Study: Depression Treatment Bolsters Opioid Recovery

Adherence to prescribed antidepressants can bolster recovery from opioid addiction.

A new study reveals that cessation of opioid abuse is more likely to be successful when depression is adequately treated.

The study was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry February issue. The co-authors found that when an individual is struggling with both addiction and depression, providing adequate treatment for the depression increased the likelihood that the individual would be able to stop using opioids.

The data gathered by researched revealed that antidepressants could be play a part in increasing the likelihood of addiction recovery, as well. The study also found that proper adherence to a prescribed antidepressant when discontinuing use of opioids provided faster recovery for depression when compared with individuals who began taking an antidepressant but also continued to take opioids.

The researchers defined long-term opioid use for chronic pain as near-daily or daily use for at least 90 days. Of those individuals who fall under this umbrella, the study reports that somewhere between 1.4 and 10% develop an ongoing addiction. Of these individuals, roughly 65 to 80% will still be using opioids 3 to 5 years later. The chronic use of opioids is also connected to depression, according to the study.

The study was conducted by taking a 500,000-person random sample of patients from 2,910,335 possible individuals. These individuals had at least one visit to outpatient treatment between 1999 and 2000. The sample included people between the ages of 18 and 80, and patients with cancer or HIV were not included. Every patient in the sample had at least one visit between 2000 and 2001 wherein depression was not reported, but subsequently developed depression after 90 days.

The antidepressants that were included in the study included serotonin reuptake inhibitors, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and non-classified ADMs. While this isn’t the first time prescription opioids have been linked to depression, more data will help researchers better understand how to get individuals the addiction recovery treatment they deserve.