Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alcohol abusers' depression often related to drinking

Date:
February 12, 2013
Source:
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Summary:
For problem drinkers, bouts of depressive symptoms are often the direct result of their heavy alcohol intake, according to a new study.

For problem drinkers, bouts of depressive symptoms are often the direct result of their heavy alcohol intake, according to a study in the March issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Experts have long known that heavy drinking can spur temporary episodes of depression -- what's known as "substance-induced depression." However, this information is not always apparent to busy clinicians, and the new findings strengthen the evidence that the phenomenon exists as well as how common and clinically important it is.

"I don't know that the average person realizes that heavy drinking can induce mood problems," said lead researcher Marc A. Schuckit, M.D., of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

What's more, not every doctor might be aware of it, either. But it's important that he or she pay close attention to this problem, Schuckit said, because depression caused by heavy drinking has a different prognosis and is treated much differently from major depressive episodes that are not seen in the context of heavy drinking. Although the symptoms of independent and substance-induced depressions can be identical, if the sadness develops in the context of heavy drinking, the symptoms are likely to lift within several weeks to a month of abstinence and rarely require antidepressants to go away.

The findings come from a 30-year study of nearly 400 men who were 18 years old at the outset. About half were at increased risk for drinking problems because their fathers were alcoholics. Over three decades, about 41 percent of the men with alcoholic fathers developed alcohol abuse or dependence, and nearly 20 percent suffered at least one bout of major depression.

For men with alcohol problems, though, almost one third of those major depressive episodes were seen only while they were drinking heavily.

It's important for doctors to consider alcohol use disorders as a possible cause of patients' depression symptoms, Schuckit said -- rather than simply "reaching for the prescription pad" and recommending an antidepressant.

If alcohol is the cause, "the depression is very likely to disappear with abstinence," Schuckit said.

Many people think that some individuals drink heavily because they are depressed, and that is the case for some. But Schuckit's team actually found no evidence that people with a history of major depression were at increased risk for developing alcohol problems in the future.

"If you're an alcoholic, you're going to have a lot of mood problems," Schuckit said. "And you may be tempted to say, 'Well, I drink a lot because I'm depressed.' You may be right, but it's even more likely that you're depressed because you drink heavily."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marc A. Schuckit, Tom L. Smith, Jelger Kalmijn. Relationships Among Independent Major Depressions, Alcohol Use, and Other Substance Use and Related Problems Over 30 Years in 397 Families. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 2013 [link]

Cite This Page:

Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. "Alcohol abusers' depression often related to drinking." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130212075432.htm>.
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. (2013, February 12). Alcohol abusers' depression often related to drinking. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130212075432.htm
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. "Alcohol abusers' depression often related to drinking." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130212075432.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. 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