Opioid addiction is a global issue that affects millions of lives. It's a challenging condition for anyone but is especially difficult when it coincides with pre-existing mental health disorders.
We’ll help you understand opioid addiction. This guide will show you how to navigate addiction when it's a secondary condition to mental health issues.
What is Opioid Addiction?
Opioid addiction is a disorder that involves the compulsive use of opioids. It becomes an addiction when an individual can’t help but use them despite their harmful effects. The term opioids can include painkillers, heroin, and synthetic substances like fentanyl.
Habitual use often leads to tolerance, increasing the drug dosage needed for the same effect. Dependence eventually set in, causing withdrawal symptoms in the absence of opioids.
Opioid Addiction as a Secondary Condition
When opioid addiction arises in someone with a coexisting mental health disorder, it presents an even bigger challenge.
A mental health condition often precedes addiction, causing an individual to seek solace in opioids. They strive to self-medicate by taking opioids at a higher or more frequent dosage than prescribed.
This cycle can create a dangerous dependency, complicating treatment for both conditions.
Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Addiction
Detecting opioid addiction as early as possible is key to effective treatment. These signs typically fall under physical, behavioral, and psychological categories.
In cases where a mental health condition is present, these signs can be more complex or masked by symptoms of the mental health disorder.
Physical symptoms can range from drowsiness and reduced breathing rate to recurring flu-like symptoms. Dependence on opioids can also lead to withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, and diarrhea.
These effects vary depending on the amount of opioids being taken at a time.
Signs like mood swings and behavioral changes can be evident in individuals addicted to opioids. They might start missing significant responsibilities or activities.
Oftentimes, they’ll spend increased amounts of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of opioids.
Psychological symptoms include anxiety, confusion, euphoria, and impaired judgment. Individuals may become preoccupied with obtaining and using opioids, even when it's clear they are causing harm.
Mental Health Disorders Often Co-Occurring with Opioid Addiction
There are many mental health conditions that could lead someone to turn to opioids.
Depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health disorders often co-occur with opioid addiction. These conditions can amplify the struggle, making it harder to break free from the cycle of addiction.
The Impact of Opioid Addiction
Opioid addiction's effects can have major consequences in both the short and long term. Overuse of opioids alone can lead to health complications, job loss, financial difficulties, and strained relationships.
These effects can be even more devastating when coupled with a mental health condition. They can further hinder an individual's ability to lead a fulfilling life as the addiction becomes their central focus.
Treating Opioid Addiction Alongside Mental Health Conditions
Treating both opioid addiction and the accompanying mental health disorder is key to a successful recovery. Individualized treatment plans often include medication, therapy, and support groups.
Each plan is tailored to address the individual’s unique needs. Their mental health condition and the severity of the addiction are both considered.
Get Help with Opioid Addiction
Facing opioid addiction with an accompanying mental health disorder can seem overwhelming. But recovery is possible with the right help and resources. Various treatment options exist and are readily available.
If you or a loved one struggles with opioid addiction and a coexisting mental health condition, reach out to the professional team at Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute. We’re here to help you navigate this difficult journey and take your life back.