New Study: Depression Treatment Helps Teens Avoid Drugs

New research taken from the largest sample of adolescents treated for major depression has discovered adolescents treated for the mental illness are less likely to abuse drugs. If the participants responded to cognitive-behavioral therapy or Prozac — or either both or a placebo — they were less likely to later struggle with drug use. Some participants who did struggle with alcohol abuse following the study experienced repeat bouts with depression, as well.

According to PsychCentral, “Researchers at Duke University found that only 10 percent of 192 adolescents whose depression receded after 12 weeks of treatment later abused drugs, compared to 25 percent of those for whom treatment did not work.”

Factors of the study:

  • The participants were ages 17-23 at the end of the five-year follow-up study
  • The participants had no preexisting drug or alcohol issues.
  • The participants must have had at least five symptoms to be diagnosed with major depression prior to treatment: depressed mood; loss of interest; disruptions in appetite, sleep or energy; poor concentration; worthlessness; and suicidal thoughts/behavior.

Staving off depression for these adolescents was due in part to medicine, skills learned in cognitive-behavior therapy, and support and education that came with the treatments.

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