Teens with Social Anxiety Engage in E...

Teens with Social Anxiety Engage in Earlier Alcohol, Marijuana Use

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Since: Apr 13

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#1 Jul 3, 2013
More or less 80 percent of teens suffering from social anxiety disorder and 85 percent with panic disorder had symptoms of that disorder previous to the onset of their substance abuse. In addition, panic disorder has a propensity to start before alcohol dependence and came about in 75 percent of alcohol-dependent adolescents.
According to the authors, there was no clear evidence showing whether agoraphobia came before or after either marijuana use or the first drink.
A limitation of the study, according to the research team, was that 128 (66 percent) of the teens were juvenile offenders who had received court-referred treatment for their substance abuse. These findings might not generalize to a less severely addicted population.
Yet again, interventions to lessen social anxiety might help avoid substance abuse in teens.
“We need to treat these young patients initially with non-pharmacologic means, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or mindfulness meditation,” said Christina Delos Reyes, M.D., a psychiatrist specializing in addictions at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.
Patrick Bordeaux, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Quebec, Canada, said that “comorbidities tend to be the rule in adolescents, not the exception.”
“Adolescents are more likely to have social and mental disorders that make them more likely to use drugs,” said Bordeaux, who was not involved with the study.
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