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Heavy Drinkers Outlive Non-Drinkers, Study Finds

The benefits of drinking alcohol may go beyond the jollies of inebriation and, in fact, help you live longer than non-drinkers, Time.com reported.

While the reasons aren’t yet clear to the research team who conducted the study, they found that abstaining from alcohol can actually increase the risk of dying.

In the 20-year study of 1,824 individuals between the ages of 55 and 65 – 63 percent were men – who had some kind of outpatient care in the previous three years, researchers found that non-drinkers had the highest mortality rate at 69 percent, followed by heavy drinkers at 61 percent and moderate drinkers at 41 percent – moderate alcohol consumption is defined as one-to-three drinks a day.

The study, led by Charles Holahan, psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin, controlled for socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, number of close friends, quality of social support, as well as non-drinkers who had health issues related to past heavy drinking.

Several studies have suggested moderate drinking improves heart health, circulation and sociability, especially red wine. Although heavy drinking is associated with higher risk of disease, including cancer, it also is believed to increase social interaction, which Time.com reported is vital for mental and physical health. This, consequently, makes them less likely to die than non-drinkers, who are more likely to suffer depression.

The findings are published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Click here to read the study (subscription required).

Click here to read more from Time.com.