Drugs affect the human brain and body in a variety of ways. When these drugs are prescribed by doctors, the hope is that these bodily effects are changes are for the better. If and when drugs, whether prescribed or obtained illegally, are being abused however, the changes can be possibly detrimental and cause significant amounts of damage to occur in the body’s and brain’s natural way of being able to function. The effects of drugs on the human body can be difficult to spot because a lot of them happen on a cellular or neuronal level, increasing or depleting vital chemicals that the body relies on to survive. Although drugs are usually taken to be beneficial, they can also come with some hefty side-effects. One specific question of interest is: can Oxycontin cause depression in the user? Along those lines, do the potential risks of taking this drug outweigh the benefits?

Oxycontin is most commonly used to help relieve severe chronic pain (like those in cancer patients) and is classified as being a narcotic. It works mostly through activating certain neurotransmitters that change how your body responds to and feels pain.  Aside from being effective in helping to manage pain, Oxycontin is also notorious for being highly addictive with more than 100,000 U.S. reported deaths being caused by opioid overdose since 2014.  In addition to the obvious potential side-effect of death, Oxycontin also has other negative chemical side-effects. Opioid abuse and depression can be tricky to address because their relationship is bidirectional, meaning that suffering from one of these things increases the risk of suffering from the other. Most intense side effects from opioids tend to come from opioid abuse, which is defined as using a prescription drugs for non-medical reasons as well as using them in greater amounts or longer than was prescribed by a doctor. Opioid abuse has been linked with a variety of higher rates in mental disorders including depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders. These linkages can get complicated as it can be hard to tell which came first, the mental disorder or the cause of it due to constant use. Opioids can also be used to help cope with mental disorders which in turn increases drug use to manage the symptoms which increases the damage and tolerance of the drug. It can be a difficult and painful cycle from which to get out. 

Opioid addiction and abuse should not be taken lightly. Although many opioids are obtained via a legitimate prescription from a doctor, being prescribed does not automatically ensure the safety of using these drugs in whatever way the user wants to. When users take opioids in large quantities or for non-medical reasons (like recreation), addiction is highly likely. If you or a loved one is suffering from an opioid addiction, (or think that they might be), reaching out for medical and professional help is a good place to start. Figuring out how to deal with an addiction is hard and figuring out how to deal with an addiction and mental health disorder is even harder, but making sure that both are being treated is vital for a full recovery.