Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

Can Painkillers Cause Anxiety?

Can Painkillers Cause Anxiety?Prescription medications like OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet are effective painkillers, and they do not directly affect anxiety the way stimulants might. Still, these drugs are opiates, so use can cause a debilitating addiction or physical dependency. If this occurs, users will experience increased anxiety, possibly even panic attacks. The addiction can even unlock or intensify a mental health issue, which can compound the damage.

How Painkiller Abuse Leads to Anxiety

When users eventually develop a tolerance to their medication, it will cause the body to need larger doses to feel the same effects. If the increased demand is not met, uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms will occur and affect anxiety in the following ways:

  • Obsess over acquiring more drugs to support the habit
  • Takes risks by procuring drugs through illegal means
  • Withdrawal symptoms (shakes, nausea, vomiting)
  • Paranoia that other people can tell there is a problem
  • Lying to loved ones about the extent of the drug use
  • Financial stress from buying drugs and reduced productivity
  • Struggles with side effects like long-term constipation

Painkiller abuse can also lead to major physical issues, like organ damage, which can increase anxiety.

How Painkillers Affect Mental Health

Anxiety can arise from emerging health issues, but many users already suffer from anxiety or panic attacks before taking the drug. Painkiller use may be an attempt to self-medicate anxiety, but this quick fix ultimately exacerbates the condition through these issues:

  • Temporarily masking the symptoms instead of treating the condition directly
  • Changing brain chemistry that complicates mental health
  • Potentially hides just how bad the anxiety has become
  • Triggering an anxiety disorder that had not previously surfaced

A person cannot stay on painkillers forever, so anxiety can return with vigor when an addict breaks his physical dependency.

Painkiller Addiction Treatment

Addiction and anxiety have negative effects on each other that often compound the problems. Likewise, it is difficult to overcome one condition while the other is still present, which is why integrated treatment is the best way to get healthy through the following methods:

  • Dual Diagnosis treatment that addresses the addiction and anxiety simultaneously
  • Behavioral therapies that promote healthy habits and lifestyle changes
  • Mental health screenings for any other mood disorders, like depression or mania
  • Empowering techniques to combat anxiety, relapse and any drug-use triggers
  • Group support therapy and ongoing aftercare counseling

Proper treatment also includes medically supervised detox that helps patients through withdrawal symptoms with minimal discomfort. This can involve weaning patients off the drugs for a smoother, tapered detox.

Help with Painkiller Addiction

If you suffer from anxiety and addiction, our staff is available 24 hours a day to help. Call our toll-free helpline now to speak with a specialist about mood disorders, painkiller abuse and options for treatment. We can also explain what rehab facilities offer, and if you have coverage through your health insurance. Call today and let us help.

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