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Opioid Treatment Linked To Depression

Can The Cycle Be Broken?

Today's opiates originated from apothecary Opium, a highly addictive substance

You may have never considered that the drug treatment of one condition or disease can significantly affect the treatment or even the onset of others. Because anything that happens in your body – especially when chemicals are ingested – results in a rippling affect on your health. The health of your whole body must be considered by your doctor or physician when they prescribe medications or treatments that are intended to help you.

Opioids – The good and the bad

Opioids are increasingly used widely to help people who suffer from chronic pain. They are generally prescribed to help you deal with the pain caused by several diseases and conditions. Opioids of all manner are prescribed regularly by doctors and physicians to combat severe pain and help users lead a life not so severely limited by their pain. But opioids may have disturbing consequences. They have addictive qualities and have been shown to increase the risk of developing  or deepening depression.

Duration of use

It is actually the length of opioid use, rather than the strength of the opioid dose, that influences individuals’ propensity to develop depression. To investigate this belief, a study by the St Louis University School of Medicine, Missouri looked at the data of more than 100,000 patients. The researchers studied these risks for opioid users, over 30 days and 90 days. Participants were all new opioid users. The study revealed that the patients who took opioids for the longer duration actually had a higher risk of developing depression.

New onset depression

The most disturbing part of this is the fact that these cases are of people that did not have depression (or at least a diagnosis for it) before they started to take opioids. So every prescription for opioids is potentially a new case of depression and subsequently a new pharmaceutical treatment of depression. The cycle is thus established, and it means that the patient has a high chance of being on both sets of drugs for the rest of their life. This isn’t a situation that can continue – a solution needs to be found, and quickly.


The number of antidepressant prescriptions has reached epidemic proportions. But as a whole, they don’t seem to be resolving patients’ depression. As more people are diagnosed, more people are prescribed antidepressants, and more pills are manufactured. When a doctor prescribes one course of treatment to deal with chronic pain and then adds another prescription for depression then the problem escalates. Patients feel a dependency on more and more prescription drugs to deal with problem after problem. It becomes integral to their life.

We clearly need to see more research into the link between opioids and depression, because the continued levels of opioid use, depression and antidepressant use are currently at levels that feel unsustainable. Doctors prescribe pharmaceutical solutions to conditions that they can’t accurately predict, because the scientific community doesn’t fully understand the links between opioids and depression. In the meantime, as a means to break this cycle, patients may consider proven, non-drug treatments such as TMS Therapy for treatment resistant patients with major depressive disorder.

Alternate non-drug treatment – TMS Therapy

After a thorough evaluation and intake process, TMS Therapy is prescribed by a psychiatrist and delivered in an outpatient setting. Similar to that of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), TMS Therapy uses highly focused magnetic pulses to stimulate the Prefrontal Cortex – to restore it to normal function and lift your depression. No prescription drugs – and their side effects – are part of TMS treatment.

  • TMS Therapy has been proven safe and effective in the treatment of depression, as documented in clinical studies as well as a long history of patient experiences.
  • Because it does not use depressing drugs, TMS Therapy is free of side effects typically experienced with antidepressant medications.
  • The most common side effect associated with treatment is discomfort at or near the treatment area – generally mild to moderate.

New hope every day

With over 650 physicians providing NeuroStar TMS therapy, and more than 25,000 patients treated, this exciting treatment approach to achieving remission is bringing new hope to depressed patients every day.

Opioid Treatment Linked To Depression

Dr. Scott West

About Nashville NeuroCare Therapy: In April of 2010, Dr. West brought the technology of NeuroStar TMS to Nashville, becoming the first physician in Tennessee to offer the option of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for patients whose severe depression has not responded to a course of antidepressant medication or treatment for depression. The team at Nashville NeuroCare Therapy offers the most experience in the Tennessee-area. We have treated 550+ patients across the U.S. and administered 16,000+ TMS treatments, plus we maintain some of the highest percentages of positive patient responses and remission rates in the industry.

At Nashville NeuroCare Therapy, we deliver personalized therapy, specializing in TMS Therapy and Neurofeedback. We provide safe and well-researched therapies for depression, ADHD and sleep problems—all without the need for medication.

For more information on our therapies for Depression, ADHD and Sleep Problems, please contact us at (615) 465-4875 or or [email protected] or visit our website

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APA Reference
West, W. (2016). Opioid Treatment Linked To Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 31 Mar 2016
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