Women who are clinically depressed at the time they enter drug court are four times likelier to use crack within four months, compared to women who had been depressed at some point in their past, according to a new study.
The study suggests that addressing depression could reduce the number of women who fail to beat crack addiction in drug court.
"We found that current major depression increased the risk of crack use, but depression in the past year that had gotten better did not," said Jennifer Johnson, assistant professor (research) of psychiatry and human behavior in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and lead author of the study.
Among the 261 women in the study, 16 percent had a current major depressive episode and 40 percent had experienced a major depressive episode in their lifetime.
Among the women currently depressed, 46 percent used crack during the next four months. Among women who weren't currently depressed, only 25 percent used crack in the next four months.
Women, who had been depressed at some time in the past, even in the last year, did not have an increased risk of crack use compared to women who had never been depressed, Johnson found.
"It doesn't matter if they've been depressed in the past," Johnson says, "only how they're doing right now."
The study has been published in the journal Addiction.