Come Down Mood Can Stick

Drug abuse with methamphetamine and ecstasy among teens can lead to depression

(RxWiki News) New study looks into whether depression in teens is a combination of factors, or if it is the use of methamphetamines and/or ecstasy that are at the heart of the problem.

Researchers were careful to follow nearly 4,000 cases over five years to rule out other contributors to depression.

The next step in research will be to determine exactly how methamphetamine and ecstasy use causes the depression on a physiological level.

"Drug abuse can cause depression: it’s not worth the risk."

In a recent study done at the University of Montreal’s psychology department researchers, Frédéric N Brière Ph.D. and Jean-Sébastien Fallu Ph.D., went to great effort to isolate factors that contribute to depression in teens that use methamphetamines and ecstasy.

Brière and Fallu have spent a long time studying their sample of 3,880 adolescents in low-income areas of Quebec, Canada. Five years to be exact, from 2003-2008. Starting off with the kids when they were in the 7th or 8th grade, then testing them again when they were averaging 15-16 years of age in the 10th grade, and then finally a year later in the 11th grade.

Each student was evaluated for depressive symptoms, pre-existing and contextual circumstances. Adjustments were made if other factors contributed to depression.

Of the 3,880 teens, 8% reported using ecstasy, 11.6% reported using methamphetamines, and 6.7% reported using both. 15% tested for depressive symptoms in the 11th grade. Those who used both drugs were nearly twice as likely to have depression.

Teenager’s brains are still in stages of development. Researchers concluded that further studies would be necessary to determine how the toxins from the drugs damage neurological health in relation to depression. 

This study will be published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, April 2012. The research project was funded by a grant from the Fonds Québécois de Recherche sur la Santé et la Société. No conflicts of interest were found.

Review Date: 
April 17, 2012