valerie Harder, recruited 246 participants within the huge age range of 21 to 82. All of these participants were flagged by their primary care physician as people who have issues with drinking. The researchers placed the participants in an alcohol treatment program where they were required to discuss their moods, stress levels and drinking habits every day for six months via phone. The research team utilized a voice-recording program that helped them assess the conversations.

The researchers found that men tend to turn to drinking when they were angry. The researchers reported that men who felt angry drank more the following day in comparison to men who were not angry. The researchers found that emotions of happiness or sadness did not appear to increase the number of drinks consumed by both men and women. However, the emotion of sadness was experienced after drinking in both sexes, but more prevalent in women than men.

"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 rate," Harder said.

Harder believes that by understanding how sex can play a huge role in alcohol consumption, researchers might be able to help develop better ways of addressing alcoholism. Treatment options would greatly differ between sexes. In addition, by understanding these differences, medical professionals could potentially screen patients for potentially dangerous drinking behaviors.  

"Working on strategies for male drinkers to manage their anger may warrant special emphasis in alcohol treatment approaches," Harder explained. "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."

The study was published in the journal, Alcohol and Alcoholism

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