Opiate Addiction Shown To Hinder Mental Health Treatment

Opiates are a group of drugs that a lot of people get addicted to quite easily, whether it is after a surgery or due to a chronic illness. Opiates are one of the hardest drug groups to come off of, due to the mental and physical symptoms you will go through while trying to get clean. It is no secret that a lot of people who abuse opiates have some history of mental illness, and that can be a very dangerous combination. Opiate use can severely interfere with treatment of mental illness, and as someone who has witnessed this firsthand, here are four ways opiate abuse negatively impacts treatment.

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Opiates Will Always Come Before Needed Medicine

One of the biggest drawbacks to chronic opiate abuse is that most people who use spend all their money on the drug. When you have someone who is mentally ill and needs medication abusing opiates, it’s not a surprise that the user will choose opiates every time. People who abuse opiates do not have their priorities in order and usually just care about getting high, so their money is not going towards the medication or therapy they need for mental illness. I have seen this up close with a friend of mine, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and needed several medications a month, but he chose to spend all of his money on buying drugs like Heroin and Oxycontin instead. It is sad to see someone just completely stop their medication for mental illness because they rather be high, and this can severely hinder the ability of the person to control their mental facilities.

Impulsive Behavior


There are a lot of people who abuse opiates that behave impulsively, which is also something that people with mental illness go through as well. Putting mental illness and opiates together just increases the risk for impulsive behavior, which is why a lot of opiate users wind up in jail or with legal problems. Impulsive behavior might be something as simple as getting into arguments with friends or family for no reason, or it could be something bigger such as stealing a car or other items. I have seen opiate addicts just start screaming at people for no reason, which often leads to fights and physical situations, and it is even stronger of a behavioral pattern when mental illness is involved. Impulsive behavior can also lead to poor decisions, such as having unprotected sex, which can put the person at risk for diseases or an unwanted pregnancy. The increase in impulsive behavior will negatively impact all mental health treatment, because it could be seen as taking steps backwards instead of progressing in a positive direction.

Using Opiates Will Lead to Missed Appointments

Someone who is actively abusing or using opiates is also going to miss a lot of their mental health appointments, due to the fact that using will always come first. Whether it is because someone was up late the night before and overslept or because money is an issue, there will be a lot of appointments that are missed due to using. An opiate user will also likely be more quick to cancel needed appointments at the last minute, due to going out and finding drugs instead or just being dope sick and unable to attend. People with an opiate problem will not think that missing an appointment is a big deal, because their in a different place mentally, and not focused on treating their mental illness.

Lying Becomes Common with Opiate Users

One of the major issues that people have with opiate use is that lying becomes common, especially during times of active use. The lying that an opiate user does can significantly negatively impact mental health treatment, because you have to be honest when assessing your mental defects. If you are lying to a mental health professional, then there is not even any point of going to treatment, because you are not being honest with who you are really are. A mental health professional cannot help you if you are going to be lying to them about how you are doing or what you are going through. In order for mental health treatment to be successful you have to be open with the professional, which is something a lot of people who do opiates are not capable of.


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Jeanne Rose
Jeanne Rose lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has been a freelance writer since 2010. She took Allied Health in vocational school where she earned her CNA/PCA, and worked in a hospital for 3 years. Jeanne enjoys writing about science, health, politics, business, and other topics as well.

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