Opioid Prescription Painkiller Use and Its Link to Depression

Opioid Prescription Painkiller Use and Its Link to Depression

When it comes to treatment for opioid painkiller abuse, Americans coping with mental health issues like depression typically face a more challenging road to recovery. Behavioral health counseling can help drug users to manage their addiction and depression simultaneously, but solutions that ignore the interactions between substance abuse and depression may not properly treat a patient’s condition.

Excessive use of prescription opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone can cause or exacerbate depression. Likewise, individuals suffering from depression naturally have a stronger inclination towards addictive behaviors. A deeper understanding of these symptoms and their interactions will make it easier for individuals struggling with depression and opioid addiction to identify effective solutions to their afflictions.

Prescription Painkillers and Depression

Depression manifests itself in more ways than behavioral changes. Those who struggle with depression may develop insomnia, problems with digestion, low energy and chronic muscle pain. Prescription opioid pills are not prescribed to treat depression. However, it’s not uncommon for those dealing with depression to be put on opioids following an accident or major surgery. Potentially harmful interactions between an individual’s depression and opioid medication must not be overlooked in these cases.

Depression Increases Risk Of Opioid Misuse

Individuals with depression are more likely to misuse prescription opioids for several reasons. A large-scale research study conducted by Kaiser Permanente examined the medical records of tens of thousands of patients. The study showed that patients were three times more likely to receive a prescription for opioid painkillers if they had any history of depression than those without any such history.

Users with depression will often consume opioids to treat psychological pain. Despite the feelings of euphoria typically associated with opioid use, this type of self-medication is not effective and ultimately fuels the cycle of addiction. In some cases, the use of opioid pills to treat depression symptoms can backfire, worsening depression symptoms and limiting the brain’s ability to recover naturally.

Opioids Exacerbate Depression Symptoms

Common Opioid FormulasNormally, the brain’s opioid receptors help regulate cognitive processes and emotional responses. Excessive use of prescription opioids, however, interferes with the brain’s ability to produce its own opioids by eroding neural pathways to the body’s reward center.

Opioid misuse also interferes with the body’s ability to produce testosterone. Testosterone naturally mitigates depression, and a deficiency can cause a user’s mental health to further deteriorate. When the user already has depression, prescription opioids further disturb an already imbalanced chemical system in the body. The cyclical nature of depression and the addictive nature of opioids feeds into one another. Additionally, some individuals who have never experienced depression may develop the condition due to the effect of opioids on the brain’s natural chemistry, especially with prolonged and/or excessive use.

Addiction Prevention And Best Practices

Awareness and education are crucial when it comes to ending the crisis of prescription opioid abuse in the United States. Unfortunately, many individuals with depression are not even aware of their tendency toward addictive behaviors until the issue manifests through an injury or a surgery requiring pain management. If individuals simply assume that opioids are safe because a doctor prescribed them, they are at a much higher risk of misusing them in the future.

Additionally, medical doctors don’t always consider behavioral health concerns in their diagnoses and treatments. If a patient is experiencing pain, they will determine the most effective method to treat it. Opioids are extremely effective at reducing pain, but it’s important for doctors to convey the risks of addiction and overdose to patients before writing prescriptions.

If you or a loved one begins to display worrisome signs that addiction may be setting in, it is vital to address these issues before the problem becomes even more severe. Opioid users experience intense withdrawal symptoms as the last dose begins to wear off.  Depression can make these symptoms feel even more unbearable. As a result, the detoxification process must be approached cautiously. 

Treatment for Painkiller Addiction

The potential for prescription pills to worsen depression symptoms underscores the importance of treating opioid abuse. It is imperative to locate a reputable treatment facility that is both capable of helping patients overcome their addictions and familiar with how behavioral health issues can hinder the recovery process.

Remember that opioids are powerfully addictive for the human body, and the shock of withdrawal is excruciating for most users. Medical assistance and supervision can provide relief for the discomfort and help ensure the detox process finishes smoothly. This approach will ensure that the user starts the recovery process on a better footing and is able to recognize behavioral health concerns before they spiral out of control.

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