Rodents at the UAE University in Al Ain  are boozing to get over their problems.
As part of an experiment by the anatomy department at the Tawam Medical Campus, researchers offered alcohol to mice in an effort to find out which personality types are more likely to reach for a drink.
Over time, the mice were offered a choice of drinks, including water or alcohol.
Researchers found that panicky or highly stressed mice were much more likely to booze to excess  than mice with a calm nature.
All of the mice preferred drinks that had an alcohol content of between five per cent to 10 per cent, about the same as beer or wine, but most found 20 per cent to be too strong.
All the mice had 24-hour access to the drinks and consumption was heaviest at night,  when mice are naturally more active.
Assistant professor Dr Amine Bahi said that the highly stressed mice appeared to be “self-medicating” with alcohol to calm their nerves.
Alcohol affects the dopamine levels, as it does in humans, and dopamine is known as the “molecule of pleasure”.
However, mice “don’t show the symptoms of getting drunk in the same way that humans do,” Bahi said.
Out of a control group of 50, Bahi found eight mice that were naturally highly stressed and eight that were particularly relaxed - based on their reaction to open spaces and strange objects placed in their cages.
The stressed-out mice were labelled HAMS (high anxiety mice), while relaxed mice were labelled LAM (low anxiety mice).
Bahi said the exact link between stress and alcohol is not fully known and his research group hopes that its findings will help people gain understanding  of the connection.
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