Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alcohol Abuse May Lead To Depression Risk, Rather Than Vice Versa

Date:
March 7, 2009
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
A statistical modeling study suggests that problems with alcohol abuse may lead to an increased risk of depression, as opposed to the reverse model in which individuals with depression self-medicate with alcohol, according to a new report.

A statistical modeling study suggests that problems with alcohol abuse may lead to an increased risk of depression, as opposed to the reverse model in which individuals with depression self-medicate with alcohol, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

A number of epidemiological studies have shown that alcohol abuse or dependence is associated with major depression, according to background information in the article. However, it has previously been unclear whether one disorder causes the other, or whether a common underlying genetic or environmental risk factor increases risk for both.

Using data gathered from a 25-year study of health and development in New Zealand, David M. Fergusson, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand, examined the associations between alcohol abuse and depression. A sample of 1,055 participants born in 1977 were assessed for both conditions at ages 17 to 18, 20 to 21 and 24 to 25 years and also asked questions about lifestyle and demographic factors.

At ages 17 to 18, 19.4 percent of the participants met criteria for alcohol problems and 18.2 percent for major depression; at ages 20 to 21, 22.4 percent had alcohol disorders and 18.2 percent major depression; and at age 24 to 25, 13.6 percent met alcohol disorder criteria and 13.8 percent had major depression. At all ages, alcohol abuse or dependence was associated with an increased risk of major depression—those who fulfilled criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence were 1.9 times more likely to also fulfill criteria for major depression.

Three models were tested to fit the data—one in which major depression and alcohol abuse disorders had a reciprocal association within time, a second in which alcohol disorders caused major depression and a third in which major depression caused alcohol disorders. "This analysis suggested that the best-fitting model was one in which there was a unidirectional association from alcohol abuse or dependence to major depression but no reverse effect from major depression to alcohol abuse or dependence," the authors write.

"The underlying mechanisms that give rise to such an association are unclear; however, it has been proposed that this link may arise from genetic processes in which the use of alcohol acts to trigger genetic markers that increase the risk of major depression," they continue. "In addition, further research suggests that alcohol's depressant characteristics may lead to periods of depressed affect among those with alcohol abuse or dependence."

The causal links also may include an increased risk of depression due to stressful life circumstances brought by alcohol problems, including social, financial and legal issues. "However, further research is required to elucidate the nature of the possible links between alcohol use and major depression," the authors conclude.

This work was supported by grants from the Health Research Council of New Zealand, the National Child Health Research Foundation, the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation and the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fergusson et al. Tests of Causal Links Between Alcohol Abuse or Dependence and Major Depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 2009; 66 (3): 260 DOI: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2008.543

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Alcohol Abuse May Lead To Depression Risk, Rather Than Vice Versa." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090302183002.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2009, March 7). Alcohol Abuse May Lead To Depression Risk, Rather Than Vice Versa. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090302183002.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Alcohol Abuse May Lead To Depression Risk, Rather Than Vice Versa." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090302183002.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Does Medical Marijuana Reduce Painkiller Overdose Deaths?

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A new study found fewer deaths from prescription drug overdoses in states that have legalized medical marijuana. But experts disagree on the results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heart Group: E-Cigarettes May Help Smokers Quit

Heart Group: E-Cigarettes May Help Smokers Quit

AP (Aug. 25, 2014) The American Heart Association's first policy statement on electronic cigarettes backs them as a last resort to help smokers quit and calls for more regulation to keep them away from youth. (Aug. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Push For Later Start Times As School Year Kicks Off

Doctors Push For Later Start Times As School Year Kicks Off

Newsy (Aug. 25, 2014) The American Academy of Pediatrics is the latest group pushing for middle schools and high schools to start later, for the sake of their kids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins