Depressive symptomatology in young adults with a history of MDMA use: A longitudinal analysis

Department of Community Health, Boonshoft School of Medicine, Center for Interventions, Treatment & Addictions Research, Wright State University, Dayton, OH 45435, USA.
Journal of Psychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.59). 02/2008; 22(1):47-54. DOI: 10.1177/0269881107078293
Source: PubMed


Research suggests that methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)/;ecstasy' can cause serotonin depletion as well as serotonergic neurodegradation that may result in depression. This longitudinal study used the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) to assess depressive symptomatology every six months over a two-year period among a community sample of young adult MDMA/;ecstasy' users (n = 402). Multilevel growth modeling was used to analyze changes in BDI scores. Between baseline and 24 months, the mean BDI score declined from 9.8 to 7.7. Scores varied significantly across individuals at baseline and declined at a rate of 0.36 points every six months. Persons with higher baseline scores were more likely to have their scores decrease over time. Several factors were significantly associated with score levels, independent of time: gender - men's scores were lower than women's; ethnicity - whites' scores were lower than those of non-whites; education - persons with at least some university education had scores that were lower than those without any college experience; benzodiazepines - current users' scores were higher than non-users'; opioids - current users' scores were higher than non-users'; and cumulative ecstasy use - people who had used MDMA more than 50 times had scores that were higher than persons who had used the drug less often. The results reported here show low levels of depressive symptoms among a sample that, after 24 months, consisted of both current and former MDMA users. The low and declining mean scores suggest that for most people MDMA/;ecstasy' use does not result in long-term depressive symptomatology.

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    • "There has been the suggestion that chronic use of MDMA, which targets the fine 5-HT axons of the cortex, may lead to depression. However, there is usually concurrent use of other drugs with recreational use of MDMA, and recent data have suggested that if there is an increase in depression in persons who use MDMA it is probably associated with concurrent use of other drugs rather than MDMA itself (Guillot & Greenway, 2006; Medina & Shear, 2007; Falck et al., 2008). These considerations and our observations that the beaded cortical 5-HT axons are preferentially targeted in MPTP-induced parkinsonism raise the possibility that the loss of the beaded cortical 5-HT innervation is associated with a predisposition to the development of depression in PD. "
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