Does Opioid Use Cause Depression and Anxiety?

In May of this year, Gallup released a new study surveying the number of people in the United States who suffer from depression. While there are many different ways to analyze the data and divide the numbers, no matter which way we look at it, one thing is true: depression diagnoses are on the rise. According to Gallup, an estimated 29% of adult Americans have reported being diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives. That is ten points higher than in 2015. 

Combine that data with opioid abuse and the numbers rise again. In 2020, about 2.3 million Americans had prescription opioid abuse in the last 12 months. The tricky task when combatting this disease is that people who do are often more susceptible to depression as well. If left untreated, recovery can become an incredibly difficult journey for an individual to go through.  

Our highly skilled and trained staff at American Treatment Network understand the complexities of opioid addiction and dependence, as well as depression. Our whole-person approach to our numerous treatment programs proves our dedication to our patients and their families to ensure a successful recovery. Our plans are effective and individualized because no single patient is the same; these diseases even affect everyone differently. This is why the American Treatment Network is the only choice to consider when seeking substance abuse and addiction program recovery. 

The Relationship Between Opioid Addiction, Dependence And Depression

Opioid or substance abuse is defined as a person using a prescribed medication for an increased period of time than as directed by a doctor. It’s also the case when a person misuses the medication or in a greater amount than initially discussed by their physician. 

People who abuse opioids often have to face the challenges that come with depression as well. This is called a bi-directional relationship, meaning that they are dependent upon each other, and suffering from one increases the potential risk of the other. Studies have shown that opioid abuse is linked to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorders. Understanding this fact is vital when it comes to treating patients with substance abuse addictions. Without the proper examination by licensed medical professionals, the potential risk factors of triggering another disease or disorder are high. 

The specialists at American Treatment Network recognize that opioid abuse is an epidemic within the United States that is not being met with the proper opioid addiction treatment and care. The previous system set in place was more of a band-aid approach. Rather than creating a comprehensive treatment plan for the affected individual, facilities chose to treat the acute symptoms of the disorder. This is our promise to our patients, the difference we make: complete healing from all directions and not just apply a temporary fix to a long-term problem. 

How Can Opioid Abuse Lead To Depression And Anxiety Symptoms?

The simple answer: how they work. Opioids affect an individual’s brain chemistry, essentially the reward and pleasure responses triggered by the addiction. Researchers believe that this is the link between addiction and depression. Remember, when these conditions co-exist they are considered to be bi-directional or dependent on one another. So if you already suffer from substance abuse, not only can the risk for depression increase, but it can cycle back into the abuse. Depression is believed to lessen the effects of opioid use, resulting in individuals chasing that feeling of reward. 

There are a number of signs of depression and here is a list of a few to be on the lookout for: 

  • Lack of energy
  • Change in appetite
  • Lack of interest in regular activities
  • Trouble concentrating
  • A feeling of guilt or despair
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Irritability

Of course, this is not a comprehensive list, and depression and anxiety affect everyone differently. There are signs of opioid addiction as well. Here are some questions you can ask yourself if you think you are suffering from an opioid or substance abuse addiction: 

  • Do you feel like you need more of the prescribed drug to achieve the desired effect?
  • Do you have cravings for the drug?
  • Have you tried to cut back your use but have been unsuccessful?
  • Does using this drug interfere with your ability to perform daily activities? Are you noticing changes in your sleep patterns?
  • Have you taken the drug for a longer period or in larger amounts than previously discussed with your primary care physician?
  • Have you finished your prescription early?
  • Are you visiting more than one doctor for the same drug?
  • Drastic behavioral changes? 

Struggling with opioid addiction and dependence can be a complex challenge, but that doesn’t mean patients or their families have to do it alone. There are numerous comprehensive treatments provided by the American Treatment Network. Our intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are designed to be effective by using pharmacology and counseling. This allows patients to regain and maintain stability throughout their daily lives in order to achieve lifelong sobriety. That is and always has been our number one goal within our facilities. 

The End Of The Opioid Addiction Treatment Search

At American Treatment Network, we pride ourselves on offering scientific-based comprehensive treatment for substance abuse and addiction. The difference between our treatment options and theirs is that we treat individuals throughout every step on their journey to lifelong recovery. 

Addiction is more than just the physical drugs we see, it affects a person’s entire lifestyle. When seeking treatment, the first step is to address the immediate withdrawal symptoms that come when quitting opioids. These include vomiting, nausea, intense cravings, sweating, nervousness, and stomach pain. Patients may then proceed with further care depending on what they need, such as counseling and other therapy options. 

For further information on our treatment and therapy services, visit one of our locations in Havertown, PA, Upland, PA, Newark, DE or Dover, DE, and begin your journey to lifelong recovery. 


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