Teens who suffer from depression and also abuse drugs can benefit from a combination of antidepressants and therapy or therapy alone, according to a new study from the University of Colorado.
When the teens in the study felt less depressed, they were more likely to drop their substance abuse.
Clinicians in the field are calling the study "landmark" because it is the first time that someone has shown that depressed, addicted teens can safely take antidepressants.
Dr. Paula Riggs and her colleagues studied 126 teenagers who had a history of abusing at least one drug but who also suffered from major depression. Three-fourths of the teens who took fluoxetines combined with talk therapy showed major decreases in their levels of depression and became more successful at addiction treatment. Some 67% of those who received only talk therapy without medications also improved.
Therapy helped the teens learn new ways of dealing with their problems and improved their ability to cope with cravings.
"These kids come into drug treatment with only one tool in their tool bags," Dr. Riggs said. "If their dog dies? I think I'll get high. If their girlfriend breaks up with them? I think I'll get high."
This study appears in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.
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Labels: addiction, treatment, depression
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