Antidepressant Detox

Antidepressant detox is the first step towards overcoming an addiction to antidepressants, and keeps patients safe and comfortable as they go through withdrawal.

What Is Antidepressant Detox?

Antidepressant detox is a medically-supervised process that helps patients overcome the symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal safely and comfortably. Antidepressant detox improves the chances that a patient will achieve and maintain sobriety and is considered the first step towards overcoming an addiction.

What Are Antidepressants?

Antidepressants are treatments for depression, and work by changing hormones in the brain. Someone battling depression may be prescribed different kinds of Antidepressants depending on the severity of their depression, how they react to certain medications, and a number of other factors. Although typically prescribed for someone with moderate to severe depression, some grappling with anxiety, insomnia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder also take certain types of Antidepressants for relief.

Certain Antidepressants engage with neurotransmitters in the brain to help regulate serotonin ( which helps regulate mood, sleep, and social behavior). Such Antidepressants also influence norepinephrine (stress response and blood pressure regulation), and dopamine (decision-making, motivation, and the pleasure reward system).Typically, Antidepressants work within a month of use, and can be taken for varying lengths of time, depending on the severity of depression and other factors.

Frequently prescribed Antidepressants include:

  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Paxil (paroxetine)
  • Trintellix (vortioxetine)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Luvox (fluvoxamine)
  • Viibryd (vilazodone)

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Classifications of Antidepressants

Antidepressants are classified into 5 major groups—each with a specific function, risk, and healing property

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

The first type is the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). This group of antidepressants prevents the re-uptake (reabsorption) of serotonin into the body. These are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. This category tends to cause fewer side effects compared to other categories of the drugs.

Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Another category is known as the Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs). SNRIs are similar to SSRIs, but they work to repress other neurotransmitters along with serotonin. Patients with generalized anxiety disorder can use these to feel relaxed.

Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs)

Next are Tricyclic Antidepressants or TCAs. These Antidepressants have a chemical structure of three rings of atoms and block the absorption of neurotransmitters like acetylcholine, serotonin and norepinephrine into the body.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) break down monoamines, allowing more neurotransmitters for use in mood regulation. This class of Antidepressants is not as popular as some others and has mild side effects.

Atypical Antidepressants

Atypical antidepressants are any antidepressants that don’t fit into any of the other four classifications. They are called atypical because they do not function in the way that other antidepressants do.

Are Antidepressants Addictive?

There is much discussion on the addictive qualities of Antidepressants. Antidepressants like Paxil warn people about the risk of withdrawal on the label. News stories and interviews of individuals unable to quit Antidepressants contradict opinions that Antidepressants cannot be habit forming.

Experts note 50% to 80% of people taking Antidepressants have endured withdrawal in response to stopping or reducing use. Much of this is because of the short half-life of many of these drugs. Someone deciding to stop Antidepressants should do so under the care of a physician. Antidepressants like Cymbalta and Effexor are more likely to produce withdrawal symptoms since they are in the system for shorter time period. Patients should use Antidepressants as prescribed, but if they find themselves increasing their dosage, consider contacting a treatment specialist.

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Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome (Antidepressant Withdrawal)

Antidepressant Detox Is Critical For Those Suffering From Antidepressant Dependence And AddictionAntidepressant discontinuation syndrome, also known as Antidepressant withdrawal, is defined as the symptoms some patients experience that mimic traditional withdrawal post-Antidepressant use. Since Antidepressants function to alter the brain’s neurotransmitters, suddenly going “cold turkey” (stopping use suddenly) can create a host of unpleasant symptoms. The individual is transitioning from a relaxed state to a state of Antidepressant absence. Thus, the brain must readjust to not having the drugs it needs to feel relaxed. As a result, the individual can relapse into states of depression.

Symptoms can appear in as little as 3 days and have different effects on the mind and body. Antidepressants like Prozac and Trintellix tend to produce fewer symptoms. In contrast, some of the other types of Antidepressants can cause withdrawal or Antidepressant discontinuation symptoms. Symptoms of anti-depressant withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Moodiness
  • Low moods
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of coordination
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Brain fog
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Chills

In some cases, reports of mania and psychosis have been reported, but these are generally from much older Antidepressants and less commonly-used brands.

Antidepressant Withdrawal Timeline

The Antidepressant withdrawal timeline differs from person to person. Which symptoms affect each person, and the severity of the symptoms, depends on one’s severity of Antidepressant dependence, which Antidepressants they use, whether they combine Antidepressants with other drugs or alcohol, their medical and psychiatric history, and a number of other factors. For example, Paxil users tend to have more severe withdrawal symptoms than users of most other antidepressants.

Antidepressant Withdrawal Timeline
Days 1 to 3: Individuals may feel initial withdrawal symptoms. Attempts to taper use of antidepressants may still yield strong symptoms of withdrawal.
Days 4 to 5: Symptoms such as nausea, dizziness and fever are typical in this phase of withdrawal. Individuals may also feel flu-like symptoms.
Weeks 1 to 3: Since withdrawal symptoms generally span for 3 weeks, individuals may notice symptoms subsiding.
Weeks 4+: The intensity of one’s symptoms after 3 weeks will depend on the length of their Antidepressant use.

How Antidepressant Detox Can Help

Detoxing for Antidepressants can help restore an individual’s body and mind to wellness. Withdrawal symptoms can interrupt one’s physical, mental, and emotional balance, and detoxing helps patients find equilibrium. Detoxing also can help relieve any other substance use disorders. This is especially critical as someone taking Antidepressants with other drugs or alcohol is at a greater risk of medical and psychological side effects

Antidepressant treatment can take the form of medications that can help with symptoms ranging from anxiety to flu-like symptoms. Additional treatment methods like the tapering method are also helpful. This method helps the individual take smaller dosages of the Antidepressant until they can stop using it with minimal withdrawal symptoms. This method is best when supervised under the expertise of a medical professional in order to guide the individual through potential relapses.

Taking Empowered Action

Substance abuse is complex, but there is nothing to be ashamed of. Empower yourself to find sobriety with the assistance of a dedicated treatment specialist. Knowing you are taking control of your life or a loved one’s life by making a life-changing call is admirable. You deserve to be well and be available for your family. Contact an expert today. Be well for tomorrow.

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