Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

The Relationship between Antipsychotic Medication and Addiction

The Relationship between Antipsychotic Medication and AddictionMany people mistakenly believe that antipsychotic medications are addictive, but this is false. Unfortunately, this belief may prevent some people from taking this drug, even if they would truly benefit from the medications. If you know someone who needs to take an antipsychotic, learn about those drugs and their effects to determine how recovery can help you recover.

Are Antipsychotics Addictive?

Some people become dependent on antipsychotics to relieve symptoms of the following mental disorders:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Delusional disorders

Patients who use drugs for these disorders do not get high and do not tend to exhibit drug-seeking behaviors after prolonged use. In fact, antipsychotic drugs are a great tool for many people who suffer from serious mental disorders. Even if people become dependent on these medications, the relief they experience from their other symptoms can be life-changing.

Some reports discuss young people who abuse antipsychotic medications to increase sedative effects. Any sedative can be abused, and while this happens rarely, it is still possible. As users become tolerant to a drug and its sedative properties fade, people must either take larger doses or turn to more powerful sedatives to achieve the same effects. These habits are dangerous and can cause severe problems with continued abuse.

Antipsychotic Medications in Addiction Treatment

Many people with serious mental disorders self-medicate their symptoms with opiates, alcohol or other prescription drugs. Finding the proper antipsychotic medication and dosage can free these people from the need for illicit drugs, but this kind of recovery often requires professional help. The most successful addiction treatment programs diagnose co-occurring psychological disorders, and then they treat these disorders alongside addiction issues. With medical and therapeutic treatment, patients can recover from any combination of psychological and addition problems.

Once people become dependent upon antipsychotic medications and go long enough without a dose, they may exhibit any of the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Paranoia
  • Returned symptoms the medication was treating

Withdrawal rarely happens with approved patients, as they require treatment for the rest of their lives. There is usually no reason for someone to stop using these medications, but changes to the medication type or dosage can happen regularly as doctors discover a patient’s unique needs.

Treatment for Antipsychotic Medication Abuse

If you have additional questions about antipsychotic medications and addiction, then please call our toll-free helpline right away. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day and will answer your questions confidentially. Let us help you recover, so call us now for immediate support.

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