If you stop to take a look at the numbers with regards to antidepressant prescriptions, it’s a figure that continues to rise each year. We may question if our population is getting more depressed, or if it has to do with overprescribing. Either way, instead of examining the core of the issue, doctors continue to prescribe in record numbers rather than solve the problem. Something that is unfortunate but shouldn’t come as much of a shock is the many reports of SSRI addiction.
A study released by the American Psychological Association examined these issues in-depth. The answers they found were startling – users of these medications tend to be women, non-Hispanic whites, and older adults. A shocking 64 percent increase in those consuming antidepressants took place between 1999 and 2014. To put that number into perspective, only 7.7 percent of the total population used these medications in 1999.
The intention of antidepressant medication is to change our chemical makeup in the brain and help reduce the symptoms of mood disorders. Individuals who abuse a substance like SSRI medications are typically struggling with an addiction to other drugs as well. Although antidepressants are not addictive in the conventional sense, people could still abuse them. Abusing SSRI medication will not cause euphoria or addictive behaviors.
Although the drugs are not considered addictive, dependence is possible and could form in those who never needed the medication to start. Some individuals who use the drugs were not appropriately diagnosed with depression and given the medication anyway. Unfortunately, this is quite common, and doctors have been known to misdiagnose an estimated two-thirds of their patients with depression and use medication when it’s not necessary.
Antidepressant Dependence Versus Addiction
Antidepressant dependence is a state caused by consistent use of your medicine where withdrawal symptoms might occur during abrupt discontinuation of use or rapidly reducing a dose.
It’s a widespread reaction for those who use any type of drug or medicine for prolonged periods.
Antidepressant addiction, however, is viewed as a neurobiological disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors that will influence the development.
It is seen as behaviors that impair your control over drug consumption, continuing to use despite consequences and cravings. On a lighter note, however, drug addiction can be treated with the right care.
Are SSRI Drugs Addictive?
Doctors don’t see SSRI drugs to be addictive, but still, they may cause dependence, which is plausible due to the withdrawal symptoms you may face when ceasing use. If you stop taking antidepressant medication and experience nausea, hand tremors, or severe depression, your body is likely dependent on the substance.
In some cases, those predisposed to addiction may try to abuse antidepressants in the hope of experiencing a rush. Wellbutrin is a drug that has a history of being crushed up and snorted, but will not cause addiction. While prescriptions are on the rise, no information supports if SSRI drugs are addictive. If you feel that you are experiencing any problems with medication your doctor has prescribed to you, call to discuss options immediately.