Depression Linked to Alcohol Abuse

Depression and alcohol have been linked for a while, but a Statistics Canada study shows that it's a two-way street.

"It seemed that it was a [dual] relationship," said Michael Tjepkema, part of Statistics Canada's Health Statistics Division. "Looking at the data in a longitudinal way, people who were heavy drinkers in (the first survey), two years later were more likely to develop a depressive disorder.

"We also found that someone who had depression (in the first survey) was more likely, in two years, to become a heavy drinker. So it's kind of like a connection, going both directions- a kind of complex pathway."

The study based their definition of someone who is alcohol dependent on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The DSM, published by the American Psychiatric Association, ask the patients a list of questions, after which if they've answered yes to three or more, are classified as being 'alcohol dependent.'

"In terms of major depression," Tjepkema continued. "Which means getting depression two years after being a heavy drinker, women were more likely (to become depressed). "

The reverse, however, was true for men, who were more likely to become heavy drinkers-which means drinking more than once a week-after having been depressed.