Treatment for depression and other anxiety disorders frequently calls for a prescription for antidepressants. However, using antidepressants is a double-edged sword. While it may reduce symptoms of depression and ultimately get rid of it, antidepressant use over a long period can cause the body to depend on it for stabilization. As such, people who have used antidepressants often have averse reaction to withdrawal or reduced dosages. The unpleasant symptoms triggered by reduced dosages or discontinuation like dizziness, nausea, insomnia, irritability, and body pains, among others are enough to make people abuse their antidepressant intake.
Effects of Antidepressant Abuse
Despite the severity of these withdrawal symptoms, the side effects of antidepressant abuse are more sinister. Some of these effects include:
* infertility* emotional disturbance* addiction* hallucinations* paranoia* digestive problems* death
Tips on Detecting Antidepressant Abuse
Antidepressant abuse occurs when one does not follow and often exceeds intake of antidepressants in terms of dosages and frequency. People who continue taking the medicine long after the treatment period has elapsed is also a prime candidate for antidepressant abuse. If you suspect that a friend or family member is suffering from antidepressant abuse, here are some tips on detecting it:
1. Observe for secretive behavior.
People who suffer from antidepressant abuse are aware of the wrong nature of their behavior. They will use all means necessary to keep their continuous intake of antidepressants secret. Some of the most popular techniques include keeping antidepressants in unlabeled or mislabeled bottles, taking medicines in unholy hours, and keeping mum about doctor visits or treatment updates.
2. Take note of mood swings.
Although mood swings are stablilized by antidepressants, people who are abusing these drugs often exhibit surprising changes in disposition especially if they are running low on antidepressant supplies. For example, your mild-mannered friend may turn excessively irritable once her antidepressant bottles are empty.
3. Track treatment schedule.
Irregular visits to the doctor may signal antidepressant abuse. People who are heavily dependent on antidepressants may often find ways of postponing doctor visits and prolonging intake of the drugs. Sometimes, patients switch doctors in order to get another prescription for the drugs especially if their previous doctors have denied their requests.
4. Look out for insistence of the need for the drugs.
Antidepressant abusers often insist they they need the drugs. Expressions like “I can’t live without it” or “It’s my lifeline” are telltale signs that a person is hooked too much on antidepressants to care. Casually pointing out they they seem to be better and can get off the antidepressants may cause extreme reactions.
These are just four ways of detecting whether one is an antidepressant abuser. However, if you can persuade the person to come right out and confess about the abuse, do this as the first option. Most of the time, people who abuse antidepressants are aware that what they are doing is wrong; they are just waiting for a push in the right direction. Try talking them into undergoing therapy and counseling instead of relying on drugs for their well-being.
Photos provided by Pexels