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Could a glass of wine a day keep depression away?

According to a Spanish study, drinking alcohol in moderation -- specifically, wine -- could help prevent depression. The lead researcher on the study, who is the chair of the department of preventive medicine and public health at the University of Navarra, said the link could be similar to that between wine in moderation and heart disease.

For years, researchers have said that a glass of wine a day could help to ward off heart disease. The lead researcher said that depression and heart disease are similar in some ways, which is why moderate wine consumption may also help to prevent depression.

The study involved following more than 5,500 light-to-moderate drinkers (many of whom drank mostly wine) for a period of up to seven years. Throughout this time, the researchers followed the mental health and lifestyle of the subjects. They determined that people who drank two to seven glasses of wine per week were less likely to suffer from depression than non-drinkers.

However, members of the mental health field have some reservations about the cause-and-effect relationship between wine drinking and depression. An adjunct psychology professor at Northwestern University agreed that research has suggested that there are "modest health benefits of very modest drinking,” but there are likely other factors at play as well.

He explained that people who are moderate drinkers are also more likely to have other characteristics making them less likely to suffer from depression. For example, having a healthy social life is known to protect people from depression and moderate drinking is often done in the company of others.

Ultimately, depression is a very serious medical condition that can impair a person's ability to function on a daily basis. Some people with depression find that they can no longer perform their jobs because of their illness. In this case, Social Security Disability benefits may be available to help.

Source: Health.com, "Glass of Wine a Day May Ward Off Depression, Study Suggests," Aug. 30, 2013

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