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Antidepressant Addiction?

Discussion in 'Prescription Drugs' started by blur92, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. blur92

    blur92 Senior Contributor

    Does antidepressant addiction occur? I don't understand how it would because it does not necessarily act on dopamine, which is the chemical that causes reward seeking behavior; it is a main reason anything feels good. Becoming addicted to an antidepressant has never been discussed or altogether mentioned in my psychology courses. However, I have heard a few people say they are or were addicted.
  2. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    It's not that you become addicted to them per se, it's just that the brain gets used to them. When you stop taking them, your brain realizes that something is missing. It then begins to adjust back but some people do experience shakes, increased anxiety or flu-like symptoms whilst this is happening. So it's not a craving as such, more like the brain saying "What's going on?".

    This is why doctors recommend that you stop taking then gradually, to let the brain adjust.
    blur92 likes this.
  3. blur92

    blur92 Senior Contributor

    I don't think that can be classified as an addiction. Addictions consist of reward seeking behavior and cravings. A person becomes preoccupied and consumed with a certain substance because they gain a good feeling from it.
  4. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    Spot on, blur92, there is no immediate "reward" in taking antidepressants and I do think that a lot of the talk of them being addictive is just scaremongering.
    blur92 likes this.
  5. hellonamesdana

    hellonamesdana Senior Contributor

    I know that it's becoming a lot more popular to buy antidepressants off the streets from a dealer when you're unable to get some prescribed from a doctor. I don't really know why though. It's not like they're an instant solution.
  6. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    Antidepressants are no different from painkillers. They numb your nerves and give you that temporary but unnatural feeling of relief. Some antidepressants induce sleep and have a melatonin-like effect. People addicted to them are obviously trying to run away from the "psychological" baggage. Because of the temporary relief antidepressants offer, escapist type of people (those who don't want to deal with pain or "depression") can't seem to get enough of them.
  7. Rowe992

    Rowe992 Senior Contributor

    I have heard about cases where people are addicted to antidepressants. Like any other drug, when they body is made to believe that it is needed for the proper functioning of the body then the brain is made to believe that such drug is necessary in the body and without it then the person feels unwell.
  8. Sparkster

    Sparkster Community Champion

    Yes, it absolutely does occur and this is something which is heavily acknowledged in the UK. Anti-depressants work by altering the chemical levels in your brain. Some of them may act on dopamine but the majority of them are seretonin reinhibitors. You might not feel a dependence on antidepressants but stopping taking them suddenly, if you are on a higher dose than you start with, can potentially be extremely dangerous and can cause permanent damage - they are physically addictive. You have to come off them by decreasing the dose gradually.
  9. blur92

    blur92 Senior Contributor

    I knew that you have to be slowly weaned off of them for the most part. However, I did not think it entirely fit the checklist of having an addiction. There needs to be compulsive engagement with rewarding stimuli. Anti-depressants do not give the same rush as other substances or altogether possibly addicting things (food, video games, etc). I guess the only rewarding stimuli about it is deflecting withdrawal symptoms after having been on the medication for awhile.
  10. Sparkster

    Sparkster Community Champion

    So you're really talking about a psychological addiction, rather than a physical one. I have known people to take anti-depressants instead when they couldn't get Ecstasy but they would drink with them aswell in order to get a buzz. Whether they got addicted to them that way or not I don't know.
  11. amethyst

    amethyst Community Champion

    I think that you can become addicted to anything that makes you feel better or numbs your pain. Depression to me is a pain as real as a headache. So, taking medication or substances that will alleviate that pain can obviously lead to addiction.
  12. oleskool

    oleskool Member

    I have only taken one prescribed drug for depression, the results scared me so much I threw the pills away. I decided I would have to find another way to deal with my situation.
  13. Determined2014

    Determined2014 Senior Contributor

    Exactly, it is not an addiction, the brain gets used to the substance, then it starts wondering what is happening, I was on antidepressants before but, I never got so used to them, but despite the fact of not being too used to them, I had to get off them gradually and I had no problem at all.
  14. Sparkster

    Sparkster Community Champion

    It's not quite simple as just the brain getting used to them - they actually cause physical chemical changes inside the brain by boosting levels of Serotonin. This is a physical change caused by the medication and is not a result of belief or the mind getting used to them. When you stop taking them, it's not that the brain starts wondering what's happening - it's that the Serotonin levels are no longer being kept topped up by the medication and is therefore the result of a chemical imbalance which can, potentially, be extremely dangerous (i.e. it's a physical addiction).
  15. pwarbi

    pwarbi Community Champion

    Of course people get adicted to anti depressants. Basically the drug changes the chemicals in the brain making you feel happier. If you stop taking them then you lose the buzz and get withdrawal symptoms so obviously your body wants the happy feeling back.
    That's how I got it explained to me in very simple term's.