It’s the year 2016. Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president, Harambe is dead, and most of us wake up each morning in the midst of an all-consuming vacuum of fear and existential dread. And while booze has long existed as a means of temporary escape, momentarily taking one’s mind off the trials and tribulations of everyday life, it turns out that drinking alcohol actually does bring about the same neural and molecular changes as powerful antidepressants—at least according to a new study in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
Conducted by researchers at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the study used genetically altered mice to analyze the link between alcohol use and depression, according to Munchies. After giving the animals an intoxicating level of booze, researchers found that the experiment resulted in “non-depressive behavior” in the mice for at least a day.
The data has helped scientists better understand why two common ailments—alcoholism and depression—often go hand in hand.
Still, scientists aren’t giving us all a green light to drink our problems away. Alcohol may help people who struggle with clinical depression feel better for a time (and data suggests there is a real shift in biochemistry when liquor is consumed) self-medicating rarely turns out well in the end.
“There's definitely a danger in self-medicating with alcohol," Raab-Graham said. "There's a very fine line between it being helpful and harmful, and at some point during repeated use self-medication turns into addiction."