Alcohol can make you forget it is depressing you.

By | August 30, 2009

278741134_aa53bfe889Abstaining from alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of depression according to a new study published in Addiction journal.

It has long been recognised that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to poor physical and mental health. However, there has been mounting evidence that low levels of alcohol consumption may also be associated with poor mental health possibly due to abstainers having other health problems or being reformed heavy drinkers.

The study utilised data from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT Study) based in Norway. This provided information on the drinking habits and mental health of over 38,000 individuals. Using this data the authors were able to show that those individuals who reported drinking no alcohol over a two week period were more likely than moderate drinkers to report symptoms of depression. Those individuals who additionally labelled themselves as “abstainers” were at the highest risk of depression. Other factors, such as age, physical health problems and number of close friends could explain some, but not all of this increased risk. The authors also had access to reported levels of alcohol consumption 11 years prior to the main survey. This showed that fourteen percent of current abstainers had previously been heavy drinkers, but this did not explain all of the increased risk of depression amongst abstainers.

The authors conclude that in societies where some use of alcohol is the norm, abstinence may be associated with being socially marginalised or particular personality traits that may also be associated with mental illness.

It should also be noted that alcohol use is associated with many physical health problems, with excessive alcohol consumption being estimated to contribute to over 33,000 death in the UK each year and many more injuries. The current guidance is for men to drink no more than three to four units each day, and women to drink no more than two to three units.

via Addiction Journal.

This is very misleading. In other words, people not drinking had more self awareness of their depression (if they were depressed) than the people drinking. The thing to remember is that alcohol is a mood altering depressant drug. A depressed mind is less in touch with reality. So, don’t make yourself more depressed with alcohol. Work on fixing the root of the problem for best long term results.

3 thoughts on “Alcohol can make you forget it is depressing you.

  1. Pingback: Alcohol can make you forget it is depressing you. « Xenophilia … | Alcohol abuse,addiction and how to

  2. Jason

    I’d like to see you back up your statement that “A depressed mind is less in touch with reality.” Starting with the optimism bias and winding it’s way through many other aspects of our relationship with reality, there is a lot of evidence that depressed people are better predictors of outcomes and more accurate assessors of others’ views of them.

    So, a slight distortion of reality seems to be an integral part of being happy. Put that in your pipe and smoke it 🙂

    1. Xeno Post author

      Hi Jason,
      According to Dobson and Shaw, “Past research has demonstrated that depressed individuals tend to distort their recall of positive feedback in a negative fashion.” – Cognitive Therapy and Research, 1981

      If depression put people more in touch with reality, wouldn’t driving sober be against the law because drunk drivers would be better at judging real distances and avoiding real obstacles?

      I’m happy, but do not believe I am slightly warping reality. Perhaps this is because I am slightly warping reality. 😉 I feel realistic, not optimistic or pessimistic … and very much not depressed. Depression seems to be a brain chemistry thing. If I miss several meals or drink alcohol, my body feels it. Bad mental “tapes” (saying negative things) long term can lead to depression too… but not always. As luck would have it, as a kid I developed the habit that if I say something negative in my head, I quickly say and consider the positive side as well to stay balanced. Perhaps everyone does this, but they sure don’t show it. I hear so much self-abuse, hate, fear, etc. out there. Well, I hear so much self-love, courage and compassion too.

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