Depression sufferers, who also have chronic back pain, may find that narcotic painkillers do not adequately relieve their pain. Many people suffer from anxiety and depression, in addition to back pain. Anxiety and depression can exacerbate back pain, and back pain can worsen the symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. All of this spells bad news for patients.
As well as receiving less benefit from the use of narcotic painkillers, people with anxiety or depression have higher instances of painkiller abuse. This might include consuming too much medication and depleting supplies too quickly. In addition, some patients approach numerous doctors to get multiple prescriptions for their drugs, and use cocaine or cannabis with their narcotic painkillers.
Prior to prescribing narcotic painkillers, doctors should be aware of whether patients have anxiety or depression. Then, these conditions need to be correctly treated. Doing so will lessen the physical pain that patients experience. Furthermore, doctors ought to prescribe alternative treatments, like physiotherapy and natural pain medication.
A report published in the Anesthesiology journal, in July 2015, highlighted a study involving fifty-five people. All the study participants had varying levels of anxiety or depression, and chronic pain in their lower backs. Over a six-month period, different groups of participants received oxycodone, morphine or a placebo. Participants reported their medication doses and levels of pain to the study organizers.
The study found that people with less anxiety or depression experienced greater pain relief — roughly thirty-nine percent improvement, compared to twenty-one percent in those with higher levels of anxiety or depression. Moreover, patients who had lower levels of anxiety or depression exhibited considerably less painkiller abuse than people with higher levels of anxiety or depression — eight percent compared to thirty-nine percent. The depressed group also reported more side effects resulting from their narcotic drugs – such as nausea, constipation, confusion and tiredness.
Therefore, for people who have previously suffered from psychiatric disorders, narcotic painkillers are just short-term solutions that frequently worsen the problem. The above study proves how vital it is to assess patients for existing conditions, and administer treatment where appropriate. Undoubtedly, the probability of reducing physical pain over the long term improves if the symptoms of depression and anxiety diminish.