Researchers at University of Vermont have found that the reason for drinking alcohol differs between men and women. The researchers report that men are more likely to drink alcohol when they are angry while women often suffer from depressive symptoms the day after drinking.
The researchers, led by Valerie Harder, observed around 246 people between 21 and 82 years of age who were problem drinkers and had been flagged by their primary-care doctors. They took part in an alcohol treatment program and had to report their mood, stress levels and drinking habits every day for six months of the treatment program.
The researchers found that anger was one of the most common reasons why men drank. They also found that being sad or feeling happy did not have any major effect on whether a person drank and while both men and women felt sad the day after drinking, the depressive emotions were stronger in women compared to men.
"Working on strategies for male drinkers to manage their anger may warrant special emphasis in alcohol treatment approaches [in the future]. 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", Harder said.