Alcohol Is An Antidepressant Too

Here’s why you don’t hate yourself as much when you’re drinking.

“I’m here to help.” Photo: Paul Kline

If you think you like drinking because it makes you happy, you are correct.

In a study published in the current issue of the journal Nature Communications, researchers found that alcohol produces the same neural and molecular changes as drugs that have proven to be rapidly effective antidepressants. “Because of the high comorbidity between major depressive disorder and alcoholism there is the widely recognized self-medication hypothesis, suggesting that depressed individuals may turn to drinking as a means to treat their depression,” said the study’s principal investigator, Kimberly Raab-Graham, Ph.D., associate professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “We now have biochemical and behavioral data to support that hypothesis.”

Naturally, there are the usual disclaimers about not trying to treat your depression with alcohol, in spite of the fact that they’ve just told you it totally works and everything you personally have learned about having a few drinks up until now indicates that it’s a hell of a lot more fun than taking a pill and waiting a few weeks for it to kick in and make you bloated, vacant and unfuckable, but I guess Science thinks being sad for a little while longer is the better part of valor even though there is nothing better than drinking and now you have proof that it stops you wishing you were dead because you suck so bad. I have to believe when Science discovers that alcohol also makes everyone around you more interesting, keeps you from wanting to be alone all the time and allows you to, even for a few hours, say things without your brain screaming, “Shut up you stupid idiot, why would anyone ever care what you think about anything?” it will caution against enjoying those effects for the same reason. The reason is Science hates you and doesn’t want you to be happy. You and Science have a lot in common, if you think about it.