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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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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