Long Term Use Of Opioid Ups Risk Of Depression

Prescription drugs

Opioids are medications used to relieve the intensity of pain and improve mood, albeit only for a short period. As about 100 million Americans are suffering from chronic pain, opioid painkillers are usually the most recommended treatment.

When misused, however, the drug can consequently lead to dangerous addiction, overdose and then, death.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the number of deaths due to opioid overdose rose from 4.5 percent in 2003 to 7.8 percent per 100,000 overdose deaths in 2013. This means every day, 46 people die from an opioid overdose in the United States.

Now, a new study conducted by researchers from Saint Louis University (SLU) discovered that long term use of opioid increases a person’s risk of depression.

Long Term Use Of Opioid, But Not Overdose

SLU Associate Professor Jeffrey Scherrer and his colleagues explained that using opioid for more than 30 days can result in changes in neuroanatomy, or the organization of the nervous system, and reduction in testosterone levels.

Surprisingly, though, the SLU team found that the link is independent of the known contribution of pain to depression, and that the opioid dose did not affect the association.

Read More: Techtimes

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