A variety of antidepressant drugs are on the market, and they each have unique effects and applications. Mental health disorders are complicated, so they often need complex treatment options to address them effectively. One medication that’s used to treat neurological pain and depression is called duloxetine. It is used to  treat depression and anxiety disorders.

Duloxetine, a drug sold under the brand name Cymbalta, affects your brain by interacting with different chemical messengers, which allows it to achieve its desired effects. However, it may also cause nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, and thoughts of suicide. But is dependence and addiction something you need to worry about if you’re taking the drug? Learn more about duloxetine and its potential for addiction.

What are the Signs of Duloxetine Addiction?

Duloxetine addiction isn’t common, and it’s unlikely for it to occur with prescribed use of the drug. However, it’s possible for it to cause tolerance chemical dependence that leads to withdrawal when you try to stop using.

Psychological addiction may also occur if you use the drug for a long time and feel like you need it to live a normal lifestyle. In general, working with your doctor to monitor side effects, tolerance, and changes in the way you feel on the medication can help avoid substance use issues.

Duloxetine isn’t commonly abused because it doesn’t cause significant euphoric or pleasurable effects when taken recreationally. However, a person might misuse the drug that was prescribed to them or someone they know to try and achieve better effects.

The Signs of Duloxetine Addiction May Include:

  • Trying and failing to cut back
  • Increasing the dose without a doctor’s permission
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, it’s important to speak with your doctor about cutting back or switching to a new medication. The drug may also cause suicidal thoughts or actions. If you experience worsening depression or thoughts of death or suicide, speak to a professional immediately.

What is Involved in Duloxetine Addiction Treatment?

Since duloxetine isn’t usually abused or addictive, it’s unlikely that you’ll need addiction treatment for the antidepressant on its own. However, if you do need addiction treatment, or if you used duloxetine alongside other drugs, treatment options are available. Addiction treatment will start with an intake process that’s designed to determine your level of psychological, biomedical, and social needs.

During this process, you’ll work with a therapist and help create a treatment plan that’s tailored to your individual needs. You may also go through medical examinations. If you are likely to experience severe or dangerous withdrawal symptoms, you may go through medical detoxification.

Detox is 24-hour treatment from medical professionals for people who are going through withdrawal and need high-level medical care.

Once acute withdrawal symptoms no longer put you at risk, you may go through an inpatient program if you still have high-level needs. Inpatient or residential programs are designed for people that need 24-hour monitoring for medical or psychological needs.

If you are in a stable condition, and you can live at home without the threat of relapse or other complications, you may go through an outpatient program. Intensive outpatient treatment involves nine or more hours of treatment each week. High-level needs might be treated in partial hospitalization, which is 20 or more hours per week. Standard outpatient treatment is fewer than nine hours of treatment, and it serves as an important step between high-level care and complete independence.

How Dangerous is Duloxetine?

When taken as directed, duloxetine isn’t likely to be dangerous. Studies show that the drug is safe and well-tolerated when taken in the appropriate doses. However, it does have side effects that should be monitored and reported to your doctor. Like other antidepressants, it’s associated with an increased risk of suicide. For that reason, if you experience worsening depression, thoughts of death, or suicidal thoughts, it’s important to speak with your doctor or a psychiatric professional immediately. Stopping the use of duloxetine can be unpleasant and can cause symptoms like irritability, dysphoric mood, agitation, dizziness, confusion, and other side effects.

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