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5 Common Symptoms of Mental Health Disorders (and its Toxic Relationship with Opioids)



Mental illness and addiction often go hand-in-hand.  Sharing a negative public stigma, mental health and addiction are often linked together by patients that are self-medicating symptoms related to mental health disorders.  This creates a vicious and toxic cycle that often leads to addiction and further fuels the mental health issues that started the use of opioids in the first place.

Below are five common mental health concerns that act as a catalyst to self-medication:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder is one of the most common psychological disorders that is associated with a persistent worrying, an inability to make decisions or relax, and difficulty focusing. Opioids provide a calming effect for those with generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Clinical Depression is often associated with feeling persistently sad, however depression symptoms can range from irritability to insomnia to disinterest in daily activities. This wide range of symptoms makes it hard to diagnosis which leads patients to not receiving professional help. Instead patients resort to self-medication.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common term that is often misunderstood in today’s world. PTSD is often related to individuals that have experienced terrifying and or horrific events  An example of patients that suffer from PTSD includes victims of sexual assault and veterans.  PTSD is marked by nightmares, flashbacks, and bouts of serious anxiety. Many who suffer from this disorder try to relieve it with opioids.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)– Those who suffer from OCD experience frequent, often irrational, fears and feel compelled to perform specific actions in order to ease those fears.  As with other conditions involving fear or anxiety, opioids provide temporary relief, however can help manifest the OCD traits.
  • Personality Disorders is a broad term that incapsulates a broad range of mental disorders that influence dysfunctional behavior and thinking, which make it difficult to socialize. The use of opioids helps calm many of these actions and repress the disorder.

In many cases, these mental health disorders can be diagnosed and treated by professionals.  However because of the public stigma that is associated with mental disorders, patients often shy away from professional help and look to self-medicate.

When discussing mental health and addiction, it is often hard to identify where one illness starts, and the other ends.  When an individual suffers from two disorders or illnesses, the medical industry refers to this as “comorbidity.”  When applied to addiction, in particular opioids, comorbidity becomes difficult to diagnosis and treat.

Studies have shown that compared with the general population, people addicted to drugs are roughly twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders.  As a leader in the fight against opioid addiction, Center For Behavioral Health does not prescribe to one method of treatment, but rather a multilevel approach that is tailored to the individual patients.  Mental illness and addiction share a number of symptoms and should both be treated as an illness that requires professional diagnosis and prescribed treatment plans.  CBH offers a wide range of services across the nation with onsite staff of highly qualified physicians, pharmacists, nurses and licensed and certified counselors. While every patient is unique in their needs, diagnosis and counseling plays a critical role in each person’s recovery.



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