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Arlin Cuncic

Teenagers With Social Anxiety Disorder at Greater Risk for Substance Abuse

By September 6, 2007

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New research shows that teens with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) may be at increased risk for developing alcohol or marijuana dependence later in life. The study, conducted by Dr. N. B. Schmidt, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Florida State University, tracked 816 teenagers from age 17 until 30. The findings showed that teenagers with a history of SAD at age 17 were five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence and seven times more likely to develop marijuana dependence, than peers with no history of SAD. No relationship was found for depression or other anxiety disorders, making SAD a unique risk factor for substance abuse among teens. This study highlights the importance of getting help for your child or teenager as soon as you suspect a problem with social anxiety.

This study is in press with the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

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