Mental Health and Opioid Use Disorder: How Are They Connected?

Mental health problems and opioid abuse are often linked in a complex and vicious cycle. Opioids are powerful painkillers that can also produce feelings of euphoria, relaxation and relief from stress. However, they also have serious risks and side effects, such as addiction, dependence, tolerance, withdrawal, overdose and death. People who suffer from mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or bipolar disorder, may use opioids to cope with their symptoms or to self-medicate. However, this can worsen their mental health condition and increase their risk of developing an opioid use disorder. Conversely, people who abuse opioids may develop mental health problems as a result of their substance use, such as mood swings, paranoia, psychosis or suicidal thoughts. Therefore, it is important to address both mental health problems and opioid abuse in an integrated and holistic way, by providing appropriate treatment, support and prevention strategies for both conditions.
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Published by

Brian Belt

Executive Director of Mental Health Awareness and Creative Arts Gallery INC