Research Spotlight - Spring 2012

Onset of alcohol or substance use disorders following treatment for adolescent depression.

Duke Investigator: John Curry, PhD

In April 2012, the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology published a study examining whether treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD) in adolescents would have the secondary benefit of preventing subsequent alcohol use disorders or substance (drug) use disorders. The research, led by Duke’s John Curry, PhD, found that positive response to depression treatment for adolescents, regardless of type of treatment, significantly reduces the rate of subsequent substance use disorders, but not alcohol use disorders.

Dr. Curry shared another interesting finding form the study in a video from Duke University. Dr. Curry said, “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 

Duke TODAYDepression Treatment Can Prevent Adolescent Drug Abuse who had both alcohol disorder and another depression, the alcohol disorder almost always came first."

U.S. News & World ReportDepressed Teens Who Respond to Treatment Less Likely to Abuse Drugs