Here's why opioids are an especially bad idea for treating lower back pain in patients with psychiatric disorders: Those users received significantly less relief than other patients and were much more likely to abuse their medications. A study published online recently by the journal Anesthesiology looked at the effects of morphine, oxycodone, or a placebo administered over 6 months to patients with concurrent back pain and depression/anxiety. Participants with mental health issues experienced 50% less improvement in back pain, 75% more opioid abuse, and increased overall side effects when compared to patients with low levels of depression or anxiety symptoms.

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