Sovereign Health Group Blog

How does alcohol use impact our happiness?

07-15-16 Category: Alcohol, Coping, Emotion

How does alcohol use impact our happiness?
Albert: ‘Oh, yes, sir. But alcohol sort of compensates for not getting them.'”
– English author, Sir Terry Pratchett

Not so much, it turns out. New research proves alcohol doesn’t necessarily make us happier When it comes to a shorter life of alcohol dependency, living longer and sober can mean more significant happiness.

The study

A pair of studies published just this spring in Social Science & Medicine demonstrated people are happier in the temporal moments of inebriation, but alcohol consumption is not consistently correlated to happiness long-term.

In fact, alcohol problems over the years were linked to unhappiness, according to the first study, which looked at more than 10,000 adults and surveyed the subjects’ happiness across more than a decade.

The second study collected data via a cell phone survey app, asking about interim happiness and concluded that “while iPhone users are happier at the moment of drinking, there are only small overspills to other moments, and among the wider population, changing drinking levels across several years are not associated with changing life satisfaction.”

The smartphone survey app, Mappiness, facilitated both studies. Mappiness data also revealed, “Drinking had the greatest impact when it came alongside otherwise unenjoyable activities (traveling/commuting, waiting), and only increased the happiness of already enjoyable activities by smaller amounts (socializing, making love).”

The small increases in happiness credited to alcohol consumption are far outweighed by the health and mortality risks with overconsumption as the years go by.

Years lost

Infographics created from data collected by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration bring surprising statistics close to home.

The CDC defines a chronic drinker as someone who imbibes 15 or more drinks weekly. Using the average life expectancy compared to a chronic drinker’s average lifespan, an alcohol-dependent person loses:

  • 6.6 hours every drink
  • 14.1 hours each average day of drinking (roughly 2.14 drinks daily)
  • 23.1 years shaved off his or her life for a total of 29 percent life lost

Truly, the fleeting whimsies of flirting with alcohol aren’t worth losing chunks of time from your life when flirting with inebriation morphs into stalking the next bottle in drunken dependency.

Sovereign Health uses all manner of alternative therapies to awaken your intrinsic happiness during rehabilitation. Brain wellness techniques, cognitive modalities and invigorating alternative therapies are customized to each individual with mental health and addiction issues, for lasting recovery.

About the Author

Sovereign Health Group staff writer Kristin Currin-Sheehan is a mindful spirit swimming in metaphysical pools with faith as her compass. Her cover: a 30s-something Cinderella breadwinner of an all-sport blended family. Her repertoire includes writing poetry, lifestyle articles and TV news; editing, radio production and on-camera reporting. For more information and other inquiries about this media, contact the author at

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