Although opiate detoxification itself generally does not cause depression, many patients can experience feelings of sadness and despair following different types of detoxification programs. Substance abuse affects more than just the person’s physical wellbeing. The brain oftentimes has difficulty readjusting and functioning normally once the opiate receptors no longer receive the drug. Any type of depression that occurs after opiate detoxification can usually be attributed to two different causes: either a pre-existing condition that has been masked by opiate use or a chemical imbalance created by long-term opiate intake.
Opiate Abuse and Depression
Several studies have suggested a correlation between undiagnosed mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety and the increased use and abuse of opioid painkillers. Due to their ability to create feelings of euphoria and mask other emotions, opiates are very good at concealing depression and other negative or overwhelming feelings. Frequently, patients who have symptoms of depression, but have not been diagnosed or are misdiagnosed, start using opiates for other medical reasons. Then, they may learn to rely on medications as a way to cope with emotional distress. Their need or ability to cope with distress becomes obsolete. While prescription painkillers, like Vicodin, Oxycontin and Percocet, can help patients cope with depression, they can also make managing these emotions without the help of opiates extremely difficult.
Opiate use also causes other chemical imbalances in the body, which can be the second main cause of depression after opiate detoxification. One example is a phenomenon known as opioid receptor down-regulation, which occurs when the number of opioid receptors on the surface of cells decreases as a result of long-term, chronic opioid use. Opiates also affect endorphin production and chronic use can negatively alter these interactions. When endorphin production is altered, patients experience feelings of depression, anxiety, and other emotions as a result. Opiate use can also cause decreased hormone levels, otherwise known as hypogonadism, reduced bone mineral density, and pituitary and adrenal dysfunction. Down-regulation, in addition to these other physiological factors, contribute to the complexity of opioid detoxification. That is why it is important for specially-trained medical staff to properly manage opioid withdrawal.
Treating Opiate Dependence and Depression
There are many treatments that help patients cope with depression when they are trying to become free from opiates. However, it is important to consider the causes of depression and each patient’s physiological condition in order to create a treatment plan that appropriately addresses each patient’s needs. Therapy and counseling, in addition to natural approaches like exercise, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep, can be highly beneficial in helping patients overcome their depression. However, healing the physiological causes of depression often requires medical treatment to ensure the chemical imbalances caused by opiate abuse are properly corrected. Consequently, it’s important for patients to have an aftercare program available post-detoxification to provide continued treatment and techniques that can guide them to a healthy mental and physical state of well-being.
Most addiction treatment programs focus primarily on the addiction to the substance. Meanwhile, they ignore the person and the underlying emotional issues, such as depression and anxiety. Whether the depression is due to chronic opioid abuse or a mental health condition, it must be properly treated. However, it is important to mention that the brain cannot begin healing and professionals cannot completely treat the depression until the individual is opioid-free. This means that even opioids prescribed to treat opioid dependence, like Suboxone or methadone, can inhibit a person’s ability to recover from the depression. As discussed above, opioids mask emotions so the individual won’t be fully emotionally present in therapy. Therapeutic and medical intervention is most effective when the individual can acknowledge the distress and learn to cope with it.
Waismann Method® Opiate Detoxification Treatment
If you or a loved one is struggling with depression or opioid dependency we urge you to contact your physician for medical advice. Opioid detoxification does not cause depression, but it’s best to seek medical care for the withdrawal syndrome. For more information on choosing an opiate detox program for yourself or a loved one, please feel free to contact our office directly. Waismann Method® opiate detoxification treatment is a safe and proven treatment for opiate dependency that utilizes the most advanced medical techniques available.
The detoxification procedure is provided in a full-service hospital in Southern California. The quadruple board-certified medical director places patients under deep sedation during the process, so they experience minimal conscious withdrawal or suffering. As a result, medical professionals can also manage co-occurring medical conditions which might otherwise cause complications. This level of individualized medical care provides a safe and successful way to get through the opioid withdrawal and focus on improving mental health.
4 Natural Ways to Help Depression
- Exercise – several studies have shown that exercise is a mood booster. Even walking for half an hour several times per week is enough to start feeling the effects.
- Eating healthy – a well-rounded diet has many health benefits. By integrating nutritious foods into your daily routine, you are taking care of yourself from the inside out to benefit your body and your mind at the same time.
- Get enough sleep – issues with sleep, like insomnia or over-sleeping, are sometimes linked to depression. In order to make sure you have healthy sleeping patterns, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, try not to nap, and remove all distractions from the bedroom, it also means no TVs nor computers.
- Go outside – getting fresh air and sunlight can improve your mood. Taking a walk outside can have more of an effect than walking inside on a treadmill.
It is very important that you don’t ignore serious signs of depression. Remember that natural therapies can only help so much to overcome depression. Do not keep your feelings to yourself because you don’t want to burden your family or are scared to tell your doctor. If you have feelings of sadness or despair, be open with your physician and other healthcare providers so they can properly treat you.