Alcohol Protects Accident Victims from Distress

SYDNEY – Moderate alcohol consumption is likely to protect accident victims from post-traumatic psychological distress, says a new study.

The study assessed 1,045 patients hospitalised after traumatic injury, for patterns of alcohol consumption before and three months after the accident.

This was compared with the level of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) one week after the accident and at three months.

Researchers from University of Adelaide (U-A) found that moderate alcohol consumption before and after the accident predicted lower levels of psychological distress.

Conversely, both abstinence from alcohol and high levels of drinking produced poorer mental health outcomes.

“Rather than suggesting abstinence following exposure to traumatic events…, the importance of moderate drinking should be emphasised as this behaviour may have some benefit in minimising distress,” says Alexander McFarlane, professor at U-A, who led the study.

A small group of patients showed a link between more severe PSTD and the emergence of alcohol abuse, suggesting “self-medication”, says an U-A release.

These findings have been published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

White Wine, Beer Can Ruin Appetite

SYDNEY – Wine, developed as a substitute for water not fit for drinking, could have an unhealthy effect on your appetite.

“However, alcohol is a drug that is abused and the repercussion of alcohol abuse over a long time can seriously affect most of the major organs of the body,” says Anna Kokavec, psychologist at the La Trobe University.

Kokavec and colleague Simon Crowe, a professor, are finding out exactly how alcohol affects the body by focusing on the links between alcohol consumption and appetite.

Alcoholics often seek treatment in a highly malnourished condition, “an issue that can lead to health problems like Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (condition that can lead to forms of amnesia and hallucinations),” says Kokavec.

This malnourishment was often attributed to the ‘poor dietary habits’ of alcoholics, but now Kokavec has uncovered another reason to explain malnourishment in heavy drinkers and the results speak for themselves, according to a La Trobe release.

“We confirmed that certain biochemical processes associated with appetite regulation do change when alcohol was consumed,” says Kokavec.

“The research provides enough evidence to question whether malnutrition and poor dietary behaviour of alcoholics is the fault of the individual or whether it’s the consequences of alcohol and the role it plays in suppressing appetite,” says Kokavec.