Opioids and Depression – A Troubling Relationship


Major Depressive Disorder pic
Mental Health
Image: webmd.com

Dr. Carol Lynn Childers, a psychiatrist with a degree from McGill University Faculty of Medicine in Montreal, has built up extensive experience in treating opioid addiction, postpartum depression, and other serious mental health conditions. Currently a consulting psychiatrist with Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare and with Healthcare Alternative Systems, in Chicago, Dr. Carol Lynn Childers has focused much of her work on meeting the needs of underserved and multicultural populations.

Estimates of the number of people in the United States dealing with prescription painkiller addictions top 2 million. A broad consensus among professionals notes that depression frequently accompanies and compounds such addictions.

Depression and abuse of opioids exhibit what psychiatrists call a bidirectional connection, in that each multiplies the risk of developing the other. Some recent studies even seem to indicate that simply using prescription opioids for conditions such as headaches and backaches in itself may place patients at greater risk of developing symptoms of depression.

As reported in the Annals of Family Medicine in 2015, researchers at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine found that out of a group of more than 100,000 patients who received prescriptions for opioid medications, approximately 10,000 developed notable depression after a period of one month. The researchers were particularly concerned because no significant number of these patients had been diagnosed with depression before receiving the prescriptions.

The Saint Louis team determined that the likelihood of a new occurrence of depression grows the longer an individual continues to use opioids for pain relief.