Why Alcohol Makes Some Happy And Others Depressed

05/04/2011 11:27 | Updated 22 May 2015

It's a well-known fact that alcohol affects people in different ways. It can give you a real buzz, making you giggly and silly, or it can make you feel down, moody or even aggressive. So why for some is alcohol an exciting intoxicant, while for others it's a definite downer?

Photo: Flickr/TheCulinaryGeek

Scientists from the University of Chicago claim to have discovered why people are affected differently by drinking alcohol - and it's bad news if booze makes you merry, as that means you're more likely to drink to excess and even become an alcoholic.

Published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, the study suggests some people are more sensitive to the euphoric effects of alcohol, whereas others are sensitive to its sedative effects. Unsurprisingly, the study claims those who are more attracted to alcohol are the people who feel high when they drink, rather than those who feel depressed.

In tests involving around 200 volunteers aged between 21 and 35, the researchers discovered those who were light drinkers were more likely to say they felt sluggish and sedated after having a couple of drinks. The heavy drinkers, on the other hand, reported positive effects after downing a few.

All volunteers were breathalysed after drinking, and the concentration of alcohol in their blood was similar - yet the way they described their mood was very different. In other words, how alcohol affects you has nothing to do with how much you drink, but how sensitive your brain is to its positive or negative effects.

How do you feel after a few drinks: merry or miserable?

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