When you take a look at the numbers, antidepressant prescriptions continue to rise each year. While the root of depression is seldom looked at, doctors seemingly take the easy route and prescribe medication to help overcome the problem. Unfortunately, but not shockingly, SSRI drug addiction is on the rise.
The American Psychological Association took an in-depth look at the problem, and they found that users are most likely to be women, older adults, and non-Hispanic whites. A staggering 64 percent increase in those using antidepressants took place between 1999 and 2014. In 1999, only 7.7 percent of the population used medication.
Antidepressant medication changes our chemical makeup in the brain and treats mood disorders. Those who abuse these substances are usually struggling with an addiction to other drugs as well. While antidepressants are not addictive in the same way alcohol and heroin are, people still manage to abuse them. Those abusing the drugs will not experience euphoria or exhibit addictive behaviors.
Antidepressant dependence may still form in those who never needed the medication in the first place. Some of those who use them were incorrectly diagnosed with depression and given the drugs. Unfortunately, doctors misdiagnose an estimated two-thirds of patients with depression and prescribe the medications even when it’s unnecessary.
Antidepressant Dependence Versus Addiction
Antidepressant dependence is a state caused by regular use of a medication where withdrawal symptoms will occur during abrupt discontinuation of use or a rapid reduction. This is a common reaction for individuals who used the drug for prolonged periods.
Antidepressant addiction is a neurobiological disease with psychosocial, genetic, and environmental factors that influence its development. It is characterized by behaviors of impaired control over drug use, continued use despite adverse consequences, and cravings. Fortunately, drug addiction is treatable with the right help.
Are SSRI Drugs Addictive?
Doctors don’t consider SSRI drugs to be addictive in the traditional sense. Still, they can cause physical dependence, which is evident by the withdrawal symptoms people face when they stop or slow down use. Individuals who stop using antidepressants will experience hand tremors, nausea, and severe depression.
SSRI drugs do not provide a euphoric rush, and because the reward isn’t big enough, very few will give up their daily responsibilities to find more. You will not experience cravings or exhibit adverse behavior to get more.
In some cases, however, people will try to abuse antidepressants. Wellbutrin is a drug that has been known to be crushed up and snorted but still will not cause addiction. It is usually done as a result of no other substances becoming available and will give the user a placebo effect when they crave their drug of choice.
Although prescriptions are on the rise, and there have been more reports of abuse, there is no precise information that backs the claim of SSRI drug addiction. If you are having problems stopping SSRI drugs, you must reach out for help today. Only a doctor can dictate your next move, but getting help now can help change your life forever.