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Nonmedical use of prescription opioids and comorbid mental health problems: a literature review

Cohen, Sarah (2018) Nonmedical use of prescription opioids and comorbid mental health problems: a literature review. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Prescription opioid dispersion and use has seen enormous growth in the past two decades, giving rise to equally concerning increases in prescription opioid use disorder and associated mortality. Research supports a significant relationship between prescription opioid use and mental health issues, making mental illness a critical factor to investigate in the current epidemic. This paper is a review of currently available publications on the topics of prescription opioid use/misuse/disorder and comorbid mental disorders and suicidality. Examination of fifty-four cross-sectional and prospective studies revealed an association between prescription opioid use and the presence of mental illness and suicidality. Research supports potentially bidirectional relationships between prescription opioid use and anxiety disorders, substance and alcohol use disorders, mood disorders, and personality disorders. There is also evidence of those using prescription opioids reporting greater frequency of suicidal thoughts and behavior. Prescription opioid use, misuse, and use disorder all carry serious risk of increased mortality and decreased quality of life. However, comparison between studies is difficult because of the lack of consistency in how prescription opioid use and disorder is defined and the heterogeneity of the samples analyzed. The public health significance of this review is the presentation of evidence that highlights the major role of mental health in the potential abuse of prescription opioids to clinicians, policy makers, and public health officials.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Cohen, Sarahsac280@pitt.edusac280
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSonger, Thomastjs@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberBuchanich, Jeaninejeanine@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberMelhem, Nadinemelhemnm@upmc.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 14 December 2018
Date Type: Submission
Number of Pages: 103
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2019 18:51
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2022 06:15


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