Psychiatrist Questions Psychiatrist

Which antidepressant medication is the least addictive?

I am a 38 year old female. I want an antidepressant that I won't be heavily reliant on. Which antidepressant medication is the least addictive?

4 Answers

Antidepressants as a class are not considered to be addictive. Once a person has taken an antidepressant for a period of time, one month or more, it is best to taper from the drug rather than stopping it abruptly. This is not a sign of being addicted to the medication.
None are addictive. One episode is 9 months before taper. Therapy helps depression also.
Most antidepressants aren't addictive but you can become dependent on them. The difference is that they usually don't negative affect your life and when you want to stop then you can slowly taper off a medication you become dependent on without too much of a problem.
No antidepressant medication is "addicting" per se. You don't crave them. They don't make you high. You don't take more than you should. In fact, most people barely know they're taking the antidepressant. Certainly you can have side effects when you first take them that often go away in the first 1-2 weeks. But the way you know they're working is you say to yourself, "I feel TERRIFIC! Why do I need to keep taking this junk?" The catch is the medication is HELPING you feel terrific. Within a week or two of stopping, your depression may come roaring back.

The main problem with antidepressants is many people believe falsely they should just be able to "snap out of it!" on their own: make their depression go away by will power alone. Usually that's not possible, so people who believe this can suffer greatly. And surprisingly often, it' a relative who shames you into stopping your medication, and then the depression comes back.

All that said, there are some things to know. Antidepressants are not 100% effective. Your doctor may need to try different types of antidepressant medications before finding the one that's right for you. And there's no guarantee that any of the choices will work, although usually you can find something.

Second, side effects can occur. SRI type antidepressants often have sexual side effects, like a loss of desire. Any of the more sedating antidepressants can cause weight gain that is sometimes severe. If you're gaining a lot of weight on this or any other medication, see your doctor. Something needs to change.

Third, you shouldn't stop them suddenly and may need to taper the dose over several weeks. SRI type antidepressants are especially likely to cause a withdrawal syndrome of feeling weird and having an upset stomach if stopped too quickly. But the larger risk is you decide to stop taking the medication on your own because you feel good, and then everything crashes down.