A new research has discovered an interesting link between leaving depression untreated during adolescence and people's risk of abusing drugs later on in life. However, the work also shows that treating teen depression is an effective way of eliminating this correlation.
The research was carried out on 192 adolescents, by a team of scientists at the Duke University. Of the depressed teens, some received treatment for their condition for 12 weeks, whereas others did not.
It was discovered that only 10 percent of people in the first group abused drugs later one, whereas the behavior was identified in more than 25 percent of test subjects in the second group. The correlation is therefore crystal clear, PsychCentral
The study group included nearly half of the 439 participants enrolled in the Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study, which was led by the chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center, John March, MD.
Analysts consider this to be the largest sample of teens who have been treated for major depression. The participants were aged 17 to 23 when the 5-year follow-up investigation concluded. Before they enrolled in the research, none of them had substance abuse problems.
“It turned out that whatever they responded to – cognitive-behavioral therapy, Prozac, both treatments, or a placebo – if they did respond within 12 weeks they were less likely to develop a drug-use disorder,” Duke professor of psychology and neuroscience, Dr. John Curry, explains.
Interestingly, the team was unable to discover any differences between the two groups, when they checked for alcohol consumption. This may be caused by the fact that individuals in this age group are very prone to consume alcohol anyway.
“It does point out that alcohol use disorders are very prevalent during that particular age period and there’s a need for a lot of prevention and education for college students to avoid getting into heavy drinking and then the beginnings of an alcohol disorder,” Curry argues.
“I think that is definitely a take-home message,” the expert concludes. Details of the investigation were published in the April-May issue of the esteemed Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.