Addicted To Opiates-Why It Also Causes Depression

by | Mar 14, 2018 | Addiction, Treatment | 0 comments

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Opiates are prescribed legally in the United States by doctors and physicians–and because of their highly addictive properties and potential for abuse–have quickly led to a drug epidemic of catastrophic proportions. Not only are opiates harmful to individual mental health, but they are also shown to cause depression as well. According to the research, 21% of people who are prescribed opiates for pain or injuries wind up chronically misusing them. Illegal drugs have taken a back seat to the prescription painkiller epidemic now running rampant in this country. Since prescription opiates were a readily available option beginning in the 1990s for doctors treating patients in significant pain, the very same prescriptions have led to opiate use disorder, resulting in a 30% increase in national overdoses between 2016-2017. This terrifying epidemic–which started out as a band-aid for physical pain conditions–is not only causing widespread death and destruction, but is also linked with being a catalyst for another chronic disorder–depression.

 Heroin And Depression 

Opiates are a man-made, synthetic form of heroin. They mimic the effects of heroin in the brain by attaching to opioid receptors, which then produces a natural euphoria or high. As the neurotransmitter, dopamine is released into the brain, the opioids continue to deplete the brain’s natural pleasure center until brain chemistry is completely altered. This is when addiction starts. The brain stops producing its own natural endorphins and trains itself on how to become addicted to the pills. The same process happens with heroin addiction, and many people who abuse opioids will eventually turn to intravenous drug use to get the same desired effect.

Heroin addiction will best be addressed with an intervention program or dual diagnosis treatment plan. Since these pain relievers alter brain chemistry to such an extent and there is new research to support they can also cause significant depression, a dual diagnosis treatment center would be the best bet. If someone is already categorized as dual diagnosis, this unfortunate reality is much more actualized. A dual diagnosis will confirm that someone suffers from opiate use disorder in concurrence with clinical depression. When someone’s brain chemistry is already abnormal, drug abuse will increase the abnormality, throwing the brain’s reward system completely out of whack. The irony is that chronic drug abuse is endured to help increase feelings of pleasure. When the brain becomes dependant on opiates, the sufferer goes through withdrawal symptoms and winds up more depressed than before they started using drugs in the first place.

 Addiction Treatment 

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Many drug rehab centers and treatment centers specialize in helping people who are dually diagnosed. Inpatient treatment allows professionals in the industry to provide actual pain relief and rehabilitate the addict’s nervous system back to more of a stable condition.

When people go to the doctor and become addicted to prescription painkillers, it often seems impossible to undergo drug treatment for their physical and behavioral health. This is because the brain becomes so dependant on opiates that the physical withdrawal symptoms are extremely tough to endure. Addicts are already suffering from mood changes and symptoms of depression–which is why someone who is dually diagnosed needs all the help they can get.

The good news is that there are medications and other treatment programs that aid the chronic substance abuser back to health and wellness. If a dual diagnosis is present, it’s important you choose the right treatment center that will address both mental conditions. Behavioral therapy, medical detox, and carefully monitored progress are all ways to ease someone going through opiate withdrawal mixed with depression. When the body and brain are cleared of opiates, natural feelings of pleasure will start to return.

 Drug And Alcohol Rehab For Opioid Addiction 

opiates depression brain chemistry

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Suffering from opioid addiction increases the risk of suffering from depression and vice versa. This means that finding the right treatment center to address both issues is critical for your behavioral therapy plan. Individual plans will also help address those diagnosed with depression and addiction disease. Most certified alcohol and drug treatment centers are filled with the most caring and compassionate staff around, helping to uplift the addict and give them tools to help stay sober.

Recovery begins with admitting you need help and surrendering to the idea that you don’t want to live the way you’ve been living. When suffering from major depression along with alcohol and drug addiction, it can seem like life is totally unbearable and you might as well just give up. We think this is a good thing. The most successful people in recovery have given up their own way of doing things, surrendered to a treatment program of optimal health, and taken simple suggestions learned in therapy and meetings to help get them back on track. A lot of these suggestions are taught in intervention programs and substance abuse treatment programs. 

All good things come from sacrifice and surrender. If you or a loved one has taken opiates to get over your depression, only to find yourself more depressed than when you started, know that there is help available and you’re not alone.


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