Drunk Mice Depressed on Abstinence

by Rajashri on Jul 26 2008 3:04 PM

A new study says that mice used to boozing get depressed if they are forced to abstain from alcohol.

Researchers led by Clyde Hodge of the University of Carolina at Chapel Hill found that those mice who voluntarily drank moderate amounts of alcohol displayed depression-like behaviour when they were put off from alcohol.

A significant drop was also seen in the number of brain cells in the hippocampus - a region linked to memory and mood.

"The number of new neurons fell by 40 per cent, and that's a lot," The New Scientist quoted Hodge, as saying.

While the abstaining mice became "blue" after almost 2 weeks of taking their last drink, it was found that antidepressants successfully restored their mood.

Hodge said that with these results, there is a hope for a possibility of better treatment for abstinence-related depression in alcoholics.

However, he cautioned that this should not mean that it is a justification for continuing to drink in order "to feel better".