Person experiencing the effects of teen depression and substance abuse

The Link Between Teen Depression and Substance Abuse

If your teen is showing signs of depression and addiction, taking action is essential. Research shows that teens with depression are more likely to struggle with substance abuse. Substance abuse can lead to a range of adverse outcomes for your teen, including decreased academic performance, increased risk-taking behaviors, and even physical health issues. Call 844.875.5609 to speak with someone from the knowledgeable team at Promises Behavioral Health about our addiction treatment and inpatient depression treatment options offered throughout the United States.

About Teen Depression and Substance Abuse

Statistically speaking, teenagers who consume drugs or alcohol have elevated odds of developing symptoms of major depression disorder (MDD) or some other depressive disorder. However, researchers don’t fully understand why the connection between teen depression and substance abuse exists. But not fully understanding why a connection exists doesn’t stop specialists from developing teen depression and addiction treatment programs that can help individuals overcome their substance use disorders (SUDs) and depression.

Teen Depression

Most people know about MDD, a severe mental health condition capable of robbing affected individuals of their motivation and ability to enjoy everyday life or maintain a sense of well-being. Subtypes of this condition include the following:

  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – Individuals with SAD usually feel more depressed when days get shorter and colder.
  • Psychotic depression – This type of depression is often accompanied by a sense of paranoia or other psychotic symptoms.
  • Postpartum depression (PPD) – PPD typically affects recent mothers who experience extreme changes in their hormones after giving birth.

Other officially diagnosable forms of depressive illness include dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. The most common depressive disorders in American teenagers are MDD, SAD, and dysthymia. MDD is America’s most common severe mental health condition.

Teen Substance Abuse

Around one-fourth of American teenagers consume alcohol in an average month. Less than one-fifth of American teenagers consume an illicit or illegal drug in the same period—marijuana consumption accounts for the clear majority of this drug use. However, alcohol abuse is steadily declining among American teenagers. Older adolescents have substantially higher odds of drinking, using drugs, or smoking than their younger counterparts.

How Teens Go from Depression to Substance Abuse

Negative urgency is a common issue among teenagers in the United States. It is a form of impulsivity characterized by an inability to control emotions, particularly those that are negative or angry. As such, it can lead to impulsive behaviors like substance abuse and other risky activities. Studies have found that teens with higher levels of negative urgency are likelier to engage in drug abuse and alcohol consumption than those without it. Furthermore, they may be at greater risk for developing depression and anxiety due to their emotional instability.

Therefore, parents and guardians need to recognize the signs of negative urgency in order to help their teenage children avoid these potentially dangerous behaviors. As a rule, people affected by negative urgency have certain underlying personality traits, including the following:

  • Impulsive decision making
  • Low tolerance for frustration or delayed gratification
  • Sensitivity to emotional discomfort
  • Difficulty controlling emotions

These traits can increase the risk of depression and substance abuse. As a result, prompt intervention is necessary to help the teen develop healthier coping mechanisms.  

Find Treatment for Teen Depression and Addiction in the US with Promises Behavioral Health

Contact Promises today at 844.875.5609 to learn more about how we can help teens struggling with depression and addiction in the United States. Our team of experts is here to provide the guidance and support needed for your teen to recover. We will work with you every step of the way and help create an individualized treatment plan tailored to your teen’s unique needs to maximize their potential for success.

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