If you think alcohol is a good way to feel good when things go bad, think again. A recent SMH article shed light on liquor’s little secret – it can lead to depression.
‘Compared to people who drink because they’re depressed, there are more people who get depressed because they regularly drink too much’, says Professor Sitharthan Thiagarajan of the Australian Centre for Addiction Research.
Why this is so is not clear. It may be that excessive alcohol affects mood centres in the brain. Or perhaps drinking too much causes distressing work or family problems.
The good news is that drinking less can reverse the problem.
‘We know that when people drink a lot over a long period, their mood goes down – yet when they start to drink less, their mood goes up’, says Thiagarajan.
In fact, a 2,500-person study of the Centre’s Controlled Drinking by Correspondence Program found that learning to drink less improved people’s mood. And we’re not talking intractable alcoholics, here – the participants were generally people with education, employment and relationships for whom alcohol had simply become a 6+ drinks-a-day habit.
Happiness life strategy
If you turn to booze as a daily staple, think about other ways to relax or feel good. I like watching comedies and reading fiction, and I have friends who enjoy a dip in the pool, walking, playing drums, cooking, dancing, chatting to friends on the phone or listening to music.
Opt for a little less hootch in your life and you just might find yourself with a little more happiness.