Venlafaxine, otherwise known as effexor, is an SNRI antidepressant that is used in treating anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. In recent years, the use of antidepressants has increased significantly as its popularity has risen in the drug abuse market. In other words, Venlafaxine is quite easily available, which is why it is quite easily abused as well.
While essentially designed to treat generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, social phobia, and pain disorders, its continued use can lead to psychological addiction. That said Venlafaxine is not a physically addictive antidepressant. A Venlafaxine addiction can lead to a person continuing to abuse the substance in order to get high (intense euphoric reaction to drugs). Additionally, in some cases where a person has a strong tendency to develop physical addiction, Venlafaxine can become physically addictive, and may lead to one or more of the following complications:
Venlafaxine was intended to be a non-addictive antidepressant. Since it is an SNRI, it helps in elevating a person’s mood by regulating the neurotransmitters in the brain. However, frequent use of Venlafaxine is enough reason to suggest that a person is trying to achieve some sort of high. While the ‘high’ is essentially not associated with antidepressants, the abuse of Venlafaxine can lead to addiction, even more so when consumed with other types of drugs, or even alcohol.
Addiction likely occurs when a person has a co-occurring case of anxiety, depression, or other disorders that affect the mood. With a related substance addiction like alcohol and unhealthy eating habits, misuse of Venlafaxine becomes common. Major events in life like loss, death of a close friend or relative, or relationship complications can also lead to Venlafaxine abuse.
Some of the common signs of Venlafaxine addiction are related to both physical and psychological aspects of dependence. While Venlafaxine is not deemed as an addictive substance, its dependence can led to mild or severe withdrawal symptoms, including (but not limited to):
Long term abuse of antidepressants like Venlafaxine can result in mild to severe effects that touch both the physical and psychological health of a person. Common physical and psychological effects of Venlafaxine addiction include:
Other than the withdrawal symptoms mentioned above, there are other withdrawal symptoms that a person can feel from Venlafaxine addiction. Again, as mentioned before, Venlafaxine is a non-addictive antidepressant. However, long term abuse of the substance will lead to what is called an SSRI discontinuation syndrome, which is more or less like withdrawal symptoms.
The withdrawal symptoms from Venlafaxine can occur when a person stops consuming the drug abruptly after long term abuse, or decreases the dosage rapidly, or even when a dose is missed in controlled medication. In addition to experiencing the physical effects of Venlafaxine, a person can start to experience mild to severe psychological complications as well. For instance, some people can develop one or more of the psychological conditions mentioned above as a result of withdrawal from the substance.
While there is not much resource of information available on Venlafaxine addiction, there is however research on its interaction with other drugs, which is generally the most common way to get addicted to a non-addictive antidepressant like Venalafaxine. If a person abuses Venlafaxine in the long term, they will develop a dependence on the substance. If someone you know who has been on Venlafaxine and has exhibited behavioral and/ or mood changes, then contact a doctor immediately for checkup.