The Buzz: Addicted to Antidepressants?

Recently, a discussion has sparked on ScienceBlogs over how the word "addiction," could be used to describe some substances that aren't necessarily harmful such as antidepressants. Scicurious from Neurotopia points out that if a substance changes one's physical self, there will be physical effects if that drug is discontinued—a property of addiction. Likewise, PalMD from Denialism Blog suspects the negative nature of the word "addiction" may make drug companies hesitant to describe their products as such, even though it's accurate.

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I was prescribed antidepressants to cope with perimenopause symptoms and migraines. If I missed one day's dose, I would feel out of sorts. Two days missed: panicky, cold sweats & the shakes.

After several years on the drug (Effexor XR), I decided to see what my base line was without it. Under my doctor's supervision, I gradually reduced the dosing over a period of several months.

Addictive? Definitely.

It's a tough thing to put some drugs on one side of the "addiction" line and some on the other side. Are insulin-dependent diabetics addicted to insulin?

Great post! I agree with it, improper or wrong dosage intake of medication has a bad effect. This is a very informative article, i have learned a lot. Thank you for sharing your ideas on us. Hope to hear from you soon. Cheers.

What you've described is physiological dependence; however, the hallmark of addiction is psychological dependence - the compulsion to engage in a behavior to the exclusion of other formerly pleasurable activities, even when the behavior actually becomes self-injurious.

Certainly, antidepressants may lead to some withdrawal symptoms, but they are a far cry from being "addictive" in the medically accepted sense of the word.

I am currently writing a book caled 'Don't Call the Doctor'. I have already written and sold my autobiography, 'I DID TELL, I DID..' to Harper Collins for publication in November. My reasons for writing are to inspire other people to break away from any kind of addiciton, dependency whatever you like to call it. My story is about a childhood without love and filled with horrific sexual abuse and fear. Because of what was happening to me I was given what I understood to be headache pills by my GP at the age of 15. As I began to feel more able to cope with life, I kept getting these on repeat prescriptions. It is a long story but I found myself physiologically and psychologically dependent for 25 years. My first book is about the whole of my life and the second about how my judgement was impaired whilst on these drugs and the mistakes I made because of that. I did stop, with no help medically but with help from a TV programme and it's literature. I got my life back on track and retrained as a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist. I have a successful Private Practice in South Wales, am happilly married and life is good. I am no linger a vicitm but a survivor.Who ever you are out there, whatever your past, you can escape it and move on. Get the help and support you need and go for it!
Carol Ann

By Carol Ann Wright (not verified) on 13 May 2009 #permalink