Article Summary By Michael Estlack, Director of Connectivity
Recent research spearheaded by the Dutch has now established a correlation between early signs of mental health disorders and later substance abuse problems. Looking at young people dealing with anxiety, depression, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), these researchers found a significantly higher rate of drug, alcohol, and nicotine use later in life. Researchers hypothesized this use was a means to self-medicate these pre-existing disorders.
Annabeth Groenman, Ph.D., from the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, says, “Although the link between ADHD and later substance-related disorders was well established, literature did not show such a clear link between other childhood disorders and later substance-related disorders. I feel that with this study we identify a vulnerable group in society and show that those with problems in childhood can grow up to become troubled adults.”
Coming from a generous sample size of 762,187 case studies, researchers hope that finding this relationship between early mental disorders and substance abuse later in life will allow for preventative measures to be employed.
Groenman also remarks, “Now that we know that this group of youngsters is particularly at risk, we can work together with clinicians, government and relevant organizations to reduce the number of substance-related disorders in later life and hopefully reduce debilitating consequences later in life.”
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