Mood Disorders and Opiate Addiction

Mental disorders often go untreated by a professional which can lead to individuals self-medicating to cope with their problem(s). Bipolar, anxiety, and depression are some of the most common mental ailments that people treat with illicit substances. It is often the case that people turn to opiates, like oxycodone, and become addicted to them; especially since prescription drug abuse has become more common and the drugs themselves more available.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that prescription opioids are the second most frequently used illegal drug in the U.S. after marijuana. A new study has shown that people suffering from mood disorders are more likely to abuse opioids. Researchers working on the study looked at the link between individuals with mood and anxiety disorders with non-medical prescription opioid use and opioid addiction.

“Lifetime non-medical prescription opioid use was associated with the incidence of any mood disorder, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and all anxiety disorders. Non-medical opioid-use disorder due to non-medical prescription opioid use was associated with any mood disorder, any anxiety disorder, as well as with several incident mood disorders and anxiety disorders,” said Silvia Martins, MD, PhD, lead author of the study and an associate scientist with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Mental Health. “However, there is also evidence that the association works the other way too. Increased risk of incident opioid disorder due to non-medical use occurred among study participants with baseline mood disorders, major depressive disorder, dysthymia and panic disorder, reinforcing our finding that participants with mood disorders might use opioids non-medically to alleviate their mood symptoms. Early identification and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders might reduce the risk for self-medication with prescription opioids and the risk of future development of an opioid-use disorder.”

Individuals who turn to opiates to deal with their disorder may find temporary relief; however, the opiates typically will exacerbate the problem. If you are suffering from a mood disorder it is highly advised that you seek help from a professional.

The results are featured in the Journal of Psychological Medicine.

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