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5 Safety Tips to Avoid Drug Addiction While Taking Antidepressants

5 Safety Tips to Avoid Drug Addiction While Taking Antidepressants

Antidepressants are often given as psychiatric medication to deal with severe cases of depression. The drug is given to restore the chemical imbalance in the brain and help in providing the right amount of neurotransmitters. They are often thought to be responsible for changes in behavior and mood. But there are several concerns raised about antidepressants being the best cure for depression. There are often questions about the effectiveness of drugs in a long term and their potential side effects.

The use of antidepressants can sometimes lead to addiction as well. If that happens, the medication will cause more harm than it will do good.

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Causes of antidepressants abuse

Antidepressants are not addictive by nature, but it is possible that because of constant abuse of medication a person develops a dependency on the drugs. The antidepressants are responsible for enhancing the mood of a person. People try to abuse these drugs so they can elevate their mood even further. It is not helpful, and the increased consumption quickly becomes an addiction.

One type of substance addiction is inhaling it. Other ways of abusing it are self-medication and taking more dosage than instructed. It often happens because a person thinks that the medication is not helping with the depression. They think that abusing their medication is the answer to all of their depression-related problems. Things can become even worse, if the addiction is triggered by something personal and tragic like losing a loved one.

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The side effects of antidepressants

In the beginning, the antidepressants have an excellent effect. They elevate the mood and make a person much more calm and relaxed. If the medication is strong, then it can also end up sedating a person. In the beginning, there may be no side effects or reactions.

Many physical side effects of drug may show up after prolonged consumption of the drug. They may cause mild headaches, nausea or an upset stomach. Suddenly stopping the daily dosage of the medication can result in agitation, anxiety, dry mouth, constipation, and abdominal pain.

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Symptoms of antidepressant addiction

Using these drugs for an extended period can often lead to drastic consequences. It can impact the ability of a person to work regularly. There are several physical effects along with mental effects associated with long-term use of the medication. Some of the symptoms that indicate an addiction to antidepressants are excessive talking, mood swings, convulsions, tremors, vivid dreams, irritability, nausea, panic attacks, insomnia, and increased risk of suicide, cardiac arrhythmia, and erectile dysfunction.

It can also make a person psychologically dependent on the drugs. The medication alters the chemical balance of the brain, and this leads to increased consumption of medicines, because the person feels he cannot function properly without more drugs.

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Symptoms of withdrawal

When people stop taking the antidepressants, the body can have a particularly emotional and physical reaction. The body reacts to the decreased levels of serotonin which had been elevated by the consumption of antidepressants.

The physiological withdrawal symptoms are cravings, which are known as the drug seeking behavior. Psychologically there can be bouts of occasional depression. There are treatment groups that can help in coping with such situations.

Guidelines for taking antidepressants

If you have a better knowledge of antidepressants, then you are more equipped to deal with the side effects and can avoid addiction. Here are some tips for safety:

  1. Before taking the antidepressant medication, see a psychiatrist instead of a family physician. A psychiatrist specializes in mental illness and is more qualified to give you advice. They are also more familiar with the research on the medications related to depression and the probable safety concerns.
  2. The medication should always be taken according to the instruction of the doctor. Never alter your dosage.
  3. Keeping a track of emotional and physical changes is also important. Tell the doctor about any such changes that you observe.
  4. Patience is critical. Finding the right dosage is a trial and error procedure, so do not get impatient and alter dosage by yourself. The medication can take several weeks to reach their complete therapeutic effect.
  5. You can use drug test kits to make sure that there are no drug interactions. Some drug interactions can be dangerous, so it is important to know that the medication you are taking is not going to react badly with any other medications you are currently taking. A drug test kit will help you find if there is any substance in your blood that can cause a dangerous reaction.

Featured photo credit: http://www.imujer.com/ via imujer.com

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Last Updated on October 23, 2018

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

The Neural Knitwork Project

In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

The knitting and neural connection

The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

More mental health benefits from knitting

Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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“You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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“People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

The dopamine effect on our happiness

Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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