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Your grades are in the dumps. Your love life's in the pits. Your morale is in the doldrums. You're depressed. You need a tall strong one, maybe two, and you'll feel better. The problems may not go away, but at least a couple of drinks will let you forget them for a while, right?

Apparently, a lot of women think so. Recent studies show that women often drink to relieve depression and anxiety. Women are also more likely than men to be binge drinkers, and are twice as likely to drink alone at home.

But alcohol doesn't relieve depression; it makes it worse. Alcohol itself is a depressant, and will most likely intensify your feelings of hopelessness and self-reproach as it alters your mood and impairs your judgment.

To avoid making yourself more depressed, you might want to exercise a little caution about when and how much you drink. The only thing you can count on alcohol to do is add another problem to the list.

If you're looking for a way to deal with problems, don't look to alcohol. Try a counselor or a loved one. Lean on a friend instead of a bottle.