Kes wrote:I never have quite understood the rationale of having a drink if you feel a bit down.
Yep, patently the best thing to have when you're feeling depressed, is a depressant.
When people call it a depressant, they don't mean it makes you depressed. It slows down reactions and cognition, therefore it's classed as a depressant (in the same way that heroin is specifically a respiratory depressant). Alcohol does also act as a serotonin agonist (happy hormone), causes dopamine release (more happy stuff) and increases endorphins (more happy), so the effects it has on mood are complex.
Pharmacology aside, I've always found truth in the rule of thumb that if you're happy, alcohol will make you happier, and if you're sad it will make you sadder.
Not that I've started to drink more regularly, I can see why people like to drink socially.
It certainly is a depressant as you say, and makes it difficult to concentrate on things you would take for granted when you're sober. It's good when you want to forget something, but it's bad if you have to concentrate e.g. on playing music...
I can also see that it makes easier to interact with the people you already like, but it can also make you do things you wouldn't do when you're sober.
There are times when I have drank alcohol to be (both literally and figuratively) numb, but I definitely prefer to drink when I want to enjoy the company of friends.