20th July 2018

How a brain gets hooked on opioids

In this article by PBS explains how traditional opioids interact with the receptors in the brain to produce analgesia (pain relief), constipation, depression, and euphoria. Cathy Cahill PhD, a pain researcher at UCLA also explains how those with chronic pain taking traditional opioids experience big swings of emotion due to the euphoria and subsequent dysphoria as the opioids enter and leave the receptors.  The changes in emotions when coupled with mental health can make a patient more vulnerable to opioid addiction.

A 2017 study found most patients — 81 percent — whose addiction started with a chronic pain problem also had a mental health disorder. Another study found patients on morphine experience 40 percent less pain relief from the drug if they have mood disorder.

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