According to a new study that is being published in the December issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, behavioral problems are the reason why some kids suffer from lower grades rather than depression. This may go against some claims that depression is the culprit.

“Behavior problems including attention issues, delinquency and substance use are associated with diminished achievement, but depression is not,” said the study’s lead author Jane D. McLeod, a sociology professor and an associate dean at Indiana University. “Certainly, there are depressed youths who have trouble in school, but it’s likely because they are also using substances, engaging in delinquent activities, or have attention issues.”

The study claims that the children with behavioral issues were more likely to earn lesser degrees than the children with depression. Those students were also more likely to have lower grade point averages (GPAs). Often the belief has been that students with behavioral issues and conditions (ADD, ADHD, drug use, delinquency, etc.) who received regular assistance in school through counselors and prescription medications were seen to be a bit better off than students who were dealing with depression symptoms. Depression was often seen by professionals as the larger concern in terms of academia, particularly since the condition is often undiagnosed and untreated. This study goes a long way toward proving that theory incorrect.

While this study seems to refute previous claims of how severe depression can cause more significant changes in a student’s ability to earn a high degree (when compared to behavioral problems), it is in no way advocating the use of antidepressants as the quick fix treatment option. As depression has quickly become one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions today, the drug treatments used to ease the symptoms of depression have been proven to be dangerous and even ineffective.

Antidepressants like Paxil and Effexor can cause patients to develop violent and suicidal thoughts and behavior. In addition, some side effects linked to Paxil and Effexor and other antidepressants affect more than just the patient. Those medications also cause birth defects (PPHN, spina bifida, oral clefts) in babies whose mothers take the drugs while pregnant.

Even with this study downplaying depression’s effects on student GPAs and focusing on behavioral concerns, depression still remains a serious condition that requires treatment to overcome. It just may be that antidepressant like Paxil or Effexor may not be the right choice when the risks are put against the benefits.