It’s no secret that opioid abuse is a growing problem in the United States.
In 2017 alone, an estimated 18 million people misused their medications at least once, and 2 million people misused their prescription painkillers for the first time.1 While they’re known to cause addiction, can opioids cause depression? How do these drugs affect your mental health? Research has found that when left untreated, depression after long-term opiate use can occur. As a rehab in Boca Raton, FL, that offers mental health treatment, we wanted to take a closer look at this claim ourselves.
Why Are Mental Health and Opioid Abuse Connected?
If you’re wondering, can opioids cause depression, the answer is yes. Co-occurring disorders refer to conditions in which a person has both drug addiction and mental illness. For example, if someone has an opioid addiction and depression, they have a co-occurring disorder.There are a few possible reasons for the connection between depression and opioid abuse:
- Pain is a common symptom for people with mental disorders like depression, making them more likely to rely on painkillers such as opioids for relief.
- People with depression and other mental health disorders may take painkillers for emotional pain or to self-medicate their symptoms.
- People with mental disorders could have genes that increase their risk of addiction and mental illness.
- Trauma, including physical or emotional abuse, is a contributing factor to both drug addiction and mental illness.
Drugs like opioids can also cause depression because of their effects on the brain. When a person abuses opioids, the levels of chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine increase, contributing to pain relief and a euphoric high. After a while of opioid abuse, a chemical imbalance in the brain may occur, which can contribute to mental disorders like depression and anxiety. It’s recommended that those who are unable to quit using opioids on their own find professional opioid treatment.
Opioid Depression Symptoms
Opioids can also cause depression because of the negative feelings users may feel as a result of their addiction. Addiction often causes feelings of hopelessness, despair, and guilt, which are some common symptoms of depression. In people who do experience depression as a result of opioid abuse, early detection is crucial to prevent worsening symptoms and even heartbreaking consequences like suicide.
Common opioid depression symptoms include:
- Lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed
- Depressed mood or irritability
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Fluctuations in appetite
- Feelings of guilt or despair
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor performance at school or work
- Isolating from loved ones
- Suicidal thoughts
People with opiate-induced depression may also show signs of opiate addiction, such as taking larger doses than prescribed, experiencing cravings, or using opioids even when it leads to problems in their health, career, finances, or relationships. If you or a loved one is exhibiting any of these signs, our Banyan rehab in Boca Raton can help.
Treatment for Opioid-Induced Depressive Disorder
Opioids are one of the many prescription drugs that can cause depression. Not only can they cause depression, but they can also worsen symptoms in those who already have it. If you or a loved one finds themselves battling both addiction and a mental disorder, Banyan Treatment Centers Boca offers dual diagnosis treatment that can help.
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