Teenagers who drink heavily are also more likely than their peers to have behavioral problems or symptoms of depression and anxiety, a new study finds.

The study, of nearly 9,000 Norwegian teenagers, found that those who said they had been drunk more than 10 times in their lives were more likely to have attention and conduct problems in school. Meanwhile, heavy-drinking girls showed higher rates of depression and anxiety symptoms.

The findings, published in the online journal Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, are based on a one-time survey. They do not, therefore, show whether the drinking came before or after the teenagers' other problems.

"We can say that mental health problems (are) closely connected to alcohol drinking and intoxication, but we cannot from these data say anything about which comes first," explained lead researcher Dr. Arve Strandheim, of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.

That said, conduct and attention problems do tend to develop early in childhood, and would be less likely to arise in adolescence, Strandheim told Reuters Health.

Source: Reuters/MSNBC
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31853960/ns/health-addictions/