Although opiate detoxification itself generally does not cause depression, many patients can experience feelings of sadness and despair following different types of detoxification programs. The brain often times has difficulty readjusting and functioning normally once it no longer receives the effects created by opiate use. 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.
Several studies have suggested a correlation between undiagnosed mental conditions such as depression 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 feelings of sadness. Often times, patients who have symptoms of depression but have not been diagnosed or are misdiagnosed, start using opiates for other medical reasons, and may learn to rely on the medications for emotional relief. 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 a 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, which is why it is important that it be carried out carefully >by a specially-trained medical staff.
There are many treatments that help patients cope with depression when they are trying to become free from opiates, but it is important to consider the causes of depression, and each patient’s physiological condition in order to create a treatment 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 many times requires medical treatment to ensure the chemical imbalances caused by opiate abuse are properly corrected. For these reasons, it’s important that an aftercare program is available for patients after detoxification to help treatments and techniques that can guide them to a healthy mental and physical state of well-being.
If you or a loved one is struggling with depression or dependency to prescription painkillers, we urge you to contact your medical physicians. 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 carried out in a full-service hospital in Southern California by board-certified anesthesiologists while patients remain under deep sedation, so they experience minimal conscious withdrawal or suffering.
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.
- Eat healthy – eating 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 everyday, try not to nap, and remove all distractions from the bedroom. That means no TVs or computers.
- Don’t ignore serious signs of depression – remember that natural therapies can only help so much to help overcome depression. If you still have feelings of sadness or despair, be open with your physician and other healthcare providers so they can properly treat you.