Antidepressant Withdrawal and Dependency

It’s no surprise how the antidepressant dependency and withdrawal questions are handled by drug companies.

Because if you tell a lie with enough…

(1) emotion

(2) volume and

(3) repetition, it eventually becomes more or less accepted as fact.

Whether or not antidepressants cause dependency in their users depends on how you define the word ‘dependency’.

Dependency used to be defined as either building up a tolerance to the drug or as having withdrawal symptoms. Either issues of tolerance or withdrawal. Simple and to the point. Easily measured or observed.Objective.


Now, however, for a drug to cause dependency there must be indications of tolerance and withdrawal and at least one of the following four criteria:

(1) Strong desire to take the substance.

(2) Hard to control drug-taking behavior.

(3) Neglect of other interests.

(4) Keep taking the substance after evidence of harmful effects.

Try not to laugh, because I’m serious about this.

    • Who in the world would possibly have a strong desire to take antidepressants?
    • Who could possibly have a hard time restricting their dosage
    • How could you neglect other interests simply by taking a depression medication?

Now admittedly, some people would continue taking antidepressants after noticing evidence of harmful effects, but this is due to the fact their withdrawal symptoms are so severe.

Welcome to the brave new world.

Before 1990, antidepressants were dependency-inducing drugs. Now, they are not. Same drugs. Same problems.

Only the definition of dependency has changed.

The responsibility of dependency has shifted from the drug to the user.

All four of these new criteria are subjective, behavioral concerns. Rather than blame the drug, now we blame the user.

If there is any issue of dependency now, it must be because the patient has an ‘addictive personality’. Want ‘proof’? Just look to the definition of dependency!

It may be no coincidence that this ‘brave new’ definition of the word ‘dependency’ was a result of the problems in the 1980′s of the benzodiazepine tranquilizers, or BDZ’s.

In the early 1980′s patients on BDZ’s began to notice something was very wrong. Many could not stop taking the drugs without having violent, painful reactions.

The drug users knew what was going on long before their doctors did. While doctors remained obtuse, there was loud and protracted denial from the drug manufactures and the governments involved.

By the mid 1980′s things had begun to get out of hand. This was in no small part due to the BDZ called lorazepam. Lorazepam was the first BDZ to have a very short half-life. As you may know, the half-life refers to the length of time needed for half of the drug to be metabolized by the body.

With a short half-life, the drug will be gone quicker, and if there were any withdrawal problems, they would tend to be more severe. With lorazepam there could be no more denial.

Lawsuits and the news media managed to change the very landscape of antidepressants and depression therapy. And by changing the very definitions of dependency and depression, the stage was set for the next ‘miracle’ cure for depression – the SSRI’s.

Leading the charge for this new class of drugs, Prozac was widely promoted to replace the BDZ’s since it was ‘safer’. In one sense that’s correct, since there’s less chance of killing yourself by overdosing on Prozac as opposed to Valium.

In addition to reading about the dirty trick of changing the definition of withdrawal, it’s also important to understand the underlying causes that would lead someone to such a painful place as antidepressant withdrawal.



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