Advancement in the field of neuroscience has identified how a change in a person’s mindset can alter his or her perception of pain. Besides the common risk factors, other elements, such as tissue damage, psychology, and environment, play a significant role in determining the way a person perceives his or her pain. The tailoring of new, innovative and improved medications to address acute or chronic pain that are commonly marketed as prescription opioids has assisted people overcoming all kind of pain.
Mental disorders, such as anxiety disorders and depression, uniquely add a range of unpleasant emotional feelings that tend to exacerbate physical pain. These disorders greatly dictate the way pain is experienced that suggests that mood disorders, especially depression and anxiety, can aggravate pain, as well as alter a person’s thoughts, behaviors and quality of life.
Due to the worsening of pain, a large number of prescription painkillers are prescribed to adults with such mood disorders. This ever-growing trend has become a matter of concern due to the close relationship between opioid abuse and mental disorders. This demands a thorough reflection over the kind of medications being prescribed to people.
51% of prescriptions go to adults with mental disorders
A study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine suggests that adults with anxiety and depression are consuming excessive amounts of prescription pills. The study by the researchers from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the University of Michigan has been published at a time rife with the problem of opioid addiction in the United States.
Although the prevalence of mental disorders is only 16 percent among adults, approximately half of all prescription opioids are consumed by them. This highlights a major gap in the distribution of prescription painkillers, especially among people suffering from mood disorders. From the 115 million prescriptions written for opiates every year, 60 million are meant for the individuals with mental illnesses. This is quite an eye-opening data that demands adequate remedial measures.
Brian Sites, a professor of anesthesiology and orthopedics at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and lead author of the study, said, “Pain that you may report as a two out of 10, someone with mental health disorders- depression, anxiety- may report as a 10 out of 10.”
While prescription opioids could improve depressive symptoms in the short-term, individuals with depression are more likely to experience intensified pain and are less able to cope with it. As a result, individuals with mental disorders are more likely to appeal to the doctor for more opioids.
Doctors may be beguiled into prescribing more pain pills
To ascertain the prevalence of prescription dependency among the individuals with anxiety and depression, the study used national surveys of 2011 and 2013. The respondents provided information on their health and medication regimen. Based on the data and response, the researchers found that over 7 million people out of 38.6 million individuals with anxiety and depression are prescribed opioids each year. The findings suggest that adults with mental disorders are more likely to use prescription opioids (18.7 percent) than those mentally sound (5 percent).
The study also sheds some light on how doctors may be coerced to overprescribe opioids in the case of individuals with anxiety and depression. Most often, opioids are administered for a range of reasons, such as injuries, physical pain and recovery from an operation. However, due to the potent euphoric effects of these medications, there is a huge risk of developing an addiction to them in a very short span of time.
Because mental disorders and substance use share a notorious affinity for one another, it can be an arduous task for doctors to gauge a patient’s pain levels accurately. At times, even well-meaning doctors are susceptible to overprescribing pain pills while being empathetic to their patients. In addition, almost half of all opioids are prescribed by a primary care physician who is also no stranger to individuals with mental disorders.
Dealing with addiction
Opioid addiction has hit the U.S. badly. However, opioid abuse is also found to be colliding with the increased prevalence of mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety disorders, which are aggravating the misuse of opioids. These two conditions also tend to coexist in many cases that can lead to a more complicated diagnosis of co-occurring disorders.
If you or your loved one is battling prescription drug abuse, it is imperative to seek professional help. The 24/7 Recovery Helpline helps individuals suffering from addiction in accessing holistic treatment programs. Call at our 24-hour drug helpline 855-441-4405 for more information on addiction treatment and evidence-based intervention programs.
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