Medical Review Encourages Middle Age Non-Drinkers to Start Drinking

By McCarton Ackerman 01/20/15

Of course, those in recovery are discouraged to start drinking again.

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Teetotalers, beware. A new review published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research actually encourages drinkers to pick up the bottle because of the health benefits from it.

Author Emanuel Rubin noted that "the overwhelming evidence suggests that physicians should counsel lifelong non-drinkers at about 40 to 50 years of age to relax and take a drink a day, preferably with dinner." However, he was also quick to point out that this should be an individual recommendation and was not meant to encourage binge-drinking. Those in recovery were also not advised to pick up drinking again.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the review led to criticism from many medical experts who said that there wasn't enough evidence to substantiate the benefits of beginning to drink later in life. Higher intake of alcohol use has routinely been shown to routinely increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, and the development of dementia. Alcohol consumption has also been linked to cancers of the mouth, larynx, and esophagus, among others.

However, low to moderate drinking has also been shown to reduce the risk of a stroke, while many studies have also noted that the antioxidants in red wine can reduce inflammation in the body, and therefore the risk of heart disease. Light alcohol intake has also been shown to reduce the risk of depression and obesity, as well as Type 2 diabetes.

Somewhat ironically, a study was published last May that concluded many alcoholics don't receive medication to aid in their recovery, in part because the benefits aren't widely known. The findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that only 10% of alcoholics in treatment are given medications including naltrexone or acamprosate, which helps addicts stop drinking while reducing the number of days alcoholics drank if they relapsed.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.