Four Signs of Antidepressant Addiction

There are many types of prescription medications that people can develop an addiction to. Most will be familiar with prescription painkillers such as Oxycodone, or benzodiazepines prescribed for anxiety and /panic disorders like Xanax or Klonopin, but there is a common type of prescription medicine whose potential for addiction is often overlooked: antidepressants/SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.) These medications, such as Zoloft and Prozac, are widely prescribed to treat depression, and there is no doubt that they are vital and life-saving medications for many. However, as with any sort of medicine with the potential for addiction, it is important to be aware of the warning signs of a burgeoning dependence. Depression is a common co-occurring disorder, and people who suffer from it are at an increased risk of addiction, making antidepressant addiction an important thing to watch out for. Here are four warning signs to look out for if you’re worried about yourself or a loved one developing an addiction to your antidepressant medications. 


You Don’t Take Your Medication As Prescribed

A common sign of antidepressant abuse is not following the prescription instructions for your medication. This can look like taking more than prescribed, or perhaps crushing your pills and inhaling them in order to intensify the effect rather than letting the medication release and take gradual effect as intended. Abusing antidepressants in this way is dangerous, and can exacerbate common side effects of these medications like sexual dysfunction, or the especially dangerous paradoxical reaction of increased suicidality. 


You Combine Your Medication With Other Drugs 

Using other drugs with your antidepressants to increase the effects is another common sign of antidepressant addiction. An example of this would be drinking alcohol with your antidepressants. This is a dangerous mix that can slow your breathing down drastically. If this gets bad enough it can even cause asphyxiation and lead to death. 


You Suffer From Intense Side Effects 

SSRIs have a litany of side effects that range from unpleasant to the potential to be deadly. People who suffer from antidepressant addiction are not only more likely to experience these side effects, but they may experience them more intensely as well. Side effects to watch out for include some that have already been mentioned, such as increased suicidality and sexual dysfunction. Other common side effects to be aware of are weight gain, unusual sleep patterns and insomnia, paranoia, and hallucinations. 


You Struggle To Meet Your Work And Social Obligations

A perennial hallmark of all sorts of substance abuse; antidepressant addiction can begin to interfere with people’s work and social life. They may find themselves failing to show up to work, showing up late, flaking out on social gatherings they had previously agreed to, and withdrawing from their friends and family. People may also find that they are no longer partaking in or enjoying hobbies they previously enjoyed. 


If you feel that you or a loved one may be struggling with antidepressant addiction, help is available. Because SSRIs have a litany of potentially dangerous adverse effects with sudden stoppage, it’s very important to not stop using them without professional supervision. There are plenty of clinics equipped to treat antidepressant addiction, including here at Sunshine Behavioral Health. Visit, and get help today. 



Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

Sunshine Behavioral Health Facilities


Chapters Capistrano


Monarch Shores


Mountain Springs


Willow Springs


Lincoln Recovery

Find out more about our admissions process