Your Spouse Might Be a Secret Weapon Against Alcoholism
We all know what to avoid when it comes to succeeding in sobriety (like hanging out with the wrong crowds and the wrong environments), but what actions can we proactively take to decrease our chances of becoming addicted to alcohol?
Well, according to this recent study, getting married tops the list.
The Perks of Saying “I Do”
Here’s why marriage can be a tool to fight off alcoholism. First of all, marriage helps keep the other person in check, experts believe. This “checking phenomenon” is a good thing, as it can discourage drinking behavior, as well as allow the other person to do a little spousal monitoring by preventing the other from developing bad habits. It also helps by creating an awareness of problem drinking patterns.
Research also shows that divorced and single people typically drink more than those who are married, while getting a divorce has shown to increase the risk of developing a drinking problem (by more than seven times in women and almost six times in men).
Even though all these numbers were insightful, the researchers were uncertain – could these results really be attributed to being married? They sought to further clarify the association between divorce and alcoholism by looking at close relatives who shared common genes and childhood environment, specifically monozygotic twin pairs. Sure enough, they found the risk for alcoholism increased for these twins by about 3.5 times, further suggesting that marriage itself – and not genetic or environmental traits – might indeed protect against alcoholism.
Secondly, the authors of the study found that there was something intangible about marriage that protected against the disease of alcoholism. For instance, in both men and women, the risk of becoming dependent on alcohol increased substantially over the 12-month period following a divorce and remained elevated for many years afterward among those who didn’t remarry. Yet, for those remarrying soon after a divorce, the risk for alcoholism substantially decreased. This information, the authors noted, provides additional evidence of the protective effect of marriage.
Someone to Lean On
As far as marriage goes, maybe people really are stronger together. They feel more loved and have more confidence about themselves.
As lead author Kenneth S. Kendler, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Virginia Commonwealth University, states, “This (alcoholism) is not just a problem in our genes, or in our brain; it’s also strongly related to key aspects of the human experience.”
Additional Reading: 3 Life Changing Reasons to Quit Alcohol
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