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Do You Get Addicted To Antidepressants

How Are They Used

Are Antidepressants Addictive?

People often wonder, can you get high on antidepressants? Those who are abusing antidepressants often consume high doses of them for the stimulant effect otherwise known as a high

People who abuse antidepressants often consume high doses of them for the stimulant effect. But they may also crush the pills and snort them or mix them with liquid and then inject them into veins.4 Snorting or injecting antidepressants speeds up the onset and intensity of the effects. But it also increases the risk of addiction and can lead to confusion, seizures or psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations.

Drug Or Alcohol Abuse Or Addiction Is A Psychological Disease:

Drug abuse is a constant use of a drug in which one consumes the substance in amounts or with methods which are harmful to themselves or others and is a form of substance-associated disorder. The drug use disorders are marked by symptoms that appear from consistent use of the drug, even though they are showing negative effect on the body and mind.

The drug abuse disorder symptoms include, not being able to stop the drugs, even though they are wishing to stop yearning to take the drugs avoiding the activities that you love or significant so that you can have the drugs sacrificing your money and time to have experience the feeling of drug use.

For one to be relying on antidepressants as an addict, he goes through a string of negative emotions when he is consuming the antidepressant drugs, unlike when he using them and those negative emotions might lead to considerable effect on his daily activities.

You will be choosing the use drugs above all other activities when you have drug abuse disorder. One cannot stop when he has this disorder, even though his self-consciousness and moral values inform him that the he is becoming a parasite in his life. In a study conducted it has also been found out that not all people who have drug-use disorder rely on the drugs. Mere dependency on drugs doesnt mean that they are addicts.

How They Affect The Brain

The most commonly prescribed forms of antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors . They act on a neurotransmitter in the brain called serotonin, which helps regulate pain sensations, mood, sleep patterns, digestion and mental clarity.3 SSRIs increase the amount of synaptic serotonin in the brain. Many disorders such as depression are thought to be caused by a clinically low presence of serotonin.

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Can Antidepressant Medications Be Abused

When anyone uses a drug outside of reasons for its intended use, the drug is being abused. Thus, it is a safe bet that most any drug can potentially be abused. A 2014 review published in the journal Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation found some evidence that antidepressant medications were abused by a very small number of people, most of whom had other substance use disorder issues with other drugs and abused antidepressant medications in combination with other drugs of abuse. The actual prevalence of antidepressant medication abuse is unknown at this time however, it is likely relatively rare.

The potential of addiction still remains a question of some debate. Certainly, some individuals may develop a strong psychological attachment to their antidepressant medication that is strengthened when they experience withdrawal symptoms as a result of trying to stop using it. Moreover, it is also quite probable that some of the symptoms that are experienced when a person discontinues using an antidepressant medication are misinterpreted as being:

  • The return of depression

How Do Benzos Work

Can You Get Addicted to Antidepressants?

To best understand how benzo addiction happens, who is at risk, how quickly addiction happens and how long it lasts, we first need to understand how benzos work.

The exact mechanism of benzos is not clearly understood, but what we do know is that benzos enhance a neurotransmitter in the brain called Gamma Aminobutyric Acid .

GABA is known as the calming and relaxing neurotransmitter. It works by decreasing activity in your nervous system. When GABA levels rise, you will experience feelings of physical and emotional relaxation and sedation.

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Addiction Relates More To Mental Obsession Than Physical Obsession:

People to make their pain go away for a short period of time choose to go for usage of drugs for multiple times. They are in a dire need to accomplish their needs. Despite the damaging effects of the drug abuse, people opt for the drugs just to alleviate their mental pain. Often, people may not be able to stop using the drugs with a properly designed support group. This is the reason there are several rehabilitation centres which help them to gradually stop using or taking the drugs.

Even though people try desperately to avoid using the drugs that task to them is impossible and without a group or a rehabilitation centre, they will not be able to even achieve at least 20 % of it.

Many people think that with the use of antidepressant doesnt actually function and reduce the symptoms of depression. This is a common scenario in case of all psychiatric drugs.

Is It Possible To Become Addicted To Ssris

There is a lot of discussion surrounding pharmaceutical properties, particularly SSRI drugs, and the addictive qualities of antidepressant medications. It is well known that substance abuse alters the chemical makeup of the brain and interferes with normal neurotransmitter development, much like prescription drugs that interfere with antidepressant medications. Chronic illicit drug and alcohol abuse may lead to physical and psychological dependence on these substances to maintain feelings of balance and normalcy. This dependence may turn into an addiction when the need for substance abuse takes over and excessive amounts of time are dedicated to obtaining the substance, using it, and recovering from its effects. SSRI medications are often mistakenly referred to as happy pills. However, they do not seem to produce the same sense of euphoria or artificial happiness that other medicines, including benzodiazepines, do. SSRIs aim to rebalance the brain, not simply increase pleasant feelings, so illicit antidepressant medications do not lead to a high.

Most doctors believe that antidepressant medications are not addictive in the traditional sense. Antidepressants may induce physical dependency, as shown by the withdrawal symptoms that may occur when antidepressants are stopped or reduced. When people stop taking antidepressants unexpectedly, they sometimes experience withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, tremors, and depression.

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What Is Clinical Depression

Ups and downs are a part of normal life, so when does sadness become an illness? Doctors define depression as persistent low mood, plus feelings of doubt and self-loathing, lasting for more than two weeks. People lack energy all of the time and cant enjoy the things they used to, says Nick Stafford of the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, UK.

These psychological symptoms are often coupled with physical ones such as changes in appetite or trouble sleeping. It is common for people to wake up early in the morning with miserable thoughts whirling around in their mind, says Stafford.

This has inflamed critics. By stating that withdrawal isnt a problem, they may have been responsible for encouraging more people to expose themselves to unnecessary harm, says Sami Timimi, a psychiatrist in Lincoln, UK. Along with 29 others, Timimi wrote to the colleges complaints committee to say that the letter contradicted a survey of more than 800 people conducted by the college itself. This found that withdrawal symptoms generally last for up to six weeks and that a quarter of people have anxiety lasting more than three months. The college responded that the survey results could be misleading as participants were self-selecting and people might be more likely to take part if they have had bad experiences. It has taken down the results from its website.

Trials are not designed to learn what happens when you stop taking the drug

Antidepressant Withdrawal Can Look Like Depression

ADDICTED TO ANTIDEPRESSANTS? | Psychiatry Doctor Tells You The Truth About Antidepressant Withdrawal

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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However As Someone In Recovery I Can Confidently Say That Psychiatric Medications Are Part Of What Keeps Me Sober

My freshman year of college, I experienced a painful breakup that triggered a downward spiral into a serious depression. I would go days on end without leaving my room. Id stay locked inside, laying around watching Disney movies and crying.

At the end of my rope, I went to the psychologist on our campus.

The psychologist told me that I showed classic signs of clinical depression and suggested I set up an appointment with the psychiatrist. At first, I was annoyed. I wondered how it being clinical made it any different from what Id always experienced.

I knew that I was depressed. That much was obvious. Going to a psychiatrist scared me.

I was horrified by the idea that I needed a psychiatrist. I had a real problem with depression, but I was adamant against the idea of medication.

The stigma of mental illness was so deeply ingrained that I was ashamed at the thought of needing medication.

I wrote in my journal, Do I really need to be seen by a PSYCHIATRIST? I dont want a doctor to evaluate me, I want to be HEALED not TREATED.

It shouldnt come as a shock when I tell you that I stopped seeing the therapist who suggested I go to a psychiatrist. Nothing got better, of course. I blew everything off. Every day was a struggle to get up and go to class. I found no meaning in anything I did.

Instead, I travelled a long path of denial, substance use, and self-harm.

Physical Symptoms Of Antidepressant Abuse

How antidepressants affect the body

By increasing the amounts of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, antidepressants have several physical effects on the body. Serotonin is involved in the secretion of hormones from the pituitary gland. Therefore, taking antidepressants that increase the amount of serotonin in the brain can stimulate the release of hormones, which may affect an individuals sleep-wake cycle .

Norepinephrine helps the heart muscle contract normally and is also involved in the contraction of skeletal muscle. Therefore, an increase in the amount of norepinephrine in the brain can cause an individuals heart rate to increase. An increase in norepinephrine levels can also trigger the release of glucose into the bloodstream.

Early physical effects of antidepressants

Antidepressants can produce several physiological effects within as little as 30 to 60 minutes of taking a dose. Some of these effects can be dangerous, especially for users who have preexisting medical conditions.

This table illustrates the possible short-term physical effects associated with antidepressants.
Short-term Physical Symptoms
Delayed ejaculation

Severe and long-term physical effects of antidepressants

This table illustrates the possible long-term physical effects associated with antidepressants.
Long-term Physical Symptoms

Sources: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

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No You Arent A Drug Addict If You Take Antidepressants

Addiction or dependence? Words have meaning and when it comes to something as serious as addiction, getting them right matters.

If youve read the L.A. Times recently, you might have come across an op-ed by journalist David Lazarus, who conflates his dependence on antidepressant medication with addiction. In the piece, Lazarus proclaims, I am an addict.

The problem is, what he was describing isnt actually addiction.

For starters, addiction and dependencyare not the same things. Call it an addiction. Call it a dependence. Call it whatever you please, he writes. Im hooked.

But we cant just label it whatever we please, because words have specific meanings and with something as stigmatized as addiction, we need to choose our words carefully.

To be clear: If youre physically dependent on an antidepressant, it does not make you a drug addict.

Antidepressant withdrawal symptoms are a real thing for many people, especially if theyve been on antidepressants for a significant amount of time. It can be a difficult experience, to be sure. But antidepressant discontinuation syndrome is not akin to addiction.

Addiction Or Substance Use Disorder Is A Mental Illness As Defined By The Dsm

Addiction to Antidepressants

Substance use disorders are characterized by symptoms that arise from continuing to take a substance despite experiencing negative consequences.

Some of the criteria include things like:

  • wanting to quit or cut back and being unable to
  • cravings or urges to use
  • giving up important or enriching activities because of drug use
  • spending an exorbitant amount of time and effort to get your fix

For Lazarus to have an addiction to antidepressants, then, he wouldve had to experience negative consequences while he was on antidepressants not when he stopped taking them and those consequences wouldve had a significant impact on his day-to-day life.

When you have substance use disorder, you cant stop, and your addiction rises to the top of your priority list no matter how much your intellect and morals disagree with its increasingly vital role in your life.

Not all people with substance use disorders have been physically dependent, though. Dependency does not an addiction make.

Dependency refers to what happens when you stop using. Namely, that you experience withdrawal symptoms.

Someone with chronic pain can be physically dependent on a pain medication, experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they arent medicated, yet not misuse pain meds while theyre taking them.

Similarly, someone could have an alcohol use disorder but not be physically dependent to the point of experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they get sober.

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Can You Become Addicted To Antidepressants

Sep 25, 2018 | Addiction & Recovery, Addiction treatment

According to the World Health Organization, depression affects about 350 million people of all ages across the globe. With the rising numbers of depression cases being reported every day, the use of antidepressants has grown common.

Although designed to treat depression and other mood disorders, antidepressants may bring along certain side effects and risk factors. Taking these medications over a prolonged period of time without proper medical supervision, medical treatment, and regular medical evaluations conducted by trained professionals may possibly lead to drug dependency or addiction.

Can A Patient Safely Wean Off Antidepressant Medications

Other prescription drugs often come with painful and distressing withdrawal side effects, like narcotics and opioid medications. For most patients who stop taking their antidepressant medications under a physicians guidance, they will not experience distressing withdrawal symptoms when weaning off the drug. However, a minority of patients will experience withdrawal symptoms, but they are typically mild.

Also Check: What Causes Addiction In The Brain

Treatment For Antidepressants Addiction

Treatments for antidepressants addiction include detoxification, therapy, and support groups. For individuals who have a co-occurring addiction or severe depression, the treatment calls for a rigorous plan.

Outpatient treatment can help individuals wean off the antidepressant medication without negatively affecting their personal or professional life. It is crucial for recovering addicts to manage their depression while trying to get off antidepressants because untreated depression can pave the way for a relapse into antidepressant use.

One way to get around this is by continuing therapy. Certain activities and coping techniques can help keep individuals on their feet and prevent depression relapse, also keeping antidepressant addiction at bay.

Recovering from and fighting against antidepressant addiction is very difficult and nearly impossible to be done on your own. Consider benefitting from the services provided by rehabilitation centers during this challenging time. The Scottsdale Recovery Center should be a top consideration if you or someone you know is struggling with antidepressant addiction. From helping with physical and psychological addiction through detoxification, to offering helpful therapy and counseling sessions, Scottsdale Recovery Center aims to make your rehab journey as beneficial of an experience as possible.

Antidepressant Effects And Abuse

Antidepressant Withdrawals and Addiction – Prozac Withdrawals – Effexor Withdrawals

Antidepressants are among the most prescribed medications in the United States. Many doctors prescribe SSRI and SNRI Antidepressants as a safer alternative to Benzodiazepines. Doctors consider Antidepressants safer because the drugs have less potential for abuse. Despite this, some people abuse Antidepressant medications.

A small but growing literature on the misuse and abuse of Antidepressants consists largely of case reports. The most commonly reported motivation for abuse is to achieve a psychostimulant-like effect.

– Columbia University Department of Psychiatry, Abuse and Misuse of Antidepressants, 2014

Antidepressants dont have the euphoric effects other drugs have. In other words, Antidepressants cant get the user high. That doesnt stop some people from trying, though. Some people think since Antidepressants improve mood that high doses must induce euphoria, but that is not how the drugs work.

Antidepressants work over time, accumulating in the brain. They dont produce immediate effects. It can take over a month before an Antidepressant starts working.

I start to get the feeling that something is really wrong. Like all the drugs put together the ithium, the Prozac, the esipramine, and Desyrel that I take to sleep at night can no longer combat whatever it is that was wrong with me in the first place.

– Author Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation, 1994

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