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Antidepressants Lower Men’s Alcohol Use

A new Canadian study compared the level of alcohol consumption among men and women suffering from depression. In particular, the relationship between use of antidepressants and level of alcohol intake was assessed. The study concluded that women suffering from depression consumed more alcohol than women who did not experience depression, regardless of antidepressant use.

This finding differs significantly from rates found in male counterparts. While men suffering from depression generally consume more alcohol than non-depressed men, those who use antidepressants consume alcohol at about the same level as non-depressed men.

Dr. Kathryn Graham, Senior Scientist with CAMH and Agnes Massak, Ph.D student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Western Ontario, published the study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) on February 27, 2007.

“Our results agree with previous clinical research that suggests that the use of antidepressants is associated with lower alcohol consumption among men suffering from depression,” said Dr. Graham. “But this does not appear to be true for women.”

Overall, participants in the survey experiencing depression (both men and women) drank more alcohol than did non-depressed respondents. However, men taking antidepressants consumed significantly less alcohol than depressed men who did not use antidepressants. Non-depressed men consumed 436 drinks per year, compared to 579 drinks for depressed men not using antidepressants, and 414 drinks for depressed men who used antidepressants.

Unfortunately for women, the alcohol use remained higher whether those experiencing depression took antidepressants or not. The numbers are telling: 179 drinks per year for non-depressed women, 235 drinks for depressed women not using antidepressants, and 264 drinks for depressed women who used antidepressants.

“The fact that the relationship between the use of antidepressants and the level of alcohol consumption is different for men and women points to the importance of taking gender influences and sex differences into consideration in the treatment and prevention of many health conditions,” said Dr. Miriam Stewart, Scientific Director for CIHR Institute of Gender and Health.

“This type of research reporting significant sex differences helps identify important clues for tailoring interventions.”
The scientists behind this study say further research is needed to assess whether this afinding is due to drug effects or some other factor.

“We do not know whether antidepressants have different pharmacological effects on men and women, whether depression differs by gender, or whether the differences in the process of being treated for depression account for this discrepancy,” mentioned Dr. Graham. “For example, physicians prescribing antidepressants may be more likely to caution men than women about their drinking.”

For the study, 14,063 Canadian residents aged 18-76 years were surveyed. The survey included measures of quantity, frequency of drinking, depression and antidepressants use, over the period of a year.

The researchers used data from the GENACIS Canada survey, part of an international collaboration to investigate the influence of cultural variation on gender differences in alcohol use and related problems. CIHR provided over 1.3 million to GENACIS Canada (GENder Alcohol and Culture: an International Study). Over 35 countries and more than 100 leading alcohol and gender researchers are involved in the multinational study.

Every year, 12% of Canadians between the ages of 15 and 64 years suffer from some form of a mental disorder or substance dependence.

Source: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Antidepressants Lower Men’s Alcohol Use

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Antidepressants Lower Men’s Alcohol Use. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 14, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/02/27/antidepressants-lower-mens-alcohol-consumption/651.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
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