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Lexapro Addiction: Signs, Effects, and Treatment

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Lexapro Addiction in Chattanooga, TN
Picture of Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Mohsin Ali, MD

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Mohsin Ali, MD

Dr. Mohsin Ali MD is board certified in Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Trained in Syracuse NY, he has worked in Tennessee for the last sixteen years.

Table of Contents

Lexapro, the commercial name for escitalopram, is a widely prescribed medication belonging to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. It is designed to treat a range of mental health conditions by regulating serotonin levels in the brain, which enhances mood and emotional stability. While Lexapro is not classified under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in the United States, meaning it’s not considered physically addictive, long-term use can sometimes lead to psychological dependence.

For individuals suspecting an over-reliance on Lexapro, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider. This professional can diagnose potential dependency issues and help develop an appropriate treatment plan. In addition to professional support, numerous resources are available online and within communities to assist those experiencing difficulties with Lexapro.

Is Lexapro Addictive?

Lexapro operates by increasing serotonin levels, which supports improved mood and emotional well-being. It is not listed as a controlled substance and is often prescribed to manage depression and generalized anxiety, as well as to help reduce alcohol cravings for those dealing with substance abuse issues.

Despite its many benefits, Lexapro is generally not considered addictive since it does not cause physical dependence. However, psychological dependence is possible, particularly if Lexapro is used in excess of prescribed doses or misused in other ways.

Can Lexapro Be Abused?

Lexapro is designed to adjust chemical levels in the brain without producing the euphoric highs typical of addictive substances, making it an unlikely target for recreational abuse. However, misuse is still possible, particularly if the medication is taken in a manner not prescribed by a healthcare professional, such as at higher doses or when combined with other substances. Misusing Lexapro can lead to severe side effects and elevate the risk of psychological dependency.

While Lexapro is intended to provide relief from certain mental health conditions, abusing this medication can undermine its therapeutic effects and pose serious health risks. This underscores the importance of adhering strictly to the dosage and administration guidelines prescribed by healthcare providers. Always follow medical advice and use medications only as directed to avoid the potential pitfalls of misuse.

Signs of Lexapro Addiction

Signs of Lexapro Addiction

Behavioral Indicators of Lexapro Addiction

The abuse of Lexapro, a medication primarily prescribed to treat depression and anxiety, can manifest through various behavioral changes, including:

  • Taking higher doses than prescribed.
  • Fabricating symptoms to secure prescriptions.
  • Visiting multiple doctors to obtain additional prescriptions (doctor shopping).
  • Exhibiting mood fluctuations and sleep disturbances.
  • Appearing excessively calm or sedated.

Psychological and Physical Signs of Addiction

Addiction on Lexapro can lead to both psychological and physical changes, such as:

  • Developing a tolerance, necessitating increased doses for the same therapeutic effect.
  • Withdrawing from social engagements and previous hobbies.
  • Maintaining secrecy about the usage of the medication.

Potential Side Effects of Lexapro Abuse

While Lexapro is an effective treatment for certain mental health conditions, inappropriate use can lead to several adverse effects:

  • Weight Gain: Improvement in depressive symptoms may lead to increased appetite.
  • Insomnia: Some individuals might experience sleep disturbances despite Lexapro’s potential to improve sleep quality.
  • Emotional Numbness: A reduced emotional response is sometimes reported by patients.
  • Suicidal Thoughts: This is more common in young adults and adolescents, particularly when starting the medication or changing doses.
  • Gastrointestinal Distress: Nausea and diarrhea are frequently observed but are usually temporary.
  • Dry Mouth and Drowsiness: These side effects often diminish as the body adjusts to Lexapro.
  • Rhinitis: Nasal inflammation may occasionally occur with Lexapro use.

To avoid the risks associated with Lexapro misuse, it is recommended to taper off the medication under medical supervision. This strategy helps reduce withdrawal symptoms and facilitates a smoother cessation of drug use. If you are considering stopping Lexapro, please contact our admissions team at 423-460-9766 or through our online form to start your treatment journey in Chattanooga, TN.

How Do People Get Addicted to Lexapro?

Lexapro, while not typically associated with the addictive behaviors seen in controlled substances, can lead to physical dependence when misused. Misuse may involve taking Lexapro in larger quantities, more frequently, or for a longer duration than medically advised. Over time, this misuse may result in tolerance, necessitating larger doses to achieve the initial benefits, and may eventually lead to physical dependence, characterized by the body requiring the drug for normal functioning.

It is crucial to discontinue Lexapro under the guidance of a healthcare provider to mitigate withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness, anxiety, and confusion. Although psychological addiction to Lexapro is uncommon, it can occur, particularly in individuals with a history of substance misuse.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Lexapro addiction, it’s important to seek professional help. Treatment often involves a gradual reduction of the medication under medical supervision, coupled with therapy to address any underlying issues contributing to the dependency. Please contact our admissions team at 423-460-9766 or through our online form to start your Lexapro addiction treatment in Chattanooga, TN.

The Risks of Snorting Lexapro

Snorting Lexapro, or any medication not intended for nasal use, is extremely hazardous and strongly discouraged. Lexapro is designed to be absorbed slowly through the digestive system, allowing for a controlled release into the bloodstream that maintains safe and effective drug levels. When Lexapro is snorted, it bypasses the intended slow absorption process, entering the bloodstream rapidly and at potentially dangerous concentrations.

Such misuse of Lexapro can lead to severe side effects, including the risk of serotonin syndrome. This serious condition results from an excessive accumulation of serotonin in the brain and can be life-threatening. Symptoms range from mild to severe, including agitation, hallucinations, accelerated heart rate, fever, loss of coordination, nausea, and vomiting. In severe cases, it may cause seizures.

Furthermore, snorting Lexapro can severely damage the nasal passages and respiratory system, leading to chronic issues such as frequent nosebleeds, a diminished sense of smell, breathing difficulties, and an increased risk of lung infections. This method of ingestion also significantly increases the risk of an overdose.

While it might be possible to achieve a more intense effect by snorting Lexapro, such practices are unsafe and carry grave health risks, potentially leading to critical consequences.

Lexapro Addiction Treatment in Chattanooga, TN

Treating Lexapro Addiction

While Lexapro is not typically associated with traditional addictive behaviors, stopping its use can be challenging due to potential withdrawal symptoms. It’s vital to understand the distinction between addiction, which is characterized by a compulsive need to use the drug despite harmful consequences, and dependence, which involves the body’s adaptation to the drug with withdrawal symptoms manifesting upon discontinuation.

The management of Lexapro misuse usually involves a medically supervised tapering process. This gradual reduction helps mitigate withdrawal symptoms effectively. During this period, alternative medications or therapeutic strategies may be introduced to address any residual symptoms and support the individual’s mental health.

Psychotherapy and counseling are also crucial in treating Lexapro dependence. These interventions help address underlying psychological factors contributing to the misuse and foster long-term emotional health. This comprehensive approach is essential for preventing relapse and ensuring the well-being of individuals recovering from Lexapro misuse.

Lexapro Addiction Treatment in Chattanooga, TN

At Iris Wellness Group we specialize in providing targeted and compassionate treatment for individuals struggling with Lexapro addiction in Chattanooga, TN. Recognizing the unique journey of each person affected by Lexapro addiction, our dedicated team offers personalized care plans designed to address the specific needs and challenges of our clients. Our goal is to support individuals on their path to recovery, helping them achieve a healthier, substance-free lifestyle through a comprehensive approach to treatment.

Treatment Options for Lexapro Addiction and Withdrawal

  • Outpatient Detox: Offers medically supervised detoxification services to safely manage withdrawal symptoms in an outpatient setting.
  • Outpatient Treatment: Designed for those who require flexible treatment schedules without intensive daily commitments.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): Ideal for individuals needing more support than standard outpatient care, providing a structured therapy schedule while allowing patients to live at home.
  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): Serves as a bridge between inpatient care and outpatient treatment, offering comprehensive day-long therapy sessions for more intensive care without an overnight stay.

To complement our range of treatment options, Iris Wellness Group integrates a holistic approach to therapy, targeting the multifaceted aspects of Lexapro addiction. Understanding that recovery is not one-size-fits-all, we tailor our therapy programs to meet the individual needs of our clients, focusing on not just overcoming addiction but also on fostering long-term wellness and resilience.

Therapies Offered for Lexapro Addiction and Withdrawal:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Aims to identify and modify negative thought patterns and behaviors related to cannabis use.
  • Individual Therapy: Offers a private setting for patients to explore personal issues and challenges related to their addiction.
  • Group Therapy: Provides a supportive environment where individuals can share experiences and strategies for coping with addiction.
  • Family Therapy: Engages family members in the treatment process to heal relationships and build a supportive home environment for recovery.

If you or someone you care about be grappling with Lexapro abuse, it’s crucial to act now. Contact our Lexapro rehab in Chattanooga, TN at 423-460-9766 or through our online form to embark on the path towards a life free from drug dependence.

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