Do Painkillers For Chronic Pain Can Lead To Depression?
An addiction to prescription painkillers is more common than you might think. The best way to reduce the number of people addicted to painkillers is for friends and family members to get involved when they see signs of abuse. Addiction to prescription painkillers is also dangerous, and these have a greater potential for abuse.
An overdose of painkillers is almost always the result of respiratory failure. The most common sign that someone is abusing painkillers is the refilling of prescriptions with no cause. Different types of painkillers are sometimes combined together into one tablet – for example, paracetamol plus codeine (co-codamol). In fact, this is already heavily practiced- the most commonly used painkillers for chronic pain are opioids, which are pain medications.
Opioids can be very safe if used as prescribed, but they are powerful medications that need to be respected,” said Seddon Savage, M.D., associate professor of anesthesiology at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and Director of the Dartmouth Center on Addiction Recovery and Education in Hanover, N.H. “Taking someone else’s medication, combining them with the wrong thing, or just taking too much on a single occasion can be a fatal mistake.”
We reviewed the research and talked to the experts to identify five things you need to know if you are considering taking an opioid for pain.
1. They don’t work well against long-term pain
Opioid drugs work very well to alleviate severe short-term pain due to, say, surgery or a broken bone. They can also help with pain associated with terminal or very serious illnesses, such as cancer. But for longer-term pain from, for example, arthritis, lower-back pain, or nerve pain, research suggests that other medications and even nondrug treatments often provide relief with less risk.
2. Leftover pills from an old prescription could be dangerous
People who’ve built up a tolerance to opioids can often take higher doses without serious side effects. But when you stop taking the drug, you’re back to square one. So if you took higher dose pills in the past and now decide to pop one, say, for a pulled muscle or bad headache, you could accidentally overdose on your own prescription. See more here.
Patients prescribed narcotic painkillers for chronic pain will become addicted, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
News from a research team studying the effects of opioids may help explain the explosion in prescription painkiller addictions of the last several years. A University of Colorado-Boulder study has found that opioid use increases chronic pain in rats. If the same result holds true in humans, it would mean that prescribed opioids aren’t only viciously addictive, they also worsen the very condition they’re prescribed to treat.
The study showed that just five days of morphine treatment in rats caused chronic pain that continued for several months by triggering the release of pain signals from immune cells in the spinal cord. “We are showing for the first time that even a brief exposure to opioids can have long-term negative effects on pain,” said CU-Boulder assistant research professor Peter Grace, a faculty member in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. “We found the treatment was contributing to the problem.”The immune cells in the spinal cord, known as glial cells, normally play the role of clearing out infection-causing microorganisms. When the body is in pain, signals are sent that place glial cells on high alert. In rats, what appears to happen after a few days of morphine treatment is the opioids send repeated signals to the glial cells, causing a “glial cascade.” In turn this cascade produces a cell signal from a protein called interleukin-1beta (IL-1b), which increases the activity of nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain, resulting in intensified chronic pain that lasts several months. Read more here.
People who exhibit the signs of taking painkillers for chronic pain have developed an addiction and probably should seek drug treatment.
Why Might Prescription Painkillers Lead to Depression?
It’s not entirely clear how the drugs may be involved in depression, although it is widely known that they have a strong impact on your brain. The drugs work by binding to receptors in your brain to decrease the perception of pain.
But they also create a temporary feeling of euphoria followed by dysphoria that can easily lead to physical dependence and addiction. The researchers speculated that there could be numerous factors linking opioid painkillers with depression.
Use of Prescription Opioid Painkillers Has Quintupled
The study’s lead author shared the startling statistics that “the use of prescription opioid analgesics has quintupled recently and that more than 200 million prescriptions were issued to patients in 2009 in the US.” Given the magnitude of their use, their link to depression could constitute a “public health problem,” he said.
It wouldn’t be the first time the drugs have been linked to health problems of epidemic proportions. Prescription drug abuse has been called the fastest-growing drug problem in the US by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as the number of deaths from opioid painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone rose nearly four-fold between 1999 and 2009. Read full article here.
Painkillers Can Result In Multiple Negative Social Effects
The most powerful prescription painkillers are called opioids, which are opium-like1 compounds. If opiate painkillers are taken primarily to get high or to manage psychological pain, the risk of becoming dependent on the drugs is greater. Taking opioid painkillers can cause drowsiness and low blood pressure (hypotension), and drinking alcohol while taking them will increase these effects. Suffering from an addiction to painkillers can be overwhelming and an isolating experience, but it is important to remember that you do not have to be alone.
Most people know that painkillers can be addictive, but they don’t know that taking opioids over a long period of time may, in fact, increase a patient’s sensitivity to pain (hyperalgesia).Painkillers can range in function and have specific purposes, such as treatment for migraine pain for example, or for the purpose of treating general pain symptoms. It is important to help your doctor or nurse get your dose right by giving honest, detailed information about your pain and how well your painkillers are working, you may call us here: (619) 831-8777.