Does Opioid Addiction Cause Depression?


Opioid addiction has become an epidemic in many countries including the United States. It’s a serious issue that affects millions of people and their families every day. While we know that opioid addiction can cause physical harm to the body, less is known about its effects on mental health. 

In today’s blog post, we’ll explore whether opioid addiction causes depression and how dual diagnosis treatment can help those suffering from both conditions.

What Causes Opioid Addiction?

Opioid addiction is a complex issue that can be caused by various factors. One of the primary causes of opioid addiction is prolonged use of prescription opioids to manage chronic pain. When taken for an extended period outside of a doctor’s orders, these medications can lead to physical dependence and ultimately addiction.

Another cause of opioid addiction is recreational usage. Many people experiment with opioids for their euphoric effects and become addicted after repeated use. Genetics also play a role in developing an opioid addiction since some individuals may have a predisposition towards addictive behaviors.

Environmental factors such as stress, trauma, and social pressure can also contribute to opioid addiction. Traumatic experiences like abuse or neglect can leave individuals vulnerable to substance abuse as they seek relief from emotional pain through drugs.

Access to opioids plays a significant role in the development of opioid addictions. Easy availability through doctors’ prescriptions or illegal sources increases the likelihood of misuse leading to physical dependence and eventual addiction.

The Link Between Opioid Addiction And Depression

Opioid addiction and depression are two serious health conditions that often go hand-in-hand. While it’s not always clear which condition comes first, research has shown a strong link between the two.

One theory is that people with pre-existing mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, may be more likely to turn to opioids as a form of self-medication. On the other hand, chronic opioid use can also lead to chemical changes in the brain that contribute to depression and other mood disorders.

In addition, withdrawal symptoms from opioids can cause physical and emotional distress that can mimic symptoms of depression. This can make it difficult for healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat these co-occurring conditions effectively.

Unfortunately, this cycle of addiction and depression can quickly spiral out of control without proper intervention. That’s why seeking help from trained professionals who specialize in dual diagnosis treatment is critical for long-term recovery.

While there may be no simple answer as to whether opioid addiction causes depression or vice versa, it’s clear that both require comprehensive treatment approaches for successful outcomes.

Does Opioid Addiction Cause Depression

While there isn’t a vast amount of research on the subject, it’s most likely prolonged use of opioids can lead to a range of negative consequences, including depression. Research suggests that there is a link between opioid addiction and depression, as both conditions affect similar regions in the brain.

Studies have shown that people with opioid addiction are more likely to experience symptoms of depression than those who do not use these drugs. This may be due to several factors such as changes in brain chemistry caused by long-term opioid use or genetic predisposition towards both disorders.

In addition, individuals suffering from opioid addiction often face significant challenges in their personal lives such as financial struggles or relationship problems which could contribute significantly towards developing depressive symptoms.

It’s clear that there exists some sort of association between opioid addiction and depression but more research into this area would be beneficial for understanding its underlying mechanisms better.

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is a term used to describe the co-occurrence of substance abuse or addiction and another mental health disorder. This means that someone struggling with opioid addiction may also experience depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses.

The connection between substance abuse and mental health disorders can be complex and multifaceted. Sometimes people turn to drugs as a way of coping with their mental health symptoms, only to find themselves struggling with addiction down the line. Other times, chronic drug use can trigger or exacerbate underlying mental health issues.

It’s important for individuals who struggle with both addiction and a mental health disorder to receive treatment that addresses both conditions simultaneously. Treatment programs that specialize in dual diagnosis offer integrated care plans designed specifically for this population.

Treatment For Opioid Addiction And Depression (Dual Diagnosis)

The first step in treatment is detoxification. This involves removing the opioids from the body safely and effectively under medical supervision. The next step often involves medication-assisted therapy, which combines medication with behavioral therapy to help reduce withdrawal symptoms. 

Behavioral therapy can include individual counseling, group therapy, family therapy, or cognitive-behavioral therapy. These therapies help individuals develop coping skills and strategies for managing their addiction and depression more effectively.

It’s important to note that recovery from opioid addiction and depression takes time, patience, and support. After completing formal treatment programs like MAT or behavioral therapies, ongoing support through peer groups or 12-step programs can provide continued motivation to stay clean while also addressing any remaining mental health concerns.

Seeking professional treatment for co-occurring opioid addiction and depression is crucial for improving long-term outcomes of recovery.

Think You May Have Depression and Addiction? Call For Help

Opioid addiction and depression have a complex relationship that is still not fully understood. While it is clear that there is a link between the two conditions, it is difficult to determine which one causes the other. What we do know for sure is that people who struggle with opioid addiction are at a higher risk of developing depression, and vice versa.

Fortunately, there are effective treatments available for both opioid addiction and depression. Seeking professional help from doctors or therapists can be instrumental in managing these conditions and improving overall health and well-being.

It’s essential to remember that seeking treatment takes courage; it’s okay to ask for support when needed. If you think you might need support, please call us 24/7 at (888) 574-3506 and we can help you get sober. 

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Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner


As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns


Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine