The Association Between Opioids and Mental Health
The opioid epidemic has raised many concerns, but much of the discussion has been focused on opioid abuse and its transition to addiction. As the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states, about 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year. Furthermore, MentalHealthFirstAid.org states that more than 40% of people who abuse opioids also struggle with a mental health condition of some kind. Co-occurring disorders are quite common, as oftentimes, drugs can perpetuate symptoms of mental illness – and symptoms of mental illness can sometimes perpetuate drug use, especially if the symptoms are uncomfortable or are interfering with daily life.
A 2017 study published in the journal Prescription Opioid Use and Mental Health sought to analyze results of a national survey; researchers estimated that among the 38.6 million Americans with mental health disorders, 18.7% use prescription opioids. It was also concluded that adults with mental health conditions receive 51.4% of the total opioid prescriptions distributed throughout the United States each year – with such a large percentage of people using opioids, it’s clear that an association exists between the two.
What are some of the mental health risk factors for opioid abuse?
A 2016 study published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse assessed 570 young people who used heroin amongst other opioids. Interviews and diagnostics were completed, and researchers found that prescription opioid abuse was significantly associated with antisocial personality disorder, past-year substance-induced major depressive disorder (MDD), and prior post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
How are opioids affecting mental health?
Opioids such as OxyContin, Hydrocodone, Morphine, Percocet and more directly alter a person’s mood and overall mental health through chemical changes in the brain. Neurotransmitters in the brain send signals throughout the body related to mood, motivation, reward and more, and opioids can alter these signals – which is what plays a major role in the development of addiction.
If you’re ready to begin your journey towards restoration of the mind, body and spirit, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today.
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