Michael Darden, Nicholas W. Papageorge, 02 March 2019

When people lack options to manage pain many choose to ‘self-medicate’, turning to substances that are dangerous and ‘off label’ in an effort to seek relief. This column tests a theory of rational self-medication in the context of alcohol and depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which were approved in the US in the mid-1980s, appear to have had an indirect benefit by reducing the consumption of alcohol as an alternative form of self-medication for depression. The findings illustrate the importance of considering the behavioural ramifications of new medication and therapy.

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