Drink Up, Because Booze Won’t Make You Depressed

Time for another cocktail?

  • Share
  • Read Later
Cody Rasmussen / Getty Images

Everybody seems to think that alcohol and depression go together like gin and tonic. Sure, depressed people might be more likely to imbibe, but according to a recent study, booze does not cause depression.

Clinical neuroscientists at the University of Western Australia believe they’ve debunked the long-held myth that drinking — especially heavy drinking — will make you depressed. The researchers collected data from 3,873 male participants with the genetic mutation most closely associated with alcohol metabolism — or in other words, the genetic variation that makes some people unable to hold their liquor. The study analyzed the association between that mutation, alcohol and depression.

(MORE: Smarter Kids Are Smart Enough to Avoid Alcohol and Drugs, Right?)

“Now, if alcohol causes depression, then a genetic variation that reduces alcohol use and alcohol-related disorders, should reduce the risk of depression,” Professor Osvaldo Almeida, one of the researchers, told ScienceAlert.  “The great advantage of looking at the gene is that this association is not confounded by any other factors – people are born like that.”

Though they did find a link between that genetic variant and reduced alcohol use, they found “it had no association with depression whatsoever,” Almeida said. The study’s main takeaway, then, is that alcohol neither causes nor prevents depression — in older men, at least.

But before you skip on over to the bar to begin pouring pure grain alcohol down your throat, the researchers do want to remind you that this “doesn’t mean alcohol is entirely safe and people can consume it in whatever way they like.” Bummer.

MORE: Man Brews Booze Inside His Own Gut

12 comments
allsoundfury
allsoundfury

You don't have to like or agree with something for it to be true. Only excuse making "alcoholics" blame their negative feelings on drinking. You know who you are...

vrome
vrome

Come on!  Only a retard would think a depressant causes depression.  Slurred speech, shallower and slower breathing, a lower pulse rate and blood pressure, dis-coordination, decreased reaction time, diminished alertness, and loss of inhibition is not the same as a mental disorder characterized by the loss of pleasure or positive feelings, increase in guilt/sadness/worthlessness and other unpleasant feelings, and disturbances in sleep and appetite.   The depression spectrum mental disorders require symptoms to last two weeks or much longer.  I have never heard of a person who got drunk and had their drunken symptoms last two weeks or longer. 

What's next:  A researcher telling us that cigarettes really do relax people?  Psst, cigarettes may be a stimulant in terms of the cardiovascular system, but they relax and calm people because they  increase/stimulate activity in the brain associated with relaxation, 

RascalRivetts
RascalRivetts

ALCOHOL IS NOT A DEPRESSANT!!! They labeled it a "depressant" because it DEPRESSES the nervous system. It's why you ask out people or talk to people more easily when you drink. It will DEPRESS you if you ABUSE it too much. If it was a depressant, then why aren't college people sitting around depressed at every party!!!!  Now they are laughing and having fun and feel a little groggy in the morning, Wake up.

Just because some people are not smart and abuse the hell out of alcohol and screw up their brain chemistry, doesn't mean you can yell at people it's a "depressant". 

GregGardner
GregGardner

Who funded this study?  A brewery or distillery?

kds
kds

This is one of the stupidest things I've read in awhile. They used people who drink the least on which to base their findings? I'm not a Dr. or a scientist but a housewife and I know better. Will someone please give me a grant so I can waste my time on some stupid hypothesis? It would be preferable to housework.

Therapist60
Therapist60

What a total crock.

Alcohol is a depressant and can cause depression and also worsen existing depression.

After working with depressed patients for the past 40 years I can say this with authority.

olasson
olasson

Always knew that blaming depression of a drinking person on drinking does not resolve the depression but worsens it.

heywood
heywood

"the great advantage of looking at the gene is that this association is not confounded by any other factors - people are born like that."

can't they come to a similar conclusion about homosexuality -  that  " people are born like that and no other factors confound that?"

bikalpa
bikalpa

all these studies make me feel that people just don't understand drinking.. if you are a sad person.. you will be sad when you drink and if you are a happy person,, you will be happy when you drink.. it has nothing to do with drinking.. 

MiltonFindley
MiltonFindley

Wait, so they tested people who don't drink much to find out if they were as depressed as those who do, and determined that there was no statistical difference between the two groups?  In older men, at least?  I think that I will take this finding with a grain of salt about the size of a Volkswagen Tuareg.  Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant one molecule of H20 removed from ether which will depress you to death of administered incorrectly.  Depression is an extremely loosely constructed condition in mental health, what definition did they use?  Too many unreported holes in this finding to take it to a bar.