Oxycodone Abuse And Depression

Oxycodone abuse can have a negative impact on mental health and may induce or worsen depression. People struggling with substance abuse and depression may need inpatient treatment to begin their path towards recovery.

Compared to the general population, people with anxiety or mood disorders are twice as likely to struggle with substance abuse. This includes the misuse of prescription drugs like oxycodone.

Oxycodone (OxyContin) is a powerful opioid capable of treating moderate to severe pain. Although it can be prescribed for chronic pain, long-term use of oxycodone can cause drug dependence. This occurs when your body adapts to the presence of a drug in your system and can lead to addiction.

Oxycodone abuse can have negative effects on physical, emotional, and mental health. Long-term abuse can cause changes in the brain that may lead to depression. Having major depression can also make a person more likely to turn to drugs like oxycodone, which can produce intense feelings of pleasure and relaxation in high doses.

Can Oxycodone Treat Depression?

In the United States, more than 50 percent of opioid prescriptions go to people with depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders. This may in part be attributed to the higher rates of chronic pain among people with these conditions.

However, researchers have also been exploring any potential benefit of using oxycodone to treat depression.

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Oxycodone affects some of the same areas of the brain as do antidepressants. This includes the brain chemical dopamine, which is linked to the brain’s reward system and plays a role in regulating mood and pleasure.

However, this similarity is not limited to prescription opioids. Many addictive and illicit drugs also have effects on dopamine and other chemicals targeted by antidepressants. This includes drugs like cocaine and heroin. That does not mean that they are capable of treating depression, nor does it guarantee safety.

Although high doses oxycodone can produce a rush of euphoria, this does not necessarily lead to positive outcomes for depression. In fact, oxycodone may actually worsen symptoms of depression. This is especially true for those who misuse or abuse it.

Can Oxycodone Abuse Cause Depression?

Oxycodone abuse can have a serious impact on physical and mental health. As a powerful opioid, taking large or more frequent doses than prescribed can make changes in the brain’s reward system. These changes can reinforce the continued use of the drug, which can make it harder for a person to quit.

Changes in the brain from oxycodone abuse may also lead to symptoms of depression. While depression may be caused by several factors, research shows that co-occurring opioid abuse and depression is not uncommon. Both are risk factors for one another.

Other risk factors for oxycodone abuse and depression include:

  • having another mental or mood disorder
  • having chronic pain
  • genetics
  • history of mental illness and substance abuse
  • beginning drug use in childhood or adolescence
  • abusing multiple substances

Long-term oxycodone abuse can worsen pre-existing symptoms of depression. Therefore, people with depression that abuse oxycodone may experience worsened symptoms despite the short-lived euphoric effects.

Consequences Of Oxycodone Abuse

Oxycodone addiction can quickly become all-consuming, affecting all aspects of a person’s life. People may find themselves lying to family and friends about their drug use, or avoiding others to use drugs. Many people may also have a harder time keeping a job and attending to other personal and professional obligations.

These struggles can even worsen feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Having both a substance abuse disorder and depression can be frightening and hinder your quality of life. It can impact your mental health, as well as pose serious danger to physical health.

Some consequences of oxycodone abuse include:

  • dizziness
  • memory problems
  • decreased attention span
  • slow or difficulty breathing
  • low blood pressure
  • nausea
  • seizures
  • cardiac arrest
  • overdose

Oxycodone is one of the most common opioids involved in tens of thousands of opioid-related overdose deaths each year. Most often, this occurs due to complications with the heart or respiratory system.

Taking large or frequent doses of oxycodone can put you at high risk for these complications, as can mixing it with other substances.

People who abuse oxycodone may also develop a severe addiction. Addiction to oxycodone can be both physical and psychological. The primary sign of addiction is being unable to reduce or stop using the drug.

Oxycodone Withdrawal And Detox

When someone has become addicted to oxycodone, it may not be safe for them to attempt quitting the drug alone. Oxycodone dependence can cause withdrawal symptoms with reduced or stopped drug use. These can be stressful on both the mind and body and be difficult to manage without medical support.

Treating substance abuse and co-occurring depression must address both problems in order to achieve recovery. This can often be a multi-step process. The first step for treating these issues is to undergo oxycodone detox.

The safest and most effective way to stop using oxycodone is medically assisted detox. This involves undergoing the withdrawal process in a hospital or rehab facility setting. Within these programs, doctors can monitor your vitals, keep you hydrated, and treat uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment For Co-Occurring Disorders

Oxycodone abuse can make people more vulnerable to mental health problems like depression. Following detox, inpatient addiction treatment is commonly recommended to treat all aspects of a person’s addiction — including co-occurring depression.

Inpatient programs may provide a personalized plan for overcoming drug addiction and treating depression. Different types of treatment may be recommended based on each patient’s personal needs.

The types of treatment offered may include:

  • dual-diagnosis
  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • support groups
  • medication-assisted treatment
  • family counseling
  • mindfulness techniques
  • nutritional counseling

Aftercare support can also be helpful following an inpatient program. This may include attending outpatient counseling, support groups, and taking certain medications to reduce drug cravings.

To learn more about treatment options for oxycodone abuse and depression, contact one of our specialists today.

Journal of The American Board of Family Medicine - Prescription Opioid Use among Adults with Mental Health Disorders in the United States

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses

Center on Substance Abuse Research - Oxycodone

Centers for Disease Control - Prescription Opioid Data | Drug Overdose

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