Antidepressants Addiction Abuse And Symptoms
Written by Leigh Morgan
In 2016, antidepressant sertraline hydrochloride was the 14th most prescribed medication in the United States, with more than 38 million prescriptions issued. Trazodone, another antidepressant, was the 30th most prescribed medication, with more than 22 million prescriptions issued. Few studies have examined the prevalence of antidepressant misuse and abuse, but a comprehensive literature review by Evans and Sullivan indicates that its a growing problem.
Antidepressants are typically used to treat depression however, theyre also used in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder and narcolepsy. Wong et al. explain that these medications have off-label uses in the treatment of insomnia, chronic pain, panic disorder, and autoimmune disorders.
Nonmedical users typically take antidepressants to improve their moods and increase their energy levels. Some users also experience increased alertness when taking antidepressants. Although these effects are desirable, antidepressants have been linked with serious side effects and adverse outcomes.
Gastrointestinal bleeding and an increased risk of fractures are two of the most serious safety concerns associated with antidepressants. Undesirable side effects may include insomnia, drowsiness, changes in sexual function, fatigue, and weight gain.
Antidepressants Addiction, Abuse, and Symptoms
What Antidepressants Really Are
Antidepressants are medications prescribed by physicians for treating moderate to severe depression. The most common form of antidepressants is Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors .
SSRIs help reduce the symptoms of depression and treat the disorder by altering the chemical balance of serotonin in the brain. It basically slows down the speed at which the body reabsorbs serotonin, prolonging the naturally occurring pleasant effects of the neurotransmitter. Serotonin serves as a miracle worker when it comes to improving mood and helping patients feel positive about their lives.
Combined with non-pharmacological interventions, such as stress management, lifestyle changes, and psychological therapy or counseling, antidepressants greatly alleviate the depression symptoms in patients.
If You Wonder Can Antidepressants Be Addictive Addiction May Be Present
You dont have to handle things alone if youre experiencing an addiction to antidepressants. These are powerful medications that can affect your brain chemistry. Some of them have the potential to become addictive over time, and it can depend on the person, type of med, and dosage being taken, as well. But no matter where you are in your struggle, we can help. Our caring and dedicated professionals want to make sure youre getting all the help and support you need for the treatment of your addiction. Then you can get back to living the happy life you deserve, with a good future ahead of you.
Struggling with addiction isnt easy, but with the right people to help you, its not as difficult. You have more hope when you have more help, and we want to be a big part of that. Our treatment professionals are here to see you succeed, and to give you the tools and healthy coping mechanisms that will work for your needs and goals. With that level of help and support, you cant go wrong. Getting in touch with us at our facility in the beautiful Pacific Northwest is the first step toward answering the question of can antidepressants be addictive and then getting the help you need to address and conquer that addiction.
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Can Someone Get Addicted To Antidepressants
Theres a significant difference between dependence and addiction. Dependence on drugs or alcohol is characterized by the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms when that person stops using or drinking. For example, a person who experiences withdrawal symptoms when they dont drink alcohol for a day is probably physically dependent on it. Addiction, on the other hand, refers to a chronic and neurobiological disease thats born of a combination of genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors. A drug or alcohol addiction is characterized by compulsive use, lack of control over drug use or drinking, addiction cravings, and continued use despite side effects.
While antidepressants can create a physical dependence, they arent addictive like cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine are addictive however, this doesnt mean theyre harmless. Prescription medications can cause a variety of side effects when theyre misused, abused, or mixed with other substances. If you take antidepressants without a prescription or do not take them as directed by your doctor, it can cause organ damage and other physical side effects.
Some common antidepressants include:
Coming Off Your Medication Can Cause Antidepressant Withdrawal And Could Set You Up For A Relapse Of Depression
Can going off your medication cause antidepressant withdrawal symptoms ? About 10% of women ages 18 and over take antidepressants. As many of us know, these medications can be a godsend when depression has robbed life of its joy and made it hard to muster the energy and concentration to complete everyday tasks. But as you begin to feel better and want to move on, how long should you keep taking the pills?
If you’re doing well on antidepressants and not complaining of too many side effects, many physicians will renew the prescription indefinitely figuring that it offers a hedge against a relapse of depression. But side effects that you may have been willing to put up with initially sexual side effects , headache, insomnia, drowsiness, vivid dreaming, or just not feeling like yourself can become less acceptable over time, especially if you think you no longer need the pills.
The decision to go off antidepressants should be considered thoughtfully and made with the support of your physician or therapist to make sure you’re not stopping prematurely, risking a recurrence of depression. Once you decide to quit, you and your physician should take steps to minimize or avoid the discontinuation symptoms that can occur if such medications are withdrawn too quickly.
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What Are Some Alternatives To Antidepressants
There are many alternatives to antidepressants. When an individual begins taking an antidepressant, dependence or addiction can form. Once that combination occurs, further complications can result such as worsening depression, relationship problems, substance abuse, financial difficulties, suicidal behaviors, and thoughts. Although antidepressants can alter an individuals life for the better by managing symptoms of depression, the misuse of antidepressants can contribute to a cycle of ongoing depression and worsening drug abuse.
Cognitive behavioral therapy goes hand and hand with antidepressants that are normally prescribed. This form of therapy is usually the most effective way to resolve and treat symptoms of depression due to the many various factors that cause it. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, depression is a treatable disorder and there are several different approaches to treatment including therapy, residential treatment, meditation, and so forth.
There are many individuals in recovery for substance abuse and depression but would rather avoid taking antidepressants or any similar prescription drug. Numerous ways are scientifically proven to provide relief. Here are nine different alternatives to antidepressants.
How Do I Keep This From Happening Again
Take your medicine exactly as your healthcare provider tells you. If you want to stop taking your medicine, contact your healthcare provider first. Just because you are unable to stop taking your medicine all at once does not mean that you are addicted. Your body often needs time to adjust to lower levels of the medicine. This is why your healthcare provider may recommend tapering off of antidepressant medicine rather than abruptly stopping it.
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Can Trazodone Be Abused
The short answer to this question is yes. It appears that most any type of drug or medication can be a substance of abuse given the rather entrepreneurial nature of many who seek to abuse substances. Certain classifications of prescription medications have a higher potential for abuse than others however, individuals who abuse prescription medications will attempt to find ways to abuse nearly any type of drug.
It has been recognized that antidepressant medications are potential drugs of abuse, although this is a relatively rare phenomenon compared to other classes of drugs, and often, antidepressant abuse occurs in conjunction with other drugs of abuse. In addition, a 1994 article in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedingsreporting two case studies concerning the abuse of Prozac also reported what is believed to be the first actual documented case of co-abuse of trazodone.
Finally, trazodone has a mild potential for abuse and for the development of a mild syndrome of physical dependence that is associated with other antidepressant medications and often termed antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. Trazodone overdoses are not very common, but they can occur.
The Effects And Abuse Of Antidepressants
Antidepressants are perhaps one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States. Since these drugs have less potential for abuse, medical professionals consider it as a safer alternative to benzodiazepines. Despite this, many patients abuse antidepressant medications, mainly to achieve a psychostimulant-like effect.
Antidepressants do NOT offer the euphoric effects other drugs have, meaning they cannot get you high. However, this does not stop some people from trying. They expect these medications to induce euphoria when taken in large doses since their primary function is to improve mood. But that is not how they work!
Antidepressants accumulate in the brain and produce their effects over time, instead of giving a patient immediate effects. They can take over a month before they start working in the body. Not being aware of this fact makes people think the drug is not working fast enough and so they end up increasing their dosage and abusing the drug. Some people even combine them with other substances such as alcohol to amplify the effects of the medication.
As with most drugs, not following the physicians prescribed dosage guidelines and taking large doses of antidepressants may lead to dangerous health consequences. People who abuse the medication increase their risk of overdosing on the drug.
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Can Switching Antidepressants Help With Withdrawal
If you’ve been taking a drug with a short half-life, you may experience problems with withdrawal symptoms. In this case, it might be possible for you to switch to a similar drug, but with a longer half-life. You may find this drug easier to come off. For example, this may be switching from an SSRI with a short half-life to another SSRI with a longer half-life.
To compare the half-lives of all antidepressants, see our page on comparing antidepressants.
” I thought I should try to manage without the antidepressant, I did not manage to come off them, which I was incredibly harsh on myself about I was then on until I had been well for a number of years, and then, with the help of my GP, I reduced and stopped the medication.”
What Can I Do If I Have Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome
If you accidentally missed a dose of your antidepressant medicine, start taking it again as soon as possible. If you are out of medicine, contact your healthcare provider so they can refill your prescription.
If you decided to stop taking your antidepressant medicine on your own, contact your healthcare provider about why you stopped. For example, was the medicine causing an unpleasant side effect? Your healthcare provider can help by altering your dosage or suggesting another type of antidepressant.
If your healthcare provider recommended that you take a lower dosage of your medicine and you are experiencing symptoms of antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, contact your healthcare provider. You may need to take a higher dosage for a period of time before weaning your body from the medicine completely.
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Perceptions Of Antipsychotic Medication
- The risk of dependency was assessed as low by GPs , in contrast to only 18% of the general population.
- A majority of the general population recommended discontinuation of the antipsychotic for movement disorder , strong tremor , risk of dependency and feelings of unrest .
- As well as effective management of side-effects being a vital aspect of patient and carer education, prescribing doctors need to be aware that their mentally ill patients are likely to be confronted with extremely negative public attitudes towards antipsychotic medication and with strong pressures to stop taking their medication in the event of side-effects.
Antidepressant Withdrawal Can Look Like Depression
Discontinuation symptoms can include anxiety and depression. Since these may be the reason you were prescribed antidepressants in the first place, their reappearance may suggest that you’re having a relapse and need ongoing treatment. Here’s how to distinguish discontinuation symptoms from relapse:
Discontinuation symptoms emerge within days to weeks of stopping the medication or lowering the dose, whereas relapse symptoms develop later and more gradually.
Discontinuation symptoms often include physical complaints that aren’t commonly found in depression, such as dizziness, flulike symptoms, and abnormal sensations.
Discontinuation symptoms disappear quickly if you take a dose of the antidepressant, while drug treatment of depression itself takes weeks to work.
Discontinuation symptoms resolve as the body readjusts, while recurrent depression continues and may get worse.
If symptoms last more than a month and are worsening, it’s worth considering whether you’re having a relapse of depression.
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The Right Kind Of Treatment Makes A Difference
Its not just about the location or the people, though. The kind of treatment youre also getting matters. We can offer you a lot of great options, many of which may work for your needs and situation. Not every treatment plan is right for every person, which is why we provide options. You can work with us to find the one thats going to fit your concerns and address your addiction issues the right way. Can antidepressants be addictive? They can be. But we can help you break that addiction and feel good about your future. Here are some of the programs and options we offer to help you succeed:
- Partial hospitalization
- Master-level therapists
- A 30-bed facility.
No matter what kind of treatment help you need for addiction to antidepressants, we are here to give you hope and support. Our therapists will work with you to find the right skills for you to take with you into the world. We know that breaking an addiction can be difficult. But we also know that the right treatment goes a very long way toward making things easier for you. Crestview Recovery wants to be a part of your recovery journey and success story. Also, we offer you plenty to do while youre here with us, like white water rafting, skiing, and snowboarding. Well work with your individual needs and goals to give you a brighter future.
How Will I Know If My Antidepressant Is Working
You will be able to sleep better. Youll be better able to meet your day-to-day obligations and take care of yourself. You will have more energy. Your weight problems will get better, and your appetite will be closer to normal. You will have an increased desire to engage in life. You and your family and friends will notice these changes. Be patient, though. It may take some time to get back to the way you felt before the depression.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Antidepressant Overdose
Some factors to consider are the type of antidepressant, the individuals weight and tolerance, their age and any pre-existing conditions such as heart, kidney or liver conditions. Some mild symptoms of an antidepressant overdose are headaches, drowsiness,
No matter where you live, there is a drug rehab center that can help you overcome your addiction. We’ll help you find it.
Are Antidepressants Safe
Antidepressants arent for everybody, but they can be a safe and effective tool for treating depressive disorders. If you or someone you love has a problem with depression or prescription drug dependence, Mission Harbor Behavioral Center, a Southern California rehab program, can help.Contact us today for a free consultation.
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The Myths And The Stigma
Unfortunately, there is still a stigma associated withmental illness and the drugs used to treat it. Some people dont admit theyre depressed because they dont want to be judged or seen as weak, and others feel ashamed to ask for help. Even scientists dont entirely understand how the drugs work, but scientists at Rockefeller University publishedinformation in 2020 that may help. If they can figure out what makes SSRIs work, they may be able to reverse the damage caused by depression and other neurological disorders.
Antidepressant side effects exist, but there and many kinds of antidepressants. Individuals all have different reactions. The medication that doesnt work for one person may be ideal for another. Its a process of trial and error.
Let Crestview Recovery Help You Succeed Today
Before you stop taking your depressants, you should talk to your doctor. They may be able to help. They may suggest that you can overcome an addiction to antidepressants or any other substance when you attend a quality drug rehab facility like ours. Contact us at and let us give you an answer to the question can antidepressants be addictive. Well help you get on the road toward a complete recovery. Then you can have the bright future you want and deserve, and plenty to look forward to in the coming months and years. Theres no reason to live under the struggle of addiction, when we can help you be free, healthy, and whole.
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Brain Volume Changes After Withdrawal
A study came out shortly after the one above stating antipsychotics protect people with schizophrenia from brain loss. Regarding patients in first-episode schizophrenia:
- Decreases in the nucleus accumbens and putamen volumes during the interval in patients who discontinued antipsychotic medication.
- Increases in nucleus accumbens and putamen volumes were found in patients who continued their antipsychotics.
- This might suggest discontinuation reverses effects of atypical medication.
Antipsychotics and Dependency
OK, I admit, thats not a lot of data. I did searches on Pubmed but only covered about the last ten years. I suspect a lot of study on this was done earlier. And keep in mind, most withdrawal effects are seen upon abrupt discontinuation from the antipsychotic and are dose dependent.
One textbook I have states
Physical dependence, if it occurs at all, is rare. There are reports of muscular discomfort, exaggeration of psychotic symptoms and movement disorders, and difficulty in sleeping when some antipsychotics are suddenly withdrawn, but such effects are not normally seen even after years of use at normal doses. It is possible that the failure to notice withdrawal symptoms is due to the extremely slow excretion of the drug from the body.^