Many people use prescription medication on a daily basis. However, far fewer people know about whether or not these drugs are addictive. Nowadays, more folks wondering – can you get addicted to antidepressants?
The reality is that anything can be addictive if it becomes a crutch. Considering that many people use antidepressants as a crutch, it may be possible to get addicted. However, this still depends on what type of antidepressant you’re using and what other steps you’re taking for your depression.
Can You Get Addicted to Antidepressants?
Despite the fact that antidepressants are considered non-addictive drugs, that doesn’t stop some people from abusing and misusing them.
In this sense, however, non-addictive tends to refer more to abuse than dependence. Since antidepressants don’t cause euphoria or cravings like other drugs, most people find that they are less likely to abuse them.
However, that doesn’t mean antidepressants don’t cause dependence.
Dependence & Addiction
Dependence can come in two forms: psychological and physical.
Most people who use antidepressants are dependent in one way. Others may be dependent in both ways.
- Physical dependence occurs when the body becomes accustomed to a substance. Your body stops working as hard to fulfill the functions that the drug fulfills. When you stop using the drug, your body falls into a state of deficit, known as withdrawal.
- Psychological dependence occurs when you believe that you need a drug in order to function a certain way. Most people who use antidepressants believe that they can’t function without them. This is a limiting belief. The antidepressants may help, but they are not the only solution. They should be acknowledged as a crutch, an aid, while you continue to work on your depression.
Some antidepressants are known to cause serious withdrawal symptoms. Despite this, most doctors continue to claim that antidepressants are not addictive.
If you suddenly stop taking your antidepressants, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. This indicates that you are physically dependent on your medicine. Common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Sudden mood changes
- Changes in weight
- “Brain zaps,” a feeling of an electrical charge pulsing through the brain
Antidepressants as Nonaddictive Drugs
The reason that antidepressants are nonaddictive is because of how they affect people. Or, rather, how they don’t affect people. Antidepressants don’t cause many of the issues associated with regular drug use, such as:
- Addictive behavior such as stealing, lying, or cheating
- Giving up responsibilities or personal hygiene for the drug
- The loss of jobs or school
As a result, antidepressants are considered nonaddictive. Regardless, you should be aware of physical dependence. Withdrawal symptoms are no joke and can cause significant issues if you suddenly stop using your medicine.
Antidepressants may not cause addictive behavior in the traditional sense, but that doesn’t mean they’re not addictive. Antidepressants cause both physical and psychological dependency.
If you are planning on switching antidepressants, consider using a cross tapering chart (with your doctor’s advice) to make things smoother. Or, if you want to give up antidepressants entirely, consider joining an online group like Surviving Antidepressants.