Alcohol dependence or abuse was associated with nearly double the risk of major depression in a recent study of 18 to 25 year olds.
There appears to be little doubt that heavy drinking adversely affects the brain. Numerous studies have not only linked alcohol problems with depression, but several other recent trials have found that heavy drinking in teens and young adults can cause brain shrinkage and changes on MRI consistent with early signs of alcohol-related dementia. Young problem drinkers have been found to have significantly smaller prefrontal cortexes, an area of the brain associated with complex thinking, planning, inhibition, and emotional regulation. Also, the size of the prefrontal cortex strongly correlated with the average number of drinks an individual consumed per drinking episode.
People of all ages, especially children, need to learn and use healthy coping mechanisms, such as exercise and good eating habits, to control stress. Heavy drinking to wind down or have a good time often leads to a viscious downhill spiral of self-destruction.
Source: Fergusson D, et al “Tests of causal links between alcohol abuse or dependence and major depression” Arch Gen Psychiatry 2009; 66: 260-266.Bookmark this page
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