A study out of Columbia University found that between the years 1991 and 2018, binge drinking behaviors declined among American adolescents. Conversely, depression rates severely increased for this population since the year 2012.

Therefore, binge drinking and depression among adolescents are no longer associated trends.

The research used data pulled from surveys between 1991 and 2018, that used self-reporting from almost 60,000 12th grade students.

The surveys measured binge drinking as having more than five drinks within the past two weeks, while they based measures of depression on the student’s agreeing or disagreeing with statements such as “life is meaningless or hopeless.”

What We Knew Is No Longer the Case

Depression and drinking used to be considered comorbid or that they occurred at the same time. The results of the study indicate that the connections between alcohol use and mental health among adolescents need more exploration and research.

Between 1991 and 2018, the link between depression and binge drinking decreased by 16% overall. Furthermore, this relationship decreased by 24% among girls and 25% among boys.

Therefore, the connection between depression and binge drinking is deviating and is no longer connected as it used to be.

Although the relationship between alcohol use and mental health is complicated, the adolescent experience is changing. Decreases in this population’s alcohol consumption and increases in the occurrence of mental health problems among them point to a need to reassess the association between mental health and substance use to perpetuate research and enact social change.

Where we once thought that depressive symptoms and substance use of drugs or alcohol went hand-in-hand in the adolescent stage of life, there is now a question since this research seems to prove there is no relationship at all between the two. Mental health problems are now the most significant issue for adolescence.

What to Do Now and Where to Find Help

Although research used to suggest a strong relationship between depressive symptoms and alcohol use for adolescents, it appears that it is no longer the case. Exploring mental health issues among adolescents seems to be the next step in psychological research, and the greatest issue to deal with in this population.

Perhaps the opioid epidemic is a contributing factor to the decreases in alcohol use, but without the proper research and studies, it is merely speculation.

At Alta Loma Transformational Living, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Loma uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues.

No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.