Mood, anxiety disorders patients likely to abuse painkillers

December 14th, 2011 - 12:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 14 (IANS) People suffering from mood and anxiety disorders are more likely to abuse opioids or painkillers.

They include patients of bipolar, panic and major depressive disorders, according to a new study by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Abuse refers to using an opioid in greater amounts more often or longer than prescribed or for a reason other than a doctor’s instruction to use them.

Prescription opioids such as oxycontin are a common and effective treatment for chronic and acute pain, the Journal of Psychological Medicine reports.

They are the second most frequently used illegal drug in the US after marijuana, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a Bloomberg School statement said.

These drugs are highly addictive and prolonged use can produce neurological changes and physiological dependence.

“Lifetime non-medical prescription opioid use was associated with the incidence of any mood disorder, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and all anxiety disorders,” said Silvia Martins, associate scientist with the Bloomberg School who led the study.

“Early identification and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders might reduce the risk for self-medication with prescription opioids and the risk of future development of an opioid-use disorder,” Martins said.

Researchers based their findings on used data from face-to-face survey of individuals aged 18 years and older between 2001-2002 and 2004-2005.

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