According to clinical neuroscientists from The University of Western Australia, there is no truth to the belief that alcohol directly causes depression. This has been a long standing belief however scientists have now disproved this theory.
According to a Professor from the University, Professor Osvaldo Almeida from the School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, until now everyone assumed that alcohol caused depression especially when consumed at excessive levels, however this is not true.
The Professor went on to state according to an article on www.news.uwa.edu.au
“Even one of the diagnoses we have for depressive disorders – Substance Induced Mood Disorder – is a diagnosis where alcohol plays a role,” Professor Almeida said. “However, because of the observational nature of the association between alcohol and depression, and the risk of confounding and bias that comes with observational studies, it is difficult to be entirely certain that the relationship is causal.
“For example, people who drink too much may also smoke, have poor diets and other diseases that could explain the excess number of people with depression among heavy drinkers.”
According to Professor Almeida and his fellow researchers, there are genetic variations which exist that affect the amount of alcohol people consume.
He claims that there is one particular genetic variation that affects the enzyme responsible for the metabolism of alcohol which produces an enzyme that is up to 80 times less competent at breaking down alcohol. That is why people who carry this variation are much less tolerant to alcohol. In fact, there is now evidence that alcohol-related disorders are very uncommon in this group.
The post goes on to explain:
“Now, if alcohol causes depression, then a genetic variation that reduces alcohol use and alcohol-related disorders, should reduce the risk of depression. The great advantage of looking at the gene is that this association is not confounded by any other factors – people are born like that.”
The researchers analysed the triangular association between the genetic mutation, alcohol and depression in 3873 elderly male participants of the HIMS study, using data collected over three to eight years.
“We found (as expected) that this particular genetic variant was associated with reduced alcohol use, but it had no association with depression whatsoever,” Professor Almeida said.
The scientists concluded that alcohol use neither causes nor prevents depression in older men. As scientists explained the association between alcohol and depression was most likely caused by other factors but not the alcohol itself.
These findings should not be an excuse to abuse alcohol because although the link to depression has been debunked, excessive consumption is linked to a number of other health problems.
The best way to consume alcohol is in moderation. When consumed responsibly and in moderation alcohol is not only a way relaxing and unwinding, it also has a number of positive effects of the health, however it cannot stop depression neither cannot it induce it.