Teenagers using the drugs speed and ecstasy could find themselves more vulnerable to depression, according to a new study from the University of Montreal.
The research was carried out over a five-year period and thousands of teenagers from Quebec were involved. The researchers found that those taking speed (meth/ampthetamine) or ecstasy (MDMA), and aged fifteen or sixteen had a higher risk of developing depression in the following 12 months.
Co-author of the study, Frédéric N. Brière of the School Environment Research Group at the University of Montreal, said:
“Our findings are consistent with other human and animal studies that suggest long-term negative influences of synthetic drug use.”
“Our results reveal that recreational MDMA and meth/amphetamine use places typically developing secondary school students at greater risk of experiencing depressive symptoms.”
Teenagers taking either speed or ecstasy during grade 10 were 1.7 and 1.6 times more likely to develop depression by the time they reached grade 11, the study shows. Nearly 4,000 teenagers participated in the study and were ask a range of questions which covered their drug use in the past year and their home life.
8 per cent of the teenagers -equivalent to 310 – taking part in the survey admitted to taking MDMA while more than 11 per cent (451) said that they took meth/amphetamines.
Commenting on the findings, Brière said:
“This study takes into account many more influencing factors than other research that has been undertaken regarding the association between drugs and depression in teenagers.”
“However, it does have its limitations, in particular the fact that we cannot entirely rule out the effects of drug combinations and that we do not know the exact contents of MDMA and meth/amphetamine pills.”
Next, the researchers would like to find out more about the combinations of drugs which could most likely lead to depression and the differences drugs have when used by teenagers and adults.
Reports suggest that the use of ecstasy is on the rise. As well as depression the drug is associated with many other health problems including insomnia and anxiety; the ill effects of taking ecstasy can last for many weeks after taking the drug.