Treatment For Antidepressant Dependence
Confronted with the thought of being dependent on antidepressants to feel normal, many people decide to quit. Those who want to get off antidepressants should do so under medical supervision. Quitting antidepressants can lead to harmful withdrawal symptoms if done improperly.
Oftentimes, getting off antidepressants is as simple as meeting with a doctor to develop a taper-down schedule.
Some people need a more rigorous treatment plan, such as those with a co-occurring disorder like addiction or depression. Treatments include therapy, support groups and detox for antidepressants and other drugs. Those who have a drug or alcohol addiction in addition to their depression require simultaneous treatment for both problems. If a co-occurring disorder isn’t treated, it can cause a relapse into drug use or depression.
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Inpatient rehab is a good option for people with severe depression or a drug addiction. Most treatment centers are capable of treating both addiction and depression. Talk to a treatment provider today to learn more about available rehab options.
Inpatient rehabs place residents under 24-hour medical care. This creates a safe environment free from the typical stresses of life. It also removes drug dependent people from settings where the temptation to use could result in a relapse.
Inpatient rehab lasts anywhere from 28 days to several months. Each resident follows a structured routine that consists of mealtimes, counseling, support group participation, group therapy, and activities.
The first step of treatment in many inpatient program is a medically-assisted detox, although most individuals can safely taper off antidepressants in an outpatient setting with supervision from their primary physician. Antidepressant withdrawal symptoms can last from a few weeks to several months. This depends on the type of antidepressant used and how long it was taken. In rehab, clinicians can monitor recovering users for changes in mood and suicidal tendencies during withdrawal.
Children, teens, adolescents, and young adults are especially vulnerable during antidepressant withdrawal. Suicidal thoughts and actions from quitting antidepressants are most common among this group. Close monitoring at an inpatient drug rehab can prevent tragic outcomes. Some treatment centers are designed specifically for teenagers and young adults, addressing their unique needs in a safe environment.
Those trying to quit using antidepressants are tapered off the drug to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Slowly stopping use also helps restore the brain’s chemical balance. Doctors may prescribe medication in rehab to treat symptoms like nausea and insomnia.
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Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help people stay off antidepressants. CBT can equip users with coping techniques to manage depression without the need for medications. CBT may also have long-term benefits even after someone stops receiving therapy.
Studies have shown that cognitive therapy is as efficacious as antidepressant medications at treating depression, and it seems to reduce the risk of relapse even after its discontinuation.
Ongoing Treatment And Relapse Prevention
Outpatient treatment can help wean users off antidepressant medication without putting a hold on their personal and professional life. Outpatient treatment is the most popular form of treatment for those quitting antidepressants.
Recovering addicts who want to get off antidepressants need to continue managing their depression. If their depression goes untreated, a relapse back into antidepressant use or other drug abuse is more likely.
Many people who taper off their antidepressants are able to successfully manage their depression without medication. Continuing therapy is one of the best tools to keep people on their feet. There are also activities and coping techniques individuals can do to prevent a relapse into depression.
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Tips To Prevent A Depression Relapse
Practicing healthy habits can help people manage their mood. Managing a positive mindset can help avoid a drug relapse or the need to get back on antidepressants. Some healthy practices to prevent depression include:
Maintain healthy relationships.
Having strong support from family and friends is important during difficult times. Making a consistent effort to simply be around people who care about you can make you happier. It’s important that the people you socialize with are generally positive thinkers.
Get a pet.
Pets can provide companionship and stave off loneliness. Caring for a pet also gives many people a sense of purpose and a feeling of being needed.
Most people know that exercise stimulates mental processes and keeps depression at bay. Running, swimming, weight lifting and walking are great activities to help with a positive mindset. Studies have shown that walking 20-40 minutes three times a week can relieve some depressive symptoms. More importantly, exercise releases neurotransmitters, such as endorphins and serotonin, that fight off feelings of depression.
Food has a strong impact on the way you feel. Unhealthy foods can decrease energy and contribute to a negative mood.
Unhealthy sleep habits can lead to a relapse into depression. Going to bed at the same time each night and aiming for eight hours of sleep a night greatly reduces depression.
Use relaxation techniques and stress management.
Stress and frustration can be potent triggers for depression. Relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga are good ways to alleviate stress.
Finding Help Now
Treatment is available for anyone who wants to stop taking antidepressants. If antidepressants haven’t worked for you or you have severe depression, it’s worth looking into inpatient or outpatient treatment. You may also require special treatment if you have a co-occurring substance abuse problem. If you’re ready t0 end your battle with antidepressant addiction, contact a treatment provider to learn about treatment options today.
Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelor’s and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffrey’s desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffrey’s mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.
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Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional:
Theresa Parisi received her bachelor’s degree in Addiction Science and Psychology from Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minnesota in 2010. She is currently working towards her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida. She is a Certified Addiction Professional (CAP), Certified Behavioral Health Case Manager (CBHCM), and International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ICADC) by the Florida Certification Board. Theresa is passionate about recovery having gone through addiction herself.
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- Retrieved on October 1, 2015 from: http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/what_are_the_real_risks_of_antidepressants
- Retrieved on October 1, 2015 from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/
- Retrieved on October 1, 2015 from: http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h2107.full.pdf+html
- Retrieved on October 1, 2015 from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2748674/