FRIDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Childhood anxiety and depression may predict increased use of the recreational drug ecstasy (MDMA) in adolescence and young adulthood, according to a study published online Feb. 23 in BMJ.
Anja C. Huizink, M.D., of Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted psychological assessments of 1,580 children in 1983 and re-assessed them for drug use 14 years later.
The researchers found that children who were classified as anxious or depressed were 2.2 times more likely than non-anxious, non-depressed children to experiment with ecstasy as adolescents and young adults.
"Our findings give evidence for a temporal pathway, in which childhood symptoms of anxiety and depression may precede use of MDMA," the authors conclude. "Focusing on the children with symptoms of anxiety and depression as vulnerable individuals in future studies will increase our insight into the potential harmful effects of MDMA on brain neurotransmitter systems and associated psychopathology."
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