Abusing prescription drugs can become a form of self-medication. Misusing drugs like opioid pain medication, benzodiazepines, sedatives, anti-depressants, stimulant drugs, or tranquilizers may worsen mental health problems. This article will explore how abusing some of these specific prescription drugs may exacerbate mental health issues.
Opioid Pain Medication
Studies have shown that adults with mental health disorders were significantly more likely to use opioids. Some research has shown that opioid use can contribute to symptoms of a mental health condition. For example, the longer a person uses opioids, the more likely they are to develop depression.
Pain is a common comorbidity for people with mental health conditions. Opioids produce psychoactive effects, altering the brain’s overall chemical system. Abusing these drugs causes significant problems, exacerbating mental health problems and suicidal ideation.
Benzodiazepines, Sedatives, and Tranquilizers
Sedatives, like some benzodiazepines, are drugs prescribed to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. A tranquilizer causes a more profound calming effect. These drugs are prescribed for various reasons.
Benzodiazepines are among the most widely prescribed drug classes in the United States. These drugs are frequently prescribed to individuals with depression or to alleviate anxiety or insomnia. Unfortunately, anhedonia, a loss of pleasure, is a common side effect of benzodiazepine addiction. This can worsen depressive symptoms.
Additionally, post-acute withdrawal symptoms associated with benzo addiction can last several months. This can also worsen mental health problems or create sleep disturbances, irritability, tension, anxiety, and depression. While many argue benzodiazepines do not cause depression, they contribute to the development of the problem and worsen symptoms.
Research has shown that the repeated use of prescription stimulants can cause psychosis, anger, and paranoia. Generally, these drugs are prescribed to treat disorders that affect attention, mood, and activity levels and increase activity in the central nervous system.
The medication increases the level of dopamine in the brain, which can lead to atypical and uninhibited behavior over time. Anyone misusing these drugs does place themselves at risk of developing additional mental health problems.
Every antidepressant has possible side effects. Some evidence has shown that antidepressants may, in some cases, worsen depression and increase the risk of suicidality in pediatric and adolescent patients.
Insomnia, for example, is a common side effect of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Many argue that antidepressants increase the risk of violence and self-destructive behavior. The Black Box Warnings on SSRIs mention the risk of suicidal thoughts, hostility, and agitation in children, teens, and young adults.
Additionally, these drugs are known to stop working, and it is common for depression symptoms to worsen. Mixing illegal drugs or alcohol with antidepressants also worsens underlying mental health conditions.