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Female Teenage Drinkers and Depression

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According to a 2002 Third National Health and Nutrition Survey report, teenage girls between the ages of 12 and 16 years old who currently drink alcohol are 400% more likely than their non-drinking female peers to experience depression.

Let's Do the Math

What does "400% more" actually mean in the above statistic? This means that teenage females between the ages of 12 and 16 years old who currently drink alcohol are 4 times more likely than their non-drinking female peers to experience depression.

Although it cannot be stated that drinking alcohol "causes" depression in teenage females, it can be said, however, that drinking alcohol and depression is highly correlated in teenage females between the ages of 12 and 16 years old.

Conclusion

From a mental health perspective, is this not strong evidence for teenage females to refrain from drinking alcoholic beverages until they are at least 21 years old?

From a therapeutic orientation, moreover, the above statistic points to the need for teenage female drinkers to get treatment for their drinking problem AND for their depression.

Indeed, getting professional treatment for one medical condition and ignoring the other will often times result in a continuation of BOTH medical problems.

Reference

1. NHANES 2001-2002

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