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Can You Become Addicted to Antidepressants?

can you become addicted to antidepressants

Antidepressants have become an essential part of mental health treatments for people struggling with some form of related depressive disorder. However, some risks could from using antidepressants. With concerns about prescription drug abuse on the rise, it is only natural to question, “can you become addicted to antidepressants?”

Why Do People Take Antidepressants?

Antidepressants are prescription medications that are taken to help reduce the symptoms of various mental health disorders. Antidepressants help alter and adjust chemical imbalances in the brain. These changes often bring about an improvement in mood and behaviors. 

They are used as part of treatment plans for conditions such as panic attacks, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, depression, etc. Antidepressants are also prescribed to treat various medical conditions, such as:

  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder)
  • Smoking Cessation Aid
  • Chronic Pain

How Common Is Antidepressant Usage?

Antidepressants are one of the most prescribed medications for treating mental health disorders and various medical conditions. In 2020, the use of antidepressants in adults rose by 20% over 2019. This increase largely contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and how it impacted the mental health of many adults. 

In children, teens, and young adults under 25, the number of antidepressant prescriptions rose by 50% in 2020 over 2021. The two most widely prescribed antidepressants were Prozac and Zoloft. Prozac is used to help treat OCD and moderate to severe depression. Zoloft is prescribed for people with moderate to severe depression. 

What Are the Most Prescribed Antidepressants?

In recent years, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have become the most prescribed antidepressants. SSRIs help increase the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical that helps improve sleeping patterns, increases energy levels, and improves moods.

Some of the more common SSRI drugs include these brand names and their generic equivalent:

  • Paxil – Paroxetine
  • Zoloft – Sertraline
  • Celexa – Citalopram
  • Prozac – Fluoxetine
  • Luvox – Fluvoxamine

Can You Become Addicted to Antidepressants?

There is not a simple yes or no answer to whether someone taking antidepressants can develop an addiction to them. One of the major underlying factors is if the person taking the antidepressants has developed a tolerance to them. 

Tolerance is a common theme in addiction. It is where the addict has to use more and more of the substance to achieve the desired effects. For example, a drug abuser will need to use higher doses of the drug to produce the sensations the drug creates.

Tolerance occurs when the person taking the substance is no longer affected by it at its current dosage level. With antidepressants, taking more of them will not change their effects. So, you will not experience different feelings than you do when taking the prescribed dosage, even if you have developed tolerance. 

Furthermore, people who have taken antidepressants for an extended period can experience withdrawal symptoms if they are not gradually weaned from the drugs. Even then, discontinuing antidepressants for most people is never associated with an addiction for the following reasons:

  • Discontinuing the use of antidepressants will not cause the person to experience drug cravings.
  • People taking antidepressants do not have a compulsion to use the drug. 
  • People taking antidepressants rarely experience relapse after discontinuing antidepressant usage. 
  • Taking antidepressants prescribed by your healthcare provider does not negatively impact your finances, ability to work and function, and your overall health and well-being. 

So, for most people, taking antidepressants will not lead to addiction. However, there are exceptions. For example, when there is a family history of substance abuse disorder, a person could become addicted to antidepressants.

Additionally, there can be risks of psychological addiction. This type of addiction is where a person believes they cannot discontinue using antidepressants because they would not be able to function. They believe they will experience painful withdrawal symptoms and not be able to function if they discontinue their antidepressant usage. 

When compared to other mood-altering prescriptions, antidepressants do not have dangerous or painful withdrawal symptoms like opiods. Yet, people with a psychological addiction to antidepressants can experience withdrawal syndrome – where they mentally perceive and experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms.. 

Antidepressant Treatment in Dallas for Men

There can be many reasons why someone would need to discontinue antidepressant usage. They may need to switch medications, or they may dislike the side effects they experience. It is crucial people are gradually weaned off of them to allow their brain’s chemistry time to readjust to avoid withdrawal symptoms and withdrawal syndrome. 

Antidepressants do not typically lead to addiction. Yet, men who have a family history of substance abuse disorders could develop an addiction to antidepressants. If you have asked yourself “can you become addicted to antidepressants?” it is important to ensure that you are taking your antidepressants appropriately. Additionally, men who have developed a psychological addiction to antidepressants could require addiction treatment as well. If you have asked yourself “can you become addicted to antidepressants?” it is important to ensure that you are taking your antidepressants appropriately.

For men struggling with antidepressant addiction, help is available at Casa Colina. Our team is committed to equipping men and their families with the tools needed to overcome antidepressant addiction and achieve a lifetime of freedom by living sober. 

Please feel free to contact us for help with your antidepressant addiction or other substance abuse disorders today!

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