Emotional and Psychological Addiction to Antidepressants

I took antidepressants for seven years and quit all depression drugs in 2009. I was shocked at the low level to which I had stooped with self-care, while on the antidepressant. Taking better care of myself was one of the reasons I began taking antidepressants in the first place. But in fact what I was doing was systematically sabotaging my own mental health by medicating emotions rather than listening to and dealing with them. 

Prior to beginning the antidepressant Paxil, I had put in about 5 years of solid work on my emotional recovery. I was working my program, not to perfection as no one is perfect, but I was making good progress. Then I suffered some major setbacks and decided that recovery was impossible without medication. I lost two stillborn babies and had some terrible experiences with a house we had purchased. It was too much.

While taking the medication, I told myself and everyone else, that I was keeping up on my mental health homework, journaling, processing emotions, listening to my emotions and body, working my program. I was in fact, slipping deeper and deeper into drug-induced apathy. That's because SSRIs and antidepressants do not treat depression. They mask it. They mask all feelings, positive and negative. I didn't realize how miserable I'd become on medication, because the Paxil was preventing the SOS messages my body was sending from getting through to my brain.

A few weeks off from the anti-depressants showed me that I had let my recovery program severely slip. I was appalled at how good I'd gotten at ignoring my own needs. True I didn't get as angry as I once did. But my fault lay in attributing my own strides in mental health to a pill. Rather than accepting that I had grown was developing healthier habits, I automatically gave all the credit to the little pink pill. 

I began to think that without the Paxil, I would become an emotional basket case, unable to function in a healthy way. I was terrified to quit taking it lest I revert to some sort of mindless, psychotic life-form. I was psychologically addicted to my antidepressant. It took a dear friend to remind me that I wasn't a mindless, psychotic life form before I went on the pills I could not revert to something I had never been. 

We learn a lot from our feelings, perceptions and sensations. Anti-depressants may not be physically addictive, but they can be horribly emotionally and psychologically addictive. For more on health, visit my blogs at Emotional Health Help and Health Help 4U. Follow my recovery journey on this blog. 

Quitting SSRI Antidepressants: Understanding Panic Attacks and Normal Depression

If you've been taking an anti-depressant, especially an SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) for some time and want to quit, you'll want to prepare for certain withdrawal symptoms. Self-medicating bouts of depression and panic attacks delays recovery. In fact, self-medicating by taking your anti-depressants only when you "really need it" will cripple your efforts to quit.

What is 'self-medicating'? It means to take medication when you subjectively decide you need it, instead of following recommended medical protocol. It doesn't refer to making informed choices about medication that may differ from conventional wisdom. Self-mediating is addictive habit taking medications when you want it or think you need it.

When you wean yourself from an anti-depressant, especially an SSRI, it's very easy to self-medicate. As your body, mind and hormones adjust to an unmedicated state, you may feel "symptoms" that are similar to the symptoms that sent you for a prescription to start with. It's easy to misinterpret these recovery symptoms. Many people become convinced that they cannot get off the meds and can only function "normally" with an antidepressant. 

This is what I call fear-induced medication. You continue taking the antidepressant not because you need it but because you're afraid that without it, you'll be a basket case.
 As you come off the anti-depressants, you will have times of depression, anxiety and panic attacks. These are normal feelings, typically. But while you were on your antidepressant those feelings were numbed. But they were still there. The anti-depressant did not "heal" them. It made you more apathetic about the issues, that's all. 

Painkillers don't cure pain, they mask it. If the pain is emotional, anti-depressants work by dulling emotions. So it only stands to reason that as you begin to live life drug-free, you may notice periods of depression, anxiety, panic and sadness.
 If you can remind yourself that by and large, these feelings episodic, transient and temporary, you will be less likely to run back to the antidepressants. 

If you do run for the meds every times you feel pain, you will hormonal spikes and drug-induced manic-depressive episodes. So walk through the feelings. Give them time to resolve because moslty, the only way out is through. Take it from me; I was there and am now on the other side. It can be done. You're not alone.

FDA Adds Paxil SSRI to Category D Pregnancy Drug

Paxil aka Paroxetine HCL are SSRI (Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitor) antidepressants marketed by GlaxoSmithKline. Paxil has been upgraded by the FDA to a category D pregnancy drug. Heart and lung birth defects are linked to Paxil. PPHN, or Perisistant Pulmonary Hypertension in the Newborn, ASD (Arterial Septal Defect) and VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect) are other birth defects that have been discovered far more frequently in infants born to mothers who were taking Paxil (Paroxetine HCL) during pregnancy.

This FDA upgrade is hugely significant as Category D pregnancy drugs are the most dangerous drugs to the developing fetus, next to Category X.  TheAmerican Pregnancy website lists the FDA definition of Category D pregnancy drugs in this way:

Positive evidence of Risk. Studies in humans and or post marketing data have demonstrated fetal risk. Potential benefits from the use of the drug may outweigh the potential risk however. For example, the drug may be acceptable if needed in a life-threatening situation or serious disease for which safer drugs cannot be used or are ineffective.'

Drugs like the tetracycline acne drugs are also category D pregnancy drugs. Paxil and Paroxetine are category D and not category X drugs (like thalidomide and Accutane) due to a myth that the life of the mother is in danger in some way if she stops taking Paxil in pregnancy. Women on antidepressants are often told that to stop taking their Paxil during pregnancy might harm baby, too. So mothers chose what seemed to be the lesser of two evils.

Another issue with the Category D pregnancy drug rating is that it assumes that no safer antidepressants or SSRIs are available. That's simple not true. There are safer antidepressants women can take. Whether an antidepressant or SSRI is necessary for the health of the mother is debatable. If the drug is a danger to the fetus in any way is information women need in order to be able to make informed decisions. For more on drugs, health and pregnancy, visit me at Health Help 4u

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