Monday, November 07, 2005

Sex, Drugs and Depression

A new study shows that depression among young people occurred after substance and sexual activity. Once believed that sex and drug behaviors were used to "self-medicate" depression, this study shows that it's the other way around. Published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the study uncovers gender-specific pathways to depression. This study demonstrates the added risks to sex and drug use and warns parents to be on the look out.

According to the 2003 Youth Risk behavior Surveillance survey almost half of high school students have has sex, 45 percent have had alcohol, 22 percent have smoked pot during the previous month, and 29 percent have experienced symptoms of depression. Feelings of sadness and hopelessness lasting more than two weeks has stopped them from participationg in normal activities.

Data was analyzed from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which included almost 13,500 kids in grades 7-11. Students were interviewed in 1995 and 1996. Investigators found that sex and drug use increased the predictability of depression. Depression did not predict sex and drug use behaviors among the teens. Simply put, those who reported experimenting with substances or sex in 1995 were more likely to report depressive symptoms in 1996 than those who abstained from such behavior.

The study also indicates gender-specific associations between risky behavior and depression. Girls who experimented with substances or sex and those using alcohol were 3 times more likely to be depressed the followoing year than those who abstained. Also, girls having multipe sex partners and involved with intravenous drug use were 11 times more likely to be depressed the next year. In Contrast, boys who used marijuana and those who used marijuana and had multiple sex partners were 4 times more likely to be depressed the next year than those who abstained. Therefore, contrary to previous reports, these findings suggest that sex and drugs do come first.

No comments: