Antidepressants may help recovering opiate addicts overcome depression

By Staff Writer

Individuals who are working to overcome an opiate addiction often report symptoms of depression throughout the recovery process. These include sleeplessness, low energy levels and poor mood. Now, a new study has helped explain this phenomenon and may offer hope to those experiencing these symptoms, which may interfere with relapse prevention efforts.

Researchers form Louis Pasteur University in France found that mice that were exposed to prolonged periods of morphine use became less sociable and more sedentary after being weaned off the drug. However, the researchers were able to eliminate these symptoms simply by providing the mice antidepressants.

John Krystal, editor of the journal Biological Psychiatry, which published the study, said that feelings of depression pose the greatest threat to the relapse prevention efforts of recovering opiate addicts. However, this study shows that these symptoms can be dealt with relatively easily.

He said that drug rehab programs may be able to provide their patients with antidepressants that are already clinically available. This may increase their chances of staying away from opiates.