Something humans have known for generations has finally been backed up by science. “Drowning your sorrows” has been a common refrain for those looking to forget their problems by drinking a lot. Well know according to chemists “Yep, it totally does”.
A study which was published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Communications has found that your favourite cocktails have the same neural and molecular changes as antidepressant drugs. Thankfully you don’t need a prescription of whisky from your Doctor.
However, the study doesn’t promote alcohol as an effective treatment for depression. It’s like putting a bandaid on a severed limb.
There’s a very fine line between it being helpful and harmful, and at some point during repeated use self-medication turns into addiction.
“There’s definitely a danger in self-medicating with alcohol,” said the study’s principal investigator, Kimberly Raab-Graham, Ph.D. “There’s a very fine line between it being helpful and harmful, and at some point during repeated use self-medication turns into addiction.”
The researchers found that using an intoxicating level of alcohol caused a biochemical change which resulted in non-depressive behavior lasting at least 24 hours. Probably because it’s hard to concentrate on being depressed when you’re nursing a hangover.
“Additional research is needed in this area, but our findings do provide a biological basis for the natural human instinct to self-medicate,” Raab-Graham said in a news release by the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “They also define a molecular mechanism that may be a critical contributor to the comorbidity that occurs with alcohol use disorder and major depressive disorder.”
Additional research is needed in this area, but our findings do provide a biological basis for the natural human instinct to self-medicate.
In recent years, single doses of rapid antidepressants such as Ketamine have proven capable of relieving depressive symptoms within hours and lasting for up to two weeks, even in individuals who are resistant to traditional antidepressants.
So before you rush out to self medicate on bourbon, step back and weigh your options.