Saturday December 7, 2019

Long-Term Treatment with Opioids may Increase PTSD Risk: Study

Chronic opioid treatment may increase PTSD risk says study

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PTSD
Studies have found that a long term treatment with opioids can increase the risks of developing PTSD. Lifetime Stock

Researchers have found that long-term (chronic) treatment with opioids, such as morphine, prior to trauma may increase post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) risk.

The findings, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, which link chronic opioid treatment before a traumatic event with responses to subsequent stressful events, may suggest a possible mechanism underlying the frequent co-occurrence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and opioid dependence.

“Our data are the first to show a possible effect of opioids on future fear learning, which may suggest that a person with a history of opioid use may become more susceptible to the negative effects of stress,” said study researcher Michael Fanselow from University of California in the US.

“Also, this ability of opioids to increase PTSD-like symptoms far outlasted the direct effects of the drug or withdrawal from the drug, suggesting that the effect may continue even after opioid treatment has stopped,” Fanselow added.

PTSD risk
The ability of opioids to increase PTSD symptoms far outlasted the direct effects of the drug or withdrawal from the drug. Pixabay

Previous research has shown that PTSD increases the risk of opioid dependence, but whether opioid dependence may also increase PTSD risk remained unclear.

Using an established model of fear learning in mice, researchers assessed the potential impact of chronic opioid treatment on subsequent development of PTSD-like behaviours.

They found that mice that had been treated with opioids and later experienced stress showed more pronounced post-stress reactions.

At the beginning of the study, mice were treated with morphine or saline for eight days, followed by a week of drug cessation.

Both groups of mice – morphine-treated mice and saline-treated controls (22 and 24 mice, respectively) – were then subdivided into trauma and non-trauma groups.

They were transferred to a chamber where animals in the trauma group received a series of mild foot shocks. A day later, both groups of animals were returned to the chamber to assess their memory of the traumatic event.

PTSD symptoms
PTSD symptoms can include flashback, fear, severe anxiety, or mistrust. Lifetime Stock

“We have called this the trauma because the acute stressor, the foot shocks, is able to produce lasting fear and anxiety-like behaviours, such as freezing,” Fanselow said.

On the subsequent day, mice from both the trauma and non-trauma groups were transferred to a new environment and exposed to a mild stressor (a milder foot shock), before being returned to that environment for eight minutes on the fourth day of the experiment.

The authors found no behavioural differences between morphine-treated and control mice following the initial trauma.

However, morphine-treated mice showed more pronounced freezing when returned to the second environment after having been exposed to the mild stressor.

Also Read- Brushing Teeth Frequently May Lower Risks of Heart Failure: Study

The findings suggest that chronic exposure to opioids before – but not after – a traumatic event occurs, impacts fear learning during subsequent stressful events. (IANS)

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Generalised Anxiety Disorder During Teenage Can Lead to Harmful Drinking Habits

Using questionnaire and clinical interview data from more than 2,000 participants, researchers found generalised anxiety disorder at age 18 was linked to frequent drinking

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Anxiety
Research has shown that links between mental health problems, such as Anxiety disorders, and alcohol are common and complex. Pixabay

Researchers at the University of Bristol have found evidence of an association between generalised Anxiety disorder at age 18 and harmful drinking three years later.

The study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence strengthens the evidence for a relationship between anxiety and later alcohol use as the researchers accounted for other factors such as adolescent smoking and cannabis use, and parental anxiety and alcohol use.

“Helping adolescents to develop positive strategies for coping with anxiety, instead of drinking alcohol, may reduce the risk of future harmful drinking. However, we cannot determine if the relationship is causal, because we used an observational study design,” said Maddy Dyer.

Using questionnaire and clinical interview data from more than 2,000 participants, researchers found generalised anxiety disorder at age 18 was linked to frequent drinking, frequent bingeing, hazardous drinking, and harmful drinking at age 18.

Generalised anxiety disorder continued to be associated with harmful drinking at age 21.

Drinking to cope was also strongly associated with more harmful drinking, but it did not appear to influence associations between anxiety and alcohol use.

Harmful drinking was measured using a special test developed by the World Health Association.

On average, adolescents with anxiety drank at more harmful levels regardless of whether they tended to drink alcohol for coping reasons or not.

Anxiety
Researchers at the University of Bristol have found evidence of an association between generalised Anxiety disorder at age 18 and harmful drinking three years later. Pixabay

“Our own research has shown that links between mental health problems, such as anxiety disorders, and alcohol are common and complex,” said Mark Leyshon, Senior Policy and Research Manager at Alcohol Change UK.

For example, anxiety can be both a result of stopping drinking and a risk factor in beginning to drink too much, as this new study suggests.

ALSO READ: Apple To Fix Popping Sound Issue With its New 16-inch MacBook Pro

“We need more research to help us better understand the connections between alcohol and mental health, as well as high-quality, accessible, integrated support for substance misuse and mental health issues,” Leyshon added. (IANS)