There is a common belief that alcohol causes depression in people, but American scientists have proposed a different theory contrary to this popular belief. They say alcohol does not cause depression.
Researchers also debunk the view that mild to moderate alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of depression.
“Even one of the diagnoses we have for depressive disorders – Substance Induced Mood Disorder – is a diagnosis where alcohol plays a role,” Almeida said.
“However, because of the observational nature of the association between alcohol and depression, and the risk of confounding and bias that comes with observational studies, it is difficult to be entirely certain that the relationship is causal.
He further said, “For example, people who drink too much may also smoke, have poor diets and other diseases that could explain the excess number of people with depression among heavy drinkers.”
“We now know that certain genetic variations affect the amount of alcohol people consume. There is one particular genetic variation that affects the enzyme responsible for the metabolism of alcohol,” Almeida said.
The researchers carried study on 3,873 elderly men. They analyzed the triangular association between the genetic mutation, alcohol and depression during the study in these men, using data collected over three to eight years.
“We found (as expected) that this particular genetic variant was associated with reduced alcohol use, but it had no association with depression whatsoever,” Almeida said.
“The conclusion is that alcohol use neither causes nor prevents depression in older men. Our results also debunk the view that mild to moderate alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of depression,” he added.