Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Painkiller abuse linked to depression, suicide in college students

Date:
June 11, 2012
Source:
Western Illinois University
Summary:
Medical researchers have recently conducted and published a study that explores non-medical prescription drug use and depressive symptoms in college students.

Non-medical prescription drug use by college students is a growing trend on most campuses, according to the U.S. Department of Education's Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention. Due to this trend, Western Illinois University Department of Health Sciences Assistant Professor Amanda Divin and her colleague, Keith Zullig, an associate professor in the West Virginia University School of Public Health, recently conducted and published a study that explores non-medical prescription drug use and depressive symptoms in college students.

Divin and Zullig utilized data from the fall 2008 American College Health Association National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA), a national research survey that addresses seven areas of health and behavior of college students, one of which is alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. The sample used for the study (from the ACHA-NCHA data) contained 26,600 randomly selected college students from 40 campuses in the U.S. The student respondents were asked about their non-medical prescription drug use (including painkillers, stimulants, sedatives and antidepressants) and mental health symptoms within the last year.

According to Divin's and Zullig's results, approximately 13 percent of the college-student respondents reported non-medical prescription drug use, with those who reported feeling hopeless, sad, depressed or considered suicide being significantly more likely to report non-medical use of any prescription drug. The results also showed this relationship was more pronounced for females who reported painkiller use. The study -- which is titled, "The association between non-medical prescription drug use, depressive symptoms, and suicidality among college students" -- will appear in the August 2012 issue of Addictive Behaviors: An International Journal.

"Because prescription drugs are tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and prescribed by a doctor, most people perceive them as 'safe' and don't see the harm in sharing with friends or family if they have a few extra pills left over," Divin explained. "Unfortunately, all drugs potentially have dangerous side effects. As our study demonstrates, use of prescription drugs -- particularly painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycontin -- is related to depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts and behaviors in college students. This is why use of such drugs need to be monitored by a doctor and why mental health outreach on college campuses is particularly important."

Divin and Zullig believe the results suggest that students are self-medicating their psychological distress with prescription medications.

"Considering how common prescription sharing is on college campuses and the prevalence of mental health issues during the college years, more investigation in this area is definitely warranted," Divin added. "Our study is just one of the many first steps in exploring the relationship between non-medical prescription drug use and mental health."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Western Illinois University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Keith J. Zullig, Amanda L. Divin. The association between non-medical prescription drug use, depressive symptoms, and suicidality among college students. Addictive Behaviors, 2012; 37 (8): 890 DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.02.008

Cite This Page:

Western Illinois University. "Painkiller abuse linked to depression, suicide in college students." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120611122253.htm>.
Western Illinois University. (2012, June 11). Painkiller abuse linked to depression, suicide in college students. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120611122253.htm
Western Illinois University. "Painkiller abuse linked to depression, suicide in college students." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120611122253.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins