Lexapro is a medication prescribed to treat depression and anxiety. It belongs to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) family of antidepressants. Some more popular examples of these drugs are Prozac and Zoloft.
SSRI medications work by limiting the body’s absorption of serotonin which, in turn, increases the levels of serotonin in the brain. This helps to level out the imbalance in brain chemistry that can cause depression or anxiety.
Depression or anxiety can be very common during recovery from substance abuse. Lexapro is commonly used in these cases. It is typically prescribed as a 5, 10, or 20 mg tablet, but can also come in liquid form.
The standard dosage prescribed to patients is somewhere between 10 and 20 mg per day. It’s important to stick to the recommended dosage of Lexapro. While it’s not classified as an addictive substance, it’s possible to abuse Lexapro.
Patients who abuse the drug have been known to experience side effects or withdrawal symptoms. In fact, 20% of people taking SSRIs can experience discontinuation syndrome. This can cause moderate to severe side effects.
The FDA has said that Lexapro isn’t classified as an addictive drug because there is no evidence of a physical addiction. However, a psychological dependence on Lexapro can be developed.
Lexapro is one of the most common SSRI drugs prescribed in the U.S. People end up taking the drug for decades after just a brief consultation and diagnosis from a doctor. Taking Lexapro over time can cause psychological dependence to develop. But Lexapro isn’t as addictive as other narcotics and prescription drugs.
People going through substance abuse recovery can experience severe anxiety and depression. In such cases, they may decide to take extra Lexapro to help alleviate these symptoms. This is a common form of Lexapro abuse.
Other instances of Lexapro abuse to look out for are: forging prescription scripts for Lexapro, buying Lexapro from family and friends, and taking another person’s Lexapro when it hasn’t been prescribed to you.
Lexapro addiction is nothing to take lightly. Taking the drug when it hasn’t been prescribed to you, or abusing it in any way can have negative effects. Some people who took the medication without a prescription reported having increased alcohol cravings, and even developing an alcohol addiction, without any history of addiction.
Lexapro vs Xanax
Lexapro is often confused with Xanax. This is because they are both prescribed for similar symptoms, but the two drugs are different.
Xanax comes from the benzodiazepine family of drugs, while Lexapro is classified as an SSRI. These two families of drugs work differently within the body to combat symptoms of anxiety and depression. Xanax focuses more on the anxiety symptoms like panic attacks, and Lexapro focuses more on depressive symptoms.
The two medications also have different side effects. Lexapro can cause sexual difficulty, restlessness, and suicidal thoughts in children and teens. Xanax can cause speech problems, memory problems, or fatigue.
Side Effects of Lexapro Addiction
Lexapro addiction can have both physical side effects on the body, as well as psychological side effects on the mind.
Some of these side effects include:
- Memory problems
- Feelings of electric shock
- Sexual difficulty
The side effects of Lexapro abuse are primarily short-term conditions. There has been no proof of long-term side effects of Lexapro addiction, but physical dependence and addiction can develop.
If you fear you, or a loved one, may be in danger of slipping into Lexapro addiction there are certain signs to look for. The most common would be taking more Lexapro than prescribed. Feelings of anxiety and depression can be tough to deal with. But it’s important to consult your doctor or counselor for healthy ways to cope rather than turning to higher dosages of prescription drugs.
People abusing Lexapro can also exhibit mood swings, insomnia, and isolate themselves from friends and family. In addition, users can appear high or sedated, and may start to lose interest in hobbies and interests they formerly enjoyed.
In more severe cases, someone abusing Lexapro may even pretend to lose prescriptions to get more Lexapro prescribed. People have even gone so far as to see different doctors to get more prescriptions to keep up their habit.
Lexapro users can suffer from both withdrawal and discontinuation syndrome. Symptoms vary based on the individual, but can range from moderate to severe.
Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Excessive Sweating
- Ringing Ears
- Blurred Vision
- Pins and Needles
- Irregular Heartbeat
- Flashes of Light
- Vivid or Disturbing Dreams
- Feelings of Electric Shock in Legs, Arms, and Brain
Symptoms of discontinuation syndrome are similar, but can vary in comparison to withdrawal symptoms.
Discontinuation syndrome symptoms include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Sensory disturbances
Withdrawal, or discontinuation syndrome, from Lexapro can be uncomfortable or disturbing to the individual. The length and severity of the symptoms will depend on the person, but it’s best to handle withdrawal and detox under the supervision of a healthcare professional at a detox center.
Enlisting the help of a detox center during Lexapro withdrawal can help to make the process much more tolerable. Working with medical professionals ensures 24/7 monitoring of a patient’s symptoms. Both medical and clinical staff can work together to develop an effective tapering schedule, as well as fluid treatment, to help a person get off of Lexapro safely without putting themselves in physical danger.
The safe, supportive environment of a medical detox center can also help to reduce the risk of Lexapro relapse. Staff at the detox center can also help patients to deal with the social challenges of transitioning from a life of substance abuse and addiction to a life of sobriety.
After detox, it is important to continue treatment for Lexapro addiction. Symptoms of discontinuation syndrome can sometimes continue for weeks or months after detox and withdrawal symptoms have subsided. Talk to your doctor, or a counselor, about how to best continue your treatment for Lexapro addiction in the long-term.
In-patient or out-patient rehab, as well as 12-step programs in the local community can be effective options for helping to stay off of Lexapro. If you have any other questions, or would like more resources on the subject, Call: 877-497-6180