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Kids who respond to depression treatment, less likely to take drugs


Many teenagers who develop depression go on to have a secondary drug abuse problem. Researchers at Duke University wondered if you could treat depressed teens, could you also avoid the secondary drug disorder?

During a five year study, they discovered that you could. Of nearly 200 youths studied who responded favorably to a 12-week depression treatment , only 10% of them developed a future drug problem. For the group that did not respond to treatment, as many as 25% ended up with a drug problem.

“It turned out that whatever they responded to – cognitive behavioral therapy, Prozac, both treatments, or placebo – if they did respond within 12 weeks - they were less likely to develop a drug-use disorder,” said John Curry, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University.

Researchers believe that improved mood regulation due to medicine or skills learned through cognitive-behavior therapy, along with support and education, may have been the key to keeping the kids off drugs. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for alcohol abuse. Researchers suspect that prevalence of alcohol use among people in that age demographic, 17-23, may work against the program.

“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 said. They found that of the kids who had a second bout with depression during the study, almost all of them had an alcohol problem before the relapse.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Duke University

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