Are Psychiatric Drugs Addictive?

There are many rumors about psychiatric drugs among the public. Unfortunately, some of our patients may leave the treatments they benefit from because of the inaccurate information they hear from the environment, and experience distressing situations afterwards. There are many drugs under the title of psychiatric drugs. All of them have different mechanisms of action. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety drugs etc. Psychiatrists choose the most appropriate drug by considering many factors such as the diagnosis they make, the degree of the disease, the weight of the person, the additional drugs used, and the additional diseases. Most psychiatric drugs are not addictive. There are procedures for prescribing drugs such as ‘green prescription’ and ‘red prescription’ in order to prevent abuse of drugs that already have addictive potential. For example, benzodiazepine group drugs are subject to green prescription. These drugs are fast-acting and show their effects within hours of taking them. Anxiety sedatives. In case of emergency, it should be given alongside the main treatment; relieves the patient in a short time. If we make an analogy; It can be thought of as a painkiller given in a very painful condition. It does not correct the situation that caused the pain, but the unbearable discomfort experienced at that time should be relieved in a short time and the patient should be relieved. Fixing the root cause may take time. In psychiatry, it may take 10-15 days for antidepressant drugs to start acting in the brain after adjustments with certain mechanisms. As the main drug begins to take effect, green prescription drugs are gradually reduced and discontinued under the supervision of a doctor. Thus, there is no dependency situation. Uncontrolled long-term use of these drugs in high doses can be addictive. No physician wants to make his patient dependent on any drug. The right treatment at the right time must be applied completely and without excess. Sudden discontinuation of some antidepressants may cause effects such as nausea, dizziness, distress, etc., which are called ‘withdrawal symptoms’ due to the short half-life of the drug. When the drug is stopped, the person experiencing these symptoms thinks that the drug is addictive to him and he will never be able to stop. However, there is no dependency here. Which drug to stop, how and when to stop are the processes that the physician should manage. When psychiatric drugs are discontinued at the right time, in the right way, there is no withdrawal symptom. The gradual reduction of some drugs may take months. In my clinical practice, I tell my patients the details of the treatments, the effects of the drugs, which drug I give for what purpose, what side effects they may have, and I ask them to ask me directly when they have any questions about the drugs. In order not to be exposed to wrong information, I definitely do not recommend researching on the internet, reading the drug prospectus, reading the comments about drugs and diseases on forum sites.

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