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Risk of Depression Increased by Long-Term Use of Prescription Painkillers


Story at-a-glance -

  • People who took opioid pain-relieving drugs for 90 to 180 days had a 25 percent increased risk of depression, while those who took opioids for 180 days or longer were at a 53 percent increased risk of developing depression
  • The drugs may reset your brain’s reward pathway to a higher level, making it more difficult to experience pleasure from natural rewards like food
  • The use of prescription opioid painkillers has quintupled in recent years, with more than 200 million prescriptions written in 2009 in the US
  • Prescription drug abuse has been called the fastest-growing drug problem in the US by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and opioids are one of the most commonly abused drug classes
  • There are many safe and effective alternatives that provide excellent pain relief without increasing your risk of depression or any of the other health hazards that pain medications often cause

By Dr. Mercola

If you take prescription narcotic painkillers known as opioids for 90 days or more, you may significantly raise your risk of developing major depression, according to new research that adds to growing concerns surrounding the use of these common medications.

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