A bottle of pills spilling out on a table

Study Finds More Than Half of Opioid Prescriptions Go to People With Mood Disorders

587
587
14

In the midst of what has been called an “opioid epidemic,” a new study says more than half of opioid prescriptions are written for people with mood disorders, including anxietydepression and bipolar disorder. Although many people with chronic illnesses or injuries use opioids to manage pain, according to National Institute of Drug Abuse, 8 to 12 percent of those prescribed opioids develop an opioid use disorder and an estimated 4 to 6 percent of those misusing their prescription go on to use heroin.

The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, also found that 19 percent of Americans with mood disorders use prescription opioids, compared to 5 percent of the general population

Although the stat may sound alarming, according to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), this finding isn’t surprising. While those with mood disorders are more at risk of developing an addiction, they’re also more likely to deal with chronic pain. According to a piece in the Psychiatric Times, “27 percent of patients with pain in primary care clinics meet criteria for major depression.”

DBSA scientific advisory board co-chairs, Greg Simon, MD, MPH and Gary Sachs, MD, told The Mighty in a joint response:

This is not a surprise. We know that people who live with mood disorders and other mental health conditions are more likely to also have chronic pain problems. And we know that people with mental health conditions have more difficulty stopping medications like opioids once they have started.

The senior author of the study, Dr. Brian Sites, also speculated that, “Physicians might be more sympathetic to patients with preexisting conditions, making them more likely to prescribe opioids,” STAT news reported.

But as someone pointed out in the comment section of STAT of a piece about the findings by STAT news, “Chronic pain can be a huge factor in developing depression. This is a ‘who came first, the chicken or the egg?’ kind of study.”

This isn’t the first study to tie physical and mental health together. Earlier this month, another study found having a chronic illness increases your risk of dying by suicide.

As far as what should be done with this information, the DBSA Scientific Advisory Board recommends patients and clinicians discuss the dilemma they face together — balancing doing as much as possible to alleviate pain while planning against the risk of future addiction.

“Given the dangers of long-term opioid use, it’s even more important that people with mental health conditions have access to effective mental health treatment and effective non-medication treatments for pain problems,” the DBSA Scientific Advisory Board co-chairs said.

In response to the findings, the American Chronic Pain Association told The Mighty, “We think that people with pain should receive a balanced approach for pain management. This means all available therapies that the healthcare professional deems necessary.”

If you or a loved one is affected by addiction and need help, you can call SAMHSA’s hotline at 1-800-662-4357.

Thinkstock photo via BackyardProduction

587
587
14

RELATED VIDEOS

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Why I Carry a Mental Health 'Umbrella' as Someone With a Mood Disorder

8
8
0

There is a Stephen Fry quote about thinking of moods like the weather. The essence is that the moods we experience come and go and like the weather, we have no control over when they happen. We just need to ride them out and have a “mental health umbrella.” I absolutely adore that quote — and Mr Fry himself — and it really struck a chord with me. I find it incredibly comforting and very helpful to think of the moods I experience in such a visual way. Following on from what he said, here are a few of my thoughts:

We can’t always predict the weather. We have a good go, but sometimes it rains even though the forecast was good. It’s very helpful to have an umbrella when this happens. I like to hold my own umbrella, and it’s taken practice to discover the most effective way to hold it. I’m still learning, but sometimes I might need help with putting my umbrella up. If the rain is quite heavy, I might even need assistance holding on to my umbrella. I might need reminding that it is doing some good, and I shouldn’t just give up on it and throw it in the bin, even if it’s not as effective as I’d like. Of course, we all know that sometimes, when the weather is really stormy, umbrellas really aren’t much use at all. Sometimes, the rain comes at you from all angles. It’s still worth keeping the umbrella though, because the rain won’t always be that heavy. Sometimes I get caught in the rain and I get very wet. But in the end, I will dry out.

For me, quite often it will be rainy. It doesn’t make any difference that I want it to be sunny. Sometimes, it just rains. In fact, sometimes it rains so hard that it feels like a monsoon that is never going to stop. Most of the time, having the umbrella helps. Sometimes it doesn’t. I’m working on getting a bigger and stronger umbrella.

Then, sometimes fairly quickly and sometimes not, the rain will stop. The weather is OK for a while, which is really nice! Then the rain will start again, often without warning, which can be really frustrating. Sometimes it’s just a little shower. I can put the umbrella up and hardly notice it. Sometimes it’s a steady downpour which can be more challenging. Then the rain stops and it’s OK again. The sun might even come out a bit, here and there. There could be a few clouds or maybe the sky will be mostly clear. Just when I’m thinking I can put the umbrella away, it’ll start to rain again. Then, out of the blue, very occasionally, rather like the British weather, the sun comes in abundance and it’s a beautifully light and sunny day with not a cloud in the sky. There might even be rainbows! How fantastically glorious! It feels like it’s never going to rain ever again. Because it’s so wondrously bright and warm, I want to lay in the sun. I certainly don’t need an umbrella! Who doesn’t want to lay in the sun on a beautifully sunny day? It’s a truly marvelous feeling and especially fabulous when it’s been raining so frequently. The only problem is when I’m enjoying the sunshine, I don’t want to go inside. I don’t want to cover up, because I won’t get too hot! I’ll be fine! Because everything is fine when the sun is out! Of course, in reality, if I stay out in the sun for too long, I’m going to get too hot. It’s important for me to try to cool down and put some sun cream on to at least minimize my chances of burning to a crisp. This is when I could do with the umbrella again, but this time to use as a parasol. Sometimes I might need reminding of that.

Sadly, the sun will eventually go in and fierce thunderstorms often follow — the one when the rain comes down tremendously hard and there is a lot of banging and crashing. But those storms too shall pass. The weather will return to “normal” in the end. At some point, the sun will come out again. At some point, there might even be more rainbows.

I’m hoping that by learning as much as I can about the weather, I will become a better forecaster. And even if I cannot always correctly predict the weather, I can make experiencing the extremes much more bearable by always carrying my umbrella.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Unsplash photo via Maark Jefferson Paraan.

8
8
0
TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

3 Songs for Dealing With Mood Disorders

18
18
0

As we all probably know, music can be great medicine for treating mood disorders. Music can help take away stress and make our brains happy. My playlist contains songs that always elevate my mood when I’m anxious and depressed.

Here are some of my favorites:

1. “Games of Thrones” theme song
Performed by Jillian Aversa

Jillian Aversa is an amazing vocalist who records songs for popular video games, such as “The Legend of Zelda.” In my opinion, her rendition of the “Game of Thrones” theme song is her greatest musical accomplishment. What captivated me was her singing the song in the fictional Dothraki language. Absent of English lyrics, I can just enjoy the song and pay closer attention to the instrumentals and the vocals. It is a beautiful stress-reliever.

2. “Holy Is His Name”
Performed by John Michael Talbot

John Michael Talbot is a composer and musician turned Catholic monk. He is also the founder of the Little Portion Hermitage Monastery in Berryville, Ark. Talbot travels around the country leading worship services at churches and occasionally makes appearances on religious television programs.

My favorite song of Talbot’s is “Holy Is His Name.” It is the most soothing worship song I’ve ever heard. This song helps turn the focus away from my depression. And it also brings about feelings of peace, hope and comfort.

3. “Back Tuva Future”
Performed by Kongar-ol Ondar

Kongar-ol Ondar (1962–2013) was a master musician and throat singer from the Russian republic of Tuva. His life story is inspiring to me because he used his musical talent to overcome adversity during his youth. That adversity included a few years in jail for a crime he did not commit. His experiences shaped him into a man who would resurrect Tuva’s music culture and put the country back on the map, so to speak.

In 1999, he recorded an album named “Back Tuva Future.” It is a unique collaboration with Ondar and several popular musical artists, including Willie Nelson and Bill Miller.

My favorite songs from the album are:

  • “Big River” — A bouncy little tune that always lightens the mood.
  • “Tuva Groove” — A techno-Western that is fun and energizing.
  • “Good Horses” — A fast tune that is basically a double shot of musical espresso.
  • “Two Lands, One Tribe” — An interesting blend of Native American and Tuvan music.

Like I said, there are more songs that are great for treating mood disorders. We will look over those at a later date.

Image via Thinkstock.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

18
18
0
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

20 Quotes That Help People With Mood Disorders Get Through Hard Times

2k
2k
1

While words don’t have the power to cure a mood disorder, they can be a powerful tool to help someone get through a bad moment, or even a bad day. Whether the words offer encouragement, advice or simply let us know we’re not alone — it’s nice to have a list of quotes to turn to when the thoughts in your head are less than inspiring.

To find out which quotes have helped people with mood disorders get through hard times, we teamed up with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and asked people in its community to share their favorite quotes.

Here are the words of wisdom they had to offer. Pass them on to someone who needs some inspiration today:

1. “Depression is also smaller than you. Always, it is smaller than you, even when it feels vast. It operates within you, you do not operate within it. It may be a dark cloud passing across the sky but – if that is the metaphor – you are the sky. You were there before it. And the cloud can’t exist without the sky, but the sky can exist without the cloud.” – Matt Haig from “Reasons to Stay Alive” (submitted by Karly M.)

The sky. Quote reads: Depression is also smaller than you. Always, it is smaller than you, even when it feels vast. It operates within you, you do not operate within it. It may be a dark cloud passing across the sky but – if that is the metaphor – you are the sky. You were there before it. And the cloud can’t exist without the sky, but the sky can exist without the cloud.

2. “’I don’t feel very much like Pooh today,’ said Pooh. ‘There there,’ said Piglet. ‘I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do.’” ― A.A. Milne from “Winnie the Pooh” (submitted by Lauri W.)

3. “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” — Albus Dumbledore from “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” by J.K. Rowling (submitted by Krystal N.)

4. “Become present. Be there as the observer of the mind. ” –  Eckhart Tolle (submitted by Mark D: “This was powerful for me as it taught me to observe rather than identify as well as the difference between the self and the ego.”)

5. “She was unstoppable. Not because she did not have failures or doubts, but because she continued on despite them.” — Beau Taplin (submitted by Sabrina S.)

6. “You wake up every morning to fight the same demons that left you so tired the night before; and that, my love, is bravery.” — submitted by Fatalyst S.

Sunlight shining through a window. Quote reads: You wake up every morning to fight the same demons that left you so tired the night before; and that, my love, is bravery.

7. “It may not be a good day, but there is something good in every day!” — submitted by Sheila R.

8. “This too shall pass.” — submitted by Nicole C.

9. “Don’t believe everything you think.” — submitted by Christine S.

10. “If you’re lost you can always be found.” — Phillip Phillips (submitted by Ellen S.)

11. “Don’t let your illness make you afraid to live, getting to the end of each day and knowing you did it proves the strength you have inside. Don’t give up.” — submitted by Ness T.

12. “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” — Anais Nin (submitted by Sandra F.)

Flower. Text reads: And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

13. “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” — Bill Wilson (submitted by Stepy T.)

14. “I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” — Sarah Williams (submitted by Jen B.)

15.Just keep swimming.” — Dory from “Finding Nemo” (submitted by Sara B.)

16. “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn (submitted by Andrea O.)

photo of waves. text reads: You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.

17. “I am worthy.” — submitted by Julie T.

18. “I always tell myself ‘the bad times never last. It will end. The good days are just around the corner.’ Knowing there is always an end to the down moods always helps me to get through that day/week/month.” — Jenny B.

19. “We can get better, because we’re not dead yet.” — Frank Turner (submitted by Darren W.)

20. “My mood does not define my mind.” — submitted by Michelle L.

man deep in thought. Text reads: My mood does not define my mind.

To learn more about DBSA’s “I’m Here” campaign, click here.

I’m here… is a program brought to you by DBSA made possible through the support of Rebecca’s Dream® Foundation.

2k
2k
1
TOPICS
, Listicle
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

27 Pieces of Advice That Have Actually Helped People With Mood Disorders

840
840
0

Mood disorders, which affect about 20.9 million Americans in a given year, can often be isolating because of the stigma attached to them. And offers of unhelpful (and many times unsolicited) advice on how to cope can leave people feeling more misunderstood, and without the help they need.

So, we partnered with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) to ask people who live with mood disorders to share pieces of advice they’ve actually found to be helpful.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. “You don’t have to live in constant antagonism with your mood disorders. You don’t have to view your mood disorder as something wrong with you or something hindering your life that needs to be fixed. Once you start to view your mood disorder as a part of who you are that cannot be changed, then you can start an open conversation with yourself about it.” — Grace P.

2. “Become self-aware of your feelings, triggers and how your environment affects you. Knowing yourself, I find, gives you more control over your bipolar diagnosis.” — Bonnie M.

3. “Stay connected. Do not allow yourself to become isolated, alone and swimming about deep inside your own head all the time. There are people out there who can support you and anchor you in a meaningful reality.” — Samuel R.

picture of an anchor in water. Text reads: Stay connected. Do not allow yourself to become isolated, alone and swimming about deep inside your own head all the time. There are people out there who can support you and anchor your in a meaningful way.

4. “Don’t let the depression rob you of the joys of life.” — Lisa H.

5. “One day at a time, especially when things seem to be at their worst.” — Mary S.

6. “I feel like this today. Tomorrow is new day.” — Sandi B.Y.

7. “It’s OK to sleep a whole day, really. It’s OK to just not do anything.” — Alexandra V.

8. “Don’t be too hard on yourself. Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” –Shauna S.

9. “It’s not weak to ask for help.” — Becki B.

A couple holding hands. Text reads: It's not weak to ask for help."

10. “It’s OK to blow off a day and rest/reset. It’s not the end of the world to take a day. The world will still be there tomorrow.” — Joy M. A.

11. “Look after yourself first.” — Louise G.

12. “Learn to accept your diagnosis.” — Jennifer P.

13. “Remember everything is temporary. This too shall pass.” — Jennifer G.

14. “It is not wrong for you to have a brain that operates differently than others. Your experiences are not wrong. They are valid and deserved to be heard.” — Nicole V.L.M.

15. “Reward yourself for what you accomplish or successfully handled every day.” — Kirstie H. C.

hands holding a present. Text reads: "Reward myself for what I accomplish or successfully handled every day."

16. “When you think you’re losing control or are overwhelmed by your racing thoughts, concentrate on being ‘grounded.’ Sit with at least two feet on the ground and try to focus on how each individual part of your body feels. Start with your toes, how they feel on the ground under them and go all the way up to your hair. Much like a meditation.” — Patrick M.

17. “Be prepared to never be 100 percent, but always strive to live in the moment.” — Stefanie J.

18. “Don’t fight it. Accept where you are at.” — Dianne P.

19. “Be honest and real about how you are feeling to your therapists.” — Chris M.

20. “Keep up with doctor/therapy appointments and focus on what works best for yourself.” –Victoria P.

doctor writing on a chart. Text reads: Keep up with doctor/therapy appointments and focus on what works best for yourself."

21. “Stop worrying about society’s perceived thoughts about you as a person with a mood disorder. They are not living your life, they don’t know what’s best for you and therefore their opinion means squat.” — Belinda Z.

22. “Educate yourself on your illness and never be defined by a diagnosis. Ultimately, it’s up to you. Everyone has a cross to bear.” — Jodie S.

23. “Remember it’s not your fault.” — John G.

24. “You need to forget the word ‘should.’ It creates the worst feelings about yourself.” — Prue W.

25. “It’s OK to have your feelings.” — Lisa F.

26. “Stand up for yourself.” — Kari S.

27. “As cliché as it sounds, you are not alone. You will hear that statement more than any other throughout your struggle and, although you may not believe it now, it is completely true.” –Jacob M.

A blurry crowd of people. Text reads: As cliche as it sounds, you are not alone. You will hear that statement more than any other throughout your struggle and although you may not believe it now, it is completely true."

To learn more about DBSA’s “I’m Here” campaign, click here.

I’m here… is a program brought to you by DBSA made possible through the support of Rebecca’s Dream® Foundation.

840
840
0
TOPICS
, Listicle
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

10 Messages for People Who Feel Ashamed of Their Mood Disorders

978
978
0

Many people living with mental illness feel ashamed for feeling the way they do. This can be especially prominent if the mental illness affects someone’s expression of personality, like the 20 million people affected by mood disorders. But it’s important to remember there is nothing to be ashamed of about living with a mental illness. Having an illness is not a shameful thing, and neither is feeling or acting different because of that illness. This is why it’s so important to support the actions and feelings of people living with mood disorders — that validation can be one of the best ways to fight the stigma of mental illness.

We teamed up with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance to ask people in our communities living with mood disorders what they would say to someone feeling ashamed of their disorder.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. “Accept you will be misunderstood, rarely accepted and your emotional and thought processes aren’t what society considers ‘normal.’ Doesn’t make them right nor you wrong. Learn your triggers and warning signs. People often fear or put down that which they don’t understand, but remember — light will always shine in the darkness!” — Byron T.

moodDBSA5

2. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Normal isn’t real. We are different. Make it your own. Make peace with yourself. Accept your limitations and celebrate your gifts. Look into disability activism and the neurodiversity movement. You can do this.” — Jeannie B.

3. “Don’t be ashamed, it’s part of who you are but isn’t all you are. You are still the same person you were before it with a new twist.” — Diana F.

moodDBSA1

4. “I am not bipolar. I live with bipolar. The operative is ‘live.’ I choose to live unashamedly the best I can each day.” — Lisa B.

5. “You’re not alone, no matter how you feel. We’ve been there and we will be here for you if you want us to be. Always.” — Claire W.

6. “Tell and show people what you are feeling. Coach them on what you need from them. True loved ones will support you.” — Eddie G.

moodDBSA2

7. “Have compassion for yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat someone you cherish. Love flows outward when you love yourself first.” — Elaine G.

8. “You’ll be amazed at how many other people will start discussing their mental health issues when you start discussing yours. Don’t be ashamed, it’s all part of the fabulous jigsaw that makes you, you!” — Holly W.

moodDBSA4

9. “You have the ability to change the stigma associated with mental health. Grab it with both hands, find your inner strength and educate those still ignorant. You wouldn’t hide your broken leg so don’t hide the illness in your head.” — Natasha M.

10. “It is possible to live an amazing, exceptional and even ridiculously awesome life not only in spite of your illness, but because of it! It takes courage and work, as well as a lot of honesty with others, but it is worth it!” — Lauren Q.

moodDBSA3

To learn more about DBSA’s “I’m Here” campaign, click here.

I’m here… is a program brought to you by DBSA made possible through the support of Rebecca’s Dream® Foundation.

978
978
0
TOPICS
, Listicle
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Real People. Real Stories.

8,000
CONTRIBUTORS
150 Million
READERS

We face disability, disease and mental illness together.