For several decades, counselors have long believed that there was a correlation between depression and teen substance abuse. We all knew that statistically, teens that experimented with drugs or alcohol had higher risks of developing depression symptoms or other depressive type illnesses. The funny thing is that we didn't fully understand the connection between the two among the users of these ages.
The journal "Drug and Alcohol Dependence" published a study last September. Here, researchers from the University of Southern California actually reexamined this topic. Their data showed that these teens had a personality tendency called "negative urgency" present. This trait, for the most part helps explain the reasons why teens that are affected by depression are oftentimes substance users as well.
Stats about Teens and Substance Use
The National Institute on Drug Abuse sponsors an annual survey that tracks substance consumption patterns among 12th graders, 10th graders and 8th graders in the United States - it's called Monitoring the Future. The data from 2013 showed that almost 24% of teens in the U.S. consume alcohol monthly. Out of this same group of teens, about 17% of them consume illicit or illegal drugs each month, with marijuana smoking accounting for the majority.
Adolescent drug use peaked during the middle of the 1990s but dropped until 2008. Since then, the numbers have been steadily rising but are still not back to the peak levels of 20 years ago. The research shows that American teens are using less alcohol and smoking fewer cigarettes. According to the 2013 numbers, about 10% of American teens were monthly smokers. These studies are also showing that older teens are more likely to consume alcohol and drugs than their younger classmates.
What Is Depression?
The Mayo Clinic defines depression as "a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depression, major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may make you feel as if life isn't worth living."
What Is Negative Urgency?
Negative urgency is commonly defined as another form of personality predictors. People will often externalize neurotic behavior characterized by low conscientiousness, and disagreeableness.
Depression & Substance Use
In the study mentioned above, they used around 476 teenagers to reach their conclusions. The researchers explored connections between teen depression and substance abuse, and specifically how the impact of rash and reckless reactions to stressful situations characterized the negative urgency. Based on survey questions, the participating teens self-reported their level of monthly alcohol, tobacco and drug usage. They also shared their experiences with symptoms of depression and how they would commonly react to certain stressful situations.
From the data, the researchers were able to confirm the depression/substance abuse link. Substances including alcohol, marijuana, opioid pain relievers, tobacco/cigarettes and inhalants were also used to cope with stressful situations. The researchers were also able to find that early use of alcohol and cigarettes, and frequent alcohol and cigarette consumption directly linked to the development of depression and was frequently caused by the negative urgencies.
Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in Columbus OH
If you know someone with teenager suffering from a substance abuse issue, our drug and alcohol treatment center in Columbus OH can help them. Please call us right now and get the help they deserve. We use tried and true holistic treatment programs in an outpatient environment that have been proven to work. We're ready to help if you're ready to get them help.