"One of the main reasons why the moderate drinking of alcoholic beverages is a common practice is that many people enjoy the relaxing, pleasant effect produced by one or two drinks" and "the psychotherapeutic value of this should be regarded as a potential health benefit".
Positive psychological benefits associated with moderate intake of alcoholic drinks are acknowledged by many experts but are more difficult to demonstrate scientifically. A recent review of the literature confirmed earlier findings that alcohol in moderate amounts is effective in reducing stress and tension and increasing feelings of well being. The review found that, "to a greater degree than either abstainers or heavy drinkers, moderate drinkers have been found to experience a variety of psychological benefits". More research is needed to explain mechanisms to account for the improved functioning and the part, if any, played by the social setting.