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Use of prescription drugs can lead to depression, finds study

With the consistent increase in the pressure to outperform and meet the demands of a busy schedule, comes the need to exert oneself to the hilt that can lead to multiple health conditions. The situation can push many people toward prescription drugs to deal with the failing health. However, they forget the side effects that come with it. A recent study by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) has revealed that over one-third of American adults who take prescription drugs are more prone to developing depression or committing suicide. The medications could be for various illnesses, including blood pressure, heart problems, acidity and pain, among others.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), analyzed the behavioral pattern of 26,000 adults who took prescribed medications between 2005 and 2014. The period between 1999 and 2012 noticed a spike in the number of adults who took five prescription drugs at the same time, thus, increasing their risk of suffering from side effects. Breaking down the data further, the study revealed that 15 percent of adults using polypharmacy showed increased signs of depression compared to 9 percent who took two drugs simultaneously, 7 percent who ingested only one drug and 5 percent who did not take any medicine.

The researchers concluded that signs of depression were way more identifiable in people who resorted to polypharmacy, i.e., the use of multiple medications, which have suicide or depression as their side effects. The researchers also tried to exclude those patients from the study who took psychotropic medications. However, the result was still the same – signs of depression or suicide persisted.

“The takeaway message of this study is that polypharmacy can lead to depressive symptoms and that patients and health care providers need to be aware of the risk of depression that comes with all kinds of common prescription drugs – many of which are also available over the counter,” said Dima Qato, lead author and an assistant professor of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policy at the UIC College of Pharmacy.

Seeking professional help for prescription drug abuse

The prevalence of prescription drug abuse is widespread in the U.S. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 52 million Americans over the age of 12 use prescription drugs for non-medical reasons in their lifetime in a given year. The classes of medications most commonly abused are: opioid painkillers like Vicodin or OxyContin; stimulants like Adderall, Concerta or Ritalin; and central nervous system (CNS) depressants such as Valium or Xanax.

As 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, opioid painkillers are highly used in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 25 percent people who take prescription opioids for longer duration struggle with addiction. The CDC says that more than 46 people die from overdoses involving prescription opioids every day. Besides, over 200,000 people in the country succumbed to prescription opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2016.

Fortunately, prescription drug addiction can be treated with timely medical intervention. If anybody near you — be it a friend, acquaintance or a loved one – is suffering from addiction to prescription drugs or any other harmful substance, contact the 24/7 Recovery Helpline. Reach out at our 24-hour drug helpline number (855) 441-4405 or chat online to know about the best rehabilitation center for drug addiction. Our helpline can assist you with the reliable drug rehab help.

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