Prescription drug addiction and abuse percentages have soared at alarming rates over the last few years. Remeron, and other antidepressants, are medications that have recently become subject to abuse, according to recent studies. This antidepressant medication has been FDA approved for treating severe depression since 1996. The generic name for this medication is mirtazapine; there have been other uses added to the FDA approved treatment list.
Addiction can take ahold of individuals, families, friends, and communities, leaving them feeling hopeless, helpless, and lost. The good news is, hope and help are around every corner. Research is proving that, with continued treatment, support, and education, addiction disorders can be treated and managed.
Remeron (Mirtazapine) is a prescription antidepressant that belongs in a class of drugs known as tetracyclic antidepressants. This group of drugs acts primarily as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and balances properties of the brain’s chemistry. This medication is not known for giving a euphoric high, but it does produce calming, mood-boosting effects that can help with depression and its symptoms.
Remeron is prescribed for severe depression and occasionally prescribed for other mental health disorders, like general and social anxiety. One of the off- label uses of mirtazapine includes addiction treatment, although the FDA has not yet approved this. There is current research being done, showing that there are benefits of using mirtazapine in drug and substance abuse recovery programs.
Addiction is a treatable complex brain disorder and mental illness. It is caused when drugs hijack the brain’s reward center, or compulsive behaviors, that interfere with how the neurons send, receive, and process signals through neurotransmitters. This alters the structure of the brain, making it necessary to increase the amount of substance being used to reach the desired effects. The brain is naturally wired to create habits that increase the pleasure; this causes a constant craving for the substance or behaviors that produce instant gratification leading to pleasure. Addiction is the uncontrollable substance use, despite its harmful consequences.
It is prevalent for a person struggling with addiction to have more than one compulsive behavior. Using two substances at a time can enhance the intoxicating effects of both substances, giving more of a euphoric high. Combining substances increases the potential for addiction, overdose, and death.
Comorbid addiction can also occur during treatment; it is known as addiction transference. Addiction transference refers to swapping or replacing one addiction with another. This can cause complications with recovery but is manageable and treatable with the proper guidance and foresight.
When being treated for addiction, it is common to have multiple diagnoses. This is very important to address during the recovery so that the treatment plan can include therapy for all conditions that may be influencing addiction and addictive behaviors. These co-occurring conditions can include physical disorders, such as back pain, combined with mental disorders, including depression. Treating the whole person is very important to the recovery process.
Remeron addiction is more common in young adults and vulnerable patient populations. Vulnerable populations include those with a history of substance abuse and individuals in controlled environments. Some reasons for the current increase in abuse of antidepressants include an increase in the availability of prescription medications, the creation of no-prescription needed websites, drug use and addiction have become more socially accepted, and people’s perception of prescription drugs is that they’re safer than using illegal drugs.
Signs of Remeron Addiction
The warning signs of Remeron addiction include psychological, behavioral, and physical changes. These can include:
- Needing more of mirtazapine to obtain the same effect.
- Taking the antidepressant longer than it is prescribed for.
- Dwelling on how to get more of the drug, the desired effects, and when to take the drug.
- Unable to stop using Remeron.
- Faking symptoms to receive more medication or Dr. shopping.
- Physical appearance has notably changed, including personal hygiene and behaviors.
Withdrawal Symptoms / Side Effects
When discontinuing the use of mirtazapine, consulting with a medical professional and receiving medical supervision are recommended. This antidepressant changes brain chemistry and causes physical dependence. Remeron should be tapered in the amount dosed over time instead of stopping cold turkey. Some of the physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal from mirtazapine can include:
- Headaches, dizziness, and vertigo
- Anxiety, panic attacks, and irritability
- Appetite changes
- Disturbed sleep
- Suicidal and self-harming thoughts
- Tremors and shaking
How Long Will Remeron Stay in the System?
Remeron (Mirtazapine) stays in the body for about 4 to 9 days after discontinuing use. The symptoms of withdrawal usually stop between several weeks and a month after discontinuing mirtazapine. The exact amount of time for this antidepressant to detox from the body depends on the length of time used and the amount used.
Treatment for Remeron Addiction
When starting a recovery program, it is essential to discuss the available medical and therapy services that are provided. Often, Remeron abuse and addiction are associated with comorbid addictions and co-occurring disorders. Finding treatment programs that facilitate and address all of these issues is very important to a successful recovery.
Types of Drug Treatment Rehabilitation Programs
There are generally two types of drug treatment programs available, inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment usually includes a medically supervised detoxification program, along with multiple therapy services to start the road to recovery.
Outpatient programs allow the patient to remain living at home while attending treatment sessions at a facility during preplanned and scheduled times. Outpatient programs are generally utilized after a patient has completed an inpatient drug treatment program because they allow for more independence and freedom.
Both programs may offer:
- Individual and group therapy sessions
- CBT and DBT training
- Medication management
- Dual diagnosis and comorbid addiction treatment
Long-Term Effects of Remeron Addiction
The effects of mirtazapine can include:
- Increased appetite
- Dry mouth
- Strange dreams
- Weight gain
The long-term effects of Remeron addiction can lead to an overdose, which can produce cardiac arrest, dangerously low blood pressure, seizures, and death.
Finding a treatment program that will benefit your unique situation is vital to recovery. Hope and guidance are waiting for you; please reach out and call. Addiction can be overcome with education, treatment, and support from specialists who care.