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Antidepressant Addiction

This entry was posted in Addiction on by .
Medically Reviewed Fact Checked

Last Updated on August 18, 2021 by Carol Gillette

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

At Alternative to Meds Center, we know there are effective holistic methods available to overcome antidepressant addiction and avoid a lifetime of antidepressant side effects. Bio-adaptation to antidepressants may develop dependence, causing challenging withdrawal side effects to occur when these drugs are discontinued.
Alternative to Meds Center has created unique methods of antidepressant addiction help that efficiently eliminate withdrawal symptoms and address the underlying problems that initially led to antidepressant dependence. Do you wish to see someone that you truly love, or see you, yourself, start living life in ways you know are within reach?

Do Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms and Cravings Concern You?

antidepressant addiction helpThe need for antidepressant addiction treatment is on the rise. An article published in the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing reported a surprising 55% of 1,829 persons surveyed reported withdrawal effects when attempting to stop taking their antidepressant medications.1 Yet, the same 1,829 persons disclosed that only 1% of them were ever told about dependence and withdrawals after antidepressant use. Every antidepressant label has been required by the FDA to place “black box” warnings for suicide and other adverse effects.2-5 The common adverse effects that these drugs potentially induce can be quite alarming, whether it is you or a loved one who has been prescribed them. Perhaps you share these concerns and are now motivated to do your own research. We hope this and other articles on our site can help provide the information you are looking for.

These drugs take the depression away but are only a temporary fix until the drug wears off. No one wants to feel depressed — but perhaps you have never been given adequate help on how to address depression without drugs. Once a person has been taking a drug for depression and their depression fades away, this makes a person happy and not wanting to be without these drugs. Antidepressants are advertised almost like a legal version of opium. These pills are nicknamed “happy pills” in modern literature and media, and have been since the first antidepressants came to market, back in the 1950s.10 Antidepressant drug advertising presents the hope of making depression disappear forever! Who would not want that? However, such a promise may be one of those “too good to be true” promises we often hear in life, and we end up disappointed when we find out it was a lie. Prescription drugs do not cure depression, but they lessen the ability to feel depressive symptoms while they are in your system. But if you stop taking them you are right back where you started. Sometimes the condition has now worsened because of drug-induced complications and lingering withdrawals. Since nothing was actually cured or changed, and nothing in your “map of life” was re-drawn, why would a person feel any different?

Alternative to Meds Center addresses addiction and withdrawal by addressing the underlying reasons that resulted in taking antidepressants. It was a person’s original symptoms that lead to antidepressant addiction or dependence. There are other ways to treat depression that are sustainable for the long haul. You don’t have to decide between depression and being medicated. We have the therapeutic roadmap out and can teach you the skills you need for continued natural mental health without relying on prescription medication.

Are Antidepressants Addictive?

They can be.1,6,7,8 Some form of rehabilitation is often needed for addiction to or dependence on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors ( SSRIs ) or selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) or other versions of antidepressant drugs. These dependencies are real addictions, but many people do not recognize that they are addicted to antidepressants because a medical health care professional prescribed them, or they were possibly obtained from a friend or family member. People can develop the same physical ( and mental ) dependency upon antidepressants as a person would from using heroin or other drugs commonly associated with addiction. The antidepressant addiction problem is underreported but it is a growing concern among health professionals. A clinical paper published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics declared prescription drug abuse a national epidemic as far back as 2010.9 Professional antidepressant addiction help and alternative mental health therapies are extremely useful when trying to end addiction to antidepressants in a safe and health-restorative way.

Withdrawal Adverse Effects and Cravings Can Be Effectively Eliminated

Many people became unwittingly dependent upon a depression medication without ever wanting to be. Some feel that they desperately need and want to take antidepression drugs to make themselves happy. They may even abuse their drugs and take more than prescribed to feel good, or at least normal enough to function. Antidepressant abuse can cause a barrage of problems including SSRI or SNRI addiction as well as antidepressant withdrawal. Physical dependence and addiction to these drugs are common and can signal the need to discontinue taking them. However, antidepressant medication withdrawal is not recommended without professional antidepressant addiction recovery treatment. Many people are misinformed or in fact uninformed about the potentials of antidepressant addiction, as we saw in the New Zealand nurses’ report mentioned above.

Alternative to Meds Center offers helpful treatment that is designed to effectively eliminate cravings and other adverse effects connected with antidepressant medications safely, and pleasantly. The use of alternatives to antidepressants is extremely useful in softening the withdrawals that otherwise can bar the road to recovery and freedom. Please view our services page for examples of therapies and methods of treatment available to our clients at the center.

Antidepressants Are NOT the Only Option for Depression

Most of the time, a person is given an antidepressant before there has been any real effort into investigating why the person is depressed. There may have been no exploring alternatives to psychiatric (drugging) approaches. There are known causes of depressed mood and other symptoms that antidepressants are prescribed to treat, and none of these could be classified as a deficiency of prescription medication. Please remember, antidepressants temporarily numb the depression and do not cure the source.

No drug can correct an actual deficiency in hormones or neurotransmitters. But supplementation and a corrected diet rich in the required raw materials for neurotransmitter regeneration certainly can.13,14 Antidepressants cannot remove toxic elements from chemical exposures, food additives, and the like, that have accumulated in the body but deep cleansing can.12 A drug cannot change toxic or unsatisfactory relationships or other stressors in your life, but counseling therapy can.11

antidepressant addiction treatmentsWith a thorough assessment of these and other factors, including lab testing, we can help discover and then correct any underlying issues that are contributing reasons for why a person became addicted to antidepressants.

For many persons, antidepressant medications are prescribed during an emotionally traumatic time. Some number of years can go by, and they are still on the medication. They may still be suffering from the underlying trauma, because drugs numb those deep injuries and make them less accessible in psychological therapy. Yet they will suffer antidepressant withdrawal symptoms if they attempt to come off of the drug. This can feel like a desperate trap that is impossible to escape.

At Alternative to Meds Center’s treatment facility, we discover the medical, psychological, and environmental causes of why an individual may be depressed or suffering from other symptoms. Our drug rehab program includes lab testing to identify these causes, provides an alternative to psychiatry drug-based approaches, as well as orthomolecular medicine, natural substances to stabilize and support the neurochemistry. A fundamental part of recovery involves cleansing of the body to remove environmentally accumulated neurotoxins, and these holistic therapies are instrumental in safe and tolerable medication withdrawal techniques. The center also provides peer support, massage therapies, correction of diet, supplementation, personal exercise training, CBT and other forms of counseling, yoga, Qi Gong, Reiki, Equine therapy, nebulized glutathione treatments, IV + NAD treatments, and many, many more alternative support therapies to ensure comfortable and effective antidepressant addiction treatment.

Genuinely Efficient Help for Addictive Biochemistry

holistic drug rehab sedona azAt Alternative to Meds Center, we find success every day. Every week, we have graduation parties to celebrate the success of participants who were previously addicted to antidepressants or other substances. Graduation attendees include friends and family, staff, and other residents. Mind-blowing stories are told at graduations, sometimes recounting many years of suffering, with remarkable clarity. Seeing this inspires us, knowing that the participant has the tools to continue a healthy lifestyle and become an encouragement to others. You are invited to call us at the number listed on this page and we can have a meaningful conversation. You are invited to find out about the kind of help that is available. The scientific approach we employ has helped thousands beat antidepressant addiction and continue life without lingering problems.

1. Read J, Cartwright C, Gibson K. How many of 1829 antidepressant users report withdrawal effects or addiction? Int J Ment Health Nurs. 2018 Dec;27(6):1805-1815. doi: 10.1111/inm.12488. Epub 2018 Jun 5. PMID: 29873165. [cited 2021 Aug 18]

2. FDA label Cymbalta (duloxetine hydrochloride capsules) published 2004 [online] [cited 2021 Aug 18]

3. FDA label Pristiq (desvenlafaxine tablets} published 2008 [cited 2021 Aug 18]

4. FDA label Celexa (citalopram hydrobromide)  published 1998 [online] [cited 2021 Aug 18]

5. FDA label Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride tablets, oral solution) published 1991 [online] [cited 2021 Aug 18]

6. Haddad P. Do antidepressants have any potential to cause addiction? J Psychopharmacol. 1999;13(3):300-7. doi: 10.1177/026988119901300321. PMID: 10512092.[cited 2021 Aug 18]

7. Kisa C, Bulbul DO, Aydemir C, Goka E. Is it possible to be dependent to Tianeptine, an antidepressant? A case report. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Apr 13;31(3):776-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2007.01.002. Epub 2007 Jan 16. PMID: 17270334.[cited 2021 Aug 18]

8. Evans EA, Sullivan MA. Abuse and misuse of antidepressants. Subst Abuse Rehabil. 2014;5:107-120. Published 2014 Aug 14. doi:10.2147/SAR.S37917 [cited 2021 Aug 18]

9. Hernandez SH, Nelson LS. Prescription drug abuse: insight into the epidemic. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Sep;88(3):307-17. doi: 10.1038/clpt.2010.154. Epub 2010 Aug 4. PMID: 20686478.

10. Kocsis JH. Happy pills in America: From Miltown to ProzacJ Clin Invest. 2009;119(7):1744. doi:10.1172/JCI39766 [cited 2021 Aug 18]

11. Gautam M, Tripathi A, Deshmukh D, Gaur M. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression. Indian J Psychiatry. 2020;62(Suppl 2):S223-S229. doi:10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_772_19 [cited 2021 Aug 18]

12. Mason LH, Mathews MJ, Han DY. Neuropsychiatric symptom assessments in toxic exposure. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2013 Jun;36(2):201-8. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2013.02.001. Epub 2013 Apr 15. PMID: 23688687.[cited 2021 Aug 18]

13. Ljungberg T, Bondza E, Lethin C. Evidence of the Importance of Dietary Habits Regarding Depressive Symptoms and DepressionInt J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(5):1616. Published 2020 Mar 2. doi:10.3390/ijerph17051616 [cited 2021 Aug 18]

14. Martínez-Cengotitabengoa M, González-Pinto A. Nutritional supplements in depressive disorders. Actas Esp Psiquiatr. 2017 Sep;45(Supplement):8-15. Epub 2017 Sep 1. PMID: 29171639.[cited 2021 Aug 18]

Originally Published Nov 4, 2019 by Lyle Murphy ATMC Founder

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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