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Background and Objectives

Research shows that interventions for substance use disorders may be helpful in reducing internalizing disorders in adolescents. This paper examines the prevalence and reductions of anxiety and depression symptoms among youth receiving substance use treatment.

Methods

Four hundred eighty adolescents ages 12–17 who received treatment for substance abuse as part of the Brief Strategic Family Therapy effectiveness trial were screened for anxiety and depression using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-Predictive Scales (DISC-PS). Twelve-month post-randomization assessments were completed by 327 parents and 315 youth. Sixty-five percent of the sample was found to have probability of at least one anxiety disorder or depression diagnosis.

Results

Significant reduction of anxiety and depressive symptoms and significant reductions in probable anxiety and depression diagnoses were observed at follow-up. Few differences by treatment type and by ethnic group were noticed.

Conclusions and Scientific Significance

Findings indicate that substance use interventions might help reduce the prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms and the probability of these disorders. (Am J Addict 2013;22:329–337)