A recent scientific study shows that Prozac treatment for depressed adolescents may prevent future drug abuse and lower the risks for this type of substance abuse. The same study also showed that this drug does not lessen the odds that the adolescent will abuse alcohol though. The study was performed by Duke University professor John Curry, who is a psychology and neuroscience professor. Almost 200 adolescent subjects were included in the research and the findings have caused some surprise. Out of approximately 200 subjects 192 of the adolescents had depression that lessened with a 12 week course of treatment, and these adolescents only had a 10% rate of abusing drugs after treatment. For adolescents who did not respond to treatment the rate of drug abuse was 25% after treatment, and this is a significant jump.
This study shows that Prozac may be effective in treating depression and in reducing the rate of future drug abuse by the adolescent. Future alcohol use is not minimized by this treatment though. Study author John Curry explained the findings, “It turned out that whatever they responded to – cognitive behavioral therapy, Prozac, both treatments, or a placebo – if they did respond within 12 weeks they were less likely to develop a drug-use disorder. 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. I think that is definitely a take-home message. When the teenagers got over the depression, about half of them stayed well for the whole five-year period, but almost half of them had a second episode of depression. And what we found out was that, for those who had both alcohol disorder and another depression, the alcohol disorder almost always came first.”