Despite all the bad press booze has received over the years—that it wreaks havoc on the mind and body, that it’s steadily driving thousands of Americans to early graves—few would be surprised that, in the moment, getting drunk is actually a lot of fun. The U.S. bought roughly 30.6 billion liters of alcohol in 2015 alone, and drinking has become so ingrained in the fabric of our society that the country’s leading beer purveyor, Budweiser, is shortening its name to simply “America” this summer.
Still, what was once merely guesswork has now been proven as a fact of science: drinking makes people happy.
In a new study published this month, a team of British scientists used Mappiness—a smartphone app developed by the London School of Economics to gauge human well-being—to see just how drastically one’s mood improves when consuming alcohol. According to the Washington Post, the research was pooled from 2 million responses and 31,000 different people over the course of three years.
“There are surprisingly few discussions of the link between wellbeing and alcohol, and few empirical studies to underpin them,” a summary of the study reads. “Policymakers have therefore typically considered negative wellbeing impacts while ignoring positive ones, used gross overestimates of positive impacts via a naïve ‘consumer surplus’ approach, or ignored wellbeing completely.”
Yes, despite its bad rap with lawmakers, drinking has the ability to bring joy to an otherwise dreary life. On a scale of 0-100, the study found that while consuming alcohol, participants enjoyed precisely 10.79 points of extra happiness in the moment. A number of variables could contribute to the spike. When drinking, most people are with friends, out at a bar, or watching sports, for example. But even without those external factors, researchers claim alcohol still has the ability to improve one’s immediate mood.
“Simple accounts of the wellbeing impacts of alcohol policies are therefore likely to be misleading,” the study reads. “Policymakers must consider the complexity of different policy impacts on different conceptions of ‘wellbeing’, over different time periods, and among different types of drinkers.”
[via Washington Post]