Mental illness affects millions of people from all walks of life. In the United States, one in four adults experiences mental illness in any given year.1 Taking medication for depression is common, with approximately one in ten people over the age of 12 taking some sort of antidepressant medication.2 Recovering from an addiction to antidepressants can be difficult when they are so widely prescribed and readily available in our society.
The first antidepressants were developed in the 1950s and they worked by increasing serotonin in the brain. However, these early antidepressants produced negative side effects in the user, leading to the development of a new class of antidepressant drugs called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) in the 1980s.2 Today, SSRIs are used to treat anxiety, depression, mental disorders, and other psychiatric conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder. SSRIs are common in medicine cabinets, and many addicted individuals take pills from friends and family members. Due to the abundance of SSRIs and the ease with which one can require them, many people have trouble giving them up once they have started abusing them.
Although antidepressants are generally not considered addictive, people have difficulty letting them go.3 The feelings they provide can easily become just as addictive as any other feel-good substance, and many people on the road to recovery report experiencing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking them. If you or a loved one has become addicted to SSRIs, call us at 1-888-319-2606 for information on SSRI addiction and recovery centers.
Risks Associated With Antidepressants
SSRIs affect the brain's levels of serotonin, a chemical that plays a role in mood regulation, pain, sleep, digestion, mental clarity and other functions. Withdrawal side effects include, but are not limited to, the following:4
- Insomnia or sleep disorder.
- Flu-like symptoms.
- Blurred vision.
- Sensations of the skin being pricked.
- Visual and auditory hallucinations.
- Vivid dreams.
- Premature ejaculation.
"The majority of people who overdose on antidepressants have recently attempted to stop taking them and are in the process of recovering at home." These symptoms have been experienced by those withdrawing from the drug, however the most common symptoms that users experience are dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and tiredness.5 6 These side effects peak between within the first four days after the last use of the drug and side effects can last anywhere from a few hours up to 6 weeks. Other factors such as how long an individual abused SSRIs and the severity of the addiction will affect withdrawal symtoms as well. In order to wean the body from the drug, the amount of SSRIs used is gradually tapered over time, and usually under the supervision of a medical professional given the serious withdrawal side effects. Even with tapering, withdrawal symptoms can still occur.4
Choosing a Recovery Center
When someone overdoses on antidepressants, the hospital may refer the person to an antidepressants overdose recovery center. Usually, the person has two options concerning treatment: outpatient or inpatient. Outpatient centers do not require you to stay at the facilities. On the other hand, inpatient centers require individuals to live in the center throughout the duration of treatment. Because most drug overdoses happen when a person attempts to relieve withdrawal symptoms at home and, since antidepressants are so readily available, inpatient centers are always recommended for those who have recently suffered an antidepressant overdose. When choosing a recovery center, you may want to find one that offers adjunct therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
When a person chooses an inpatient recovery center, a team of trained detox professionals is readily available to provide symptom relief during the withdrawal process. Choosing a quality inpatient recovery center ensures that you or your loved one will receive compassionate and expert care. If there are concerns about continuing work during a stay at an inpatient recovery center, multiple programs are available for those who need to stay in communication with their office.
Call us at 1-888-319-2606 for further assistance as you search for the right inpatient antidepressant recovery center. Our addiction recovery hotlines are always available even if you are just looking for someone to talk to about antidepressant addiction and the best way to ensure a full recovery.
. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Mental Illness Facts and Numbers (March 2013). Retrieved March 14, 2016 from http://www2.nami.org/factsheets/mentalillness_factsheet.pdf
. Molero, Y., Lichtenstein, P., Zetterqvist, J., Gumpert, C. H., & Fazel, S. (2015). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and violent crime: a cohort study. PLoS Med, 12(9), e1001875.
. Reid, I. C. (2013). Are antidepressants overprescribed? No. BMJ, 346, f190.
. Chouinard, G., & Chouinard, V. A. (2015). New classification of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor withdrawal. Psychotherapy and psychosomatics,84(2), 63-71.
. Black K, Shea C, Dursun S, Kutcher S. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor discontinuation syndrome: proposed diagnostic criteria. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2000;25:255-261.
. Coupland N, Bell CJ, Potokar JP. Serotonin reuptake inhibitor withdrawal. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1996;16:356-362.