Are Anti-Depressants Addictive?

A man looking worried.

Are anti-depressants addictive? No, they are not addictive in the sense that drugs such as heroin or alcohol are. People who abuse antidepressants don’t have the same cravings that those other substances produce. They don’t generally have addictive behaviors, euphoria or the same negative consequences of other drugs either.

People can still become physically dependent on antidepressants however. Dependence on antidepressants takes the form of a need to take them or else experience some withdrawal-like effects. Anyone prescribed an antidepressant should always take it exactly as prescribed. If you want to stop taking an anti-depressant for any reason, you must talk to your doctor first.

Antidepressant Dependence or Addiction

What is antidepressant dependence? Are anti-depressants addictive?

Dependence on antidepressants happens when someone takes the medication regularly. When they stop taking these medications, they may go through anti-depressant withdrawal if they suddenly stop.

While antidepressants aren’t addictive in the conventional sense, it is possible to misuse them. There are many environmental, psychosocial and genetic causes for this type of behavior.

 Some symptoms of antidepressant misuse include:

  • No control over your use of these medications
  • Taking antidepressants in a way contrary to prescription
  • Compulsive use of antidepressants
  • Using antidepressants you do not have a prescription for

If you experience more than one of these symptoms, you are probably misusing antidepressants. If you believe you are dependent on these medications, you should speak to a medical professional about them.

Defining Addiction to Antidepressants

Are anti-depressants addictive in the first place? Even though people can’t become addicted to these medications like they could with drugs such as heroin, they can still have a dependence or pattern of misuse.

Someone can have an addiction in the sense that they experience withdrawal symptoms after not using a specific substance or can’t stop using even when they try. If you try to reduce your use of these medications, but experience nausea, stomachaches, or other symptoms, you may have a dependence upon them. Again, you should never cease taking an antidepressant without speaking to your doctor.

Many people think they don’t have an addiction to antidepressants because they don’t feel euphoria. Even though you don’t get a dopamine rush when using a medication, that doesn’t mean your body isn’t dependent upon it.

Some people abuse antidepressants. Some cases even state that people snort these medications. People may do this when they want another drug but can’t get it.

The good news is that most people who take antidepressants benefit from them. They have a better life because of taking these medications. If you have a prescription for antidepressants but feel your body is too reliant on them, talk to your doctor about it. You should never change your medication regimen without a doctor’s advice and counsel.

Antidepressant Overdose Signs

Most of the time, antidepressants are safe. However, some people will overdose on antidepressants. Some of the overdose signs for these medications include:

  • Dizziness
  • Shaking
  • Fainting
  • Confusion
  • Coordination issues
  • Convulsions
  • Irregular heartbeat

If you see someone with these overdose signs, make sure you get them immediate medical attention. Calling 9-1-1 during these situations would be best.

Drug Combinations

There are millions of people who use antidepressants. Most of the time, people take these medications to treat depression. However, there are some other reasons why doctors may prescribe antidepressants, as well.

The problem is that many people who are taking antidepressants use other substances at the same time. One of the common substances people take with these medications is alcohol.

Medical professionals recommend that people who are taking antidepressants don’t drink alcohol. If you already have an addiction to any other drug, you may be more likely to develop an addiction to antidepressants.

Some severe mental and physical health issues that occur when combining antidepressants and other drugs include:

  • Strong sedation
  • Worse anxiety and depression
  • Extremely high blood pressure
  • Worse coordination issues
  • Unconscious
  • Overdose

Some people don’t want to wait to let antidepressants work. Most doctors will tell you it takes 4 to 6 weeks to receive full effects from these medications. It is essential only to take the dose your doctor prescribes. If you are struggling with severe depression and your medication isn’t working yet, talk to your doctor. There may be other treatments that can help in the meantime.

Get Help with Antidepressant Addiction or Dependence

There are millions of people who struggle with depression. Fortunately, antidepressants can help people to manage depression. However, there is also a chance that you will become reliant on antidepressants. If you try to stop taking them, you might experience withdrawal symptoms. If you use antidepressants with alcohol or other drugs, you could experience other complications or physical health problems. You should always be honest with your prescribing physician about any other substances you are using, legal or otherwise.

We hope we have effectively answered the question ‘Are anti-depressants addictive’ and given you some useful information. If you believe you have a problem with drugs or alcohol or someone you love does, we are here. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Recovery in Tune today. We can help treat your addiction and your depression and have you living a better life.

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