Adolescents who experience mental health disorders are at high risk for using alcohol and other drugs.
Many people who develop substance use disorders also are diagnosed with mental disorders, and vice versa. For adults, multiple national studies show that half of people who experience a mental illness also experience a substance use disorder. And while there are fewer studies on youth, research suggests a high rate of co-occurring disorders.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, estimates of youth with co-occurring substance and mental health disorders is between 60% and 75%. And rates for first time substance users are much higher for kids who’ve had a major depressive episode than in those who did not.
In fact, youth who experienced a major depressive episode are twice as likely to start using drugs (including alcohol) than those who haven’t experienced such an episode. Additionally, more than 29% of youth who hadn’t used alcohol first initiated use after a major depressive episode. Same thing for other drugs, with 16% initiating use after an episode.
Teens also often turn to marijuana after a depressive episode, which can in turn worsen a mental health condition. Marijuana also can lead to other, serious disorders like schizophrenia, according to SAMHSA and other research.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 3.2 million adolescents have had at least one major depressive episode.
Depression is a serious mood disorder characterized by a loss of interest in things previously enjoyed, energy loss, feelings of worthlessness, and thoughts of death or suicide. A personal or family history of depression, major life changes, trauma, stress and certain medications can contribute to developing depression.
Anxiety and depression are closely related, with almost half of all people with depression also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Studies suggest that young people develop internalizing disorders like depression before developing SUD.
Both substance use and mental disorders are highly treatable. Get information at SAMHSA’s helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357). For immediate, local crisis support, call the Eastern Shore hotline at 888-407-8018.
Talbot Goes Purple is an educational and awareness prevention program that empowers our youth and our community to “Go Purple” as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse. The purpose of the program is to promote the “new conversation” – one that includes prescription drugs, alcohol, marijuana and e-cigarettes. TGP focuses on educating students about the dangers of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, and works toward preventing kids from beginning to use these substances in the first place.
An initiative from the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office and Tidewater Rotary, in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools, Saints Peter & Paul School and the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, Talbot Goes Purple empowers our youth and our community to “Go Purple” as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse.