New research by UNC scientists shows that stopping drinking -- including at moderate levels -- may lead to health problems including depression and a reduced capacity of the brain to produce new neurons, a process called neurogenesis. The findings from the university's Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies appear online in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.
"Our research in an animal model establishes a causal link between abstinence from alcohol drinking and depression," said study senior author Clyde W. Hodge, a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology in the UNC School of Medicine. "In mice that voluntarily drank alcohol for 28 days, depression-like behavior was evident 14 days after termination of alcohol drinking. "This suggests that people who stop drinking may experience negative mood states days or weeks after the alcohol has cleared their systems," Hodge said.
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