Early-onset depressive disorders can significantly predict the use of addictive substances in adolescents, says a new study.
The study predicted that the teens could indulge in daily smoking, smokeless tobacco use, frequent illicit drug use, frequent alcohol use and recurrent intoxication.
The results were found to be same even among those adolescents who were not users at baseline.
The study confirmed the predictive associations of early-onset depressive disorders with smokeless tobacco use and frequent drinking at age 171/2, in within-family replications with co-twins matched on half or all their segregating genes, and on their family structure, socio-economic status, and household environment.
"The findings of this large population-based study emphasize the importance of early-onset depressive disorders in developmental trajectories of substance use", said Elina Hakola, University of Helsinki, Finland.
Analyses that control for shared genetic and familial background factors suggested that influences other than family environments, for example, the influence of peers or dispositional personality traits on health-adversing behaviours in adolescence may also play an important role in this association.
The findings of the study have important implications for educational purposes in treatment and prevention programs in adolescent health care.