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June 26, 2017

Greater opioid use and mental health disorders are linked in a new study

  • Science
  • Neuroscience

The Washington Post – A new study suggests that people with anxiety and depression are consuming a disproportionate share of prescription painkillers, a finding that could add a new wrinkle to the epidemic of opioid use in the United States.

Researchers at Dartmouth College and the University of Michigan found that nearly 19 percent of the estimated 38.6 million people with those two most common mental health disorders received at least two prescriptions for opioids during a year. And more than half the prescriptions for the powerful, highly addictive painkillers went to individuals in that group, the researchers asserted.

Those patients may have some form of physical pain, said Brian Sites, a professor of anesthesiology and orthopedics at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, who led the study team. But their mental condition may cause them to feel that pain more acutely or be less able to cope with it, leading to increased requests for something to dull it.

Read more at The Washington Post.

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