- Classification: Stimulant CSA
- Schedule: Schedule II
- Trade Name: Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa
- Medical Uses: Depression, anxiety
- Physical Dependence: Possible
- Psychological Dependence: Possible
- Tolerance: Yes
- Duration (hours): 1-3
- Usual Method: Oral, injected, snorted
- Possible Effects: Insomnia, irritability, anxiety, agitation, tremors, hostility
- Effects of Overdose: Agitation, increased body temperature, rapid pulse, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hallucinations, convulsions, possible death
- Withdrawal Syndrome: Anxiety, Insomnia or vivid dreams, headaches, dizziness, tiredness, irritability, depression
Medications designed to treat anxiety and depression fall into the category of psychotherapeutic or psychotropic drugs. In general, they have made it possible for people with anxiety and depression to function on a daily basis and, in many cases, lead virtually normal lives without restrictions imposed upon them by their conditions.
Because each individual reacts to medications in his or her own way and because their response to medications may vary, pharmaceutical companies have developed many different drugs to treat anxiety and depression. These medications work in different ways and affect a variety of biochemical pathways and several areas of the brain.
Antidepressants fall into the categories of:
• Amphetamines (Adderall, Ritalin),
• Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) (Nardil, Parnate, Marplan),
• Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) (Pamelor, Tofranil, Vivactil, Elavil).
Generally, the drugs prescribed to treat anxiety fall into the categories of:
• Benzodiazepines (Valium, Librium, Stelazine, Thorazine),
• Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) (Effexor, Cymbalta)
• Norepinephrine dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs)
• Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro)
Origins of Antidepressant use
Antidepressants were discovered in 1950s. While searching for a treatment for schizophrenia, the scientists at the Munsterlingen asylum in Switzerland found a drug that alters the balance of the brain’s neurotransmitters (the biochemical structures that control mood, pain and other sensations) and sends the patients into euphoria. The scientists soon realized that they made the “perfect pill” for patients with depression. During their first trial in 1955, some patients found themselves sociable and energetic. They called these drugs “miracle cures”. The drug, called imipramine and marketed as Tofranil in 1958, immediately got dozens of rivals as drug companies rushed to take advantage of the market.
The drugs provided relief to 65% to 85% of patients, but they also caused serious side effects, including sluggishness, weight gain and occasionally death from overdose. Back then, everyone started looking for a better pill, and it wasn’t long before scientists produced a new one. Prozac was the new “miracle cure”, which hit the U.S. market in 1987, followed by Zoloft in 1991 and Paxil in 1992. Instead of blanketing a broad range of brain chemicals, the drugs focused on a specific effect and were known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – SSRI’s.
These drugs were a massive success. The annual sales in U.S. easily topped $1 billion. By 1993, Prozac had been taken by at least 10 million people around the globe.
These drugs have been wildly prescribed, and use extends far beyond the depressed patients for whom they were initially approved. Doctors have prescribed them to everyone from seniors to preteens for everything from PMS to fear of public speaking. Prozac is used even in veterinary medicine for dogs that seem a little sad.
How Antidepressants are consumed
Antidepressants can be used and abused in many different ways. The drug’s effects change depending on the administration pathway, the way the user consumes the drug into their bloodstream. Like most stimulants, antidepressants can be taken orally as tablets, capsules, or liquids but they can also be snorted or injected into a vein.
The oral abuse of antidepressants is the most common method of consumption among the users. When administering antidepressants orally, the user does not reach an intense euphoria state. Through oral administration, the user would need to take an increased dose of antidepressants to get to the desired euphoric effects.
Another way of abusing the drug is by snorting them into the nose. When snorted, the antidepressants reach to the brain faster than when they are taken orally. A user will feel the effects in about five minutes. Also, snorting these drugs often causes intense burning in the nostrils.
Some people dissolve antidepressants in water and inject the mixture into the vein with a needle. Once the drug gets into the bloodstream, it can cause the effects within seconds
Benzodiazepines like Valium, Librium, Xanax and barbiturates like phenobarbital, pentobarbital and secobarbital, may be abused, taken orally or crushed and snorted. Stimulants like Ritalin, Dexedrine may be taken orally, crushed and snorted, or liquefied and injected into a vein with a needle.
Effects of Antidepressant Use
Short Term Use Effects:
• Irregular heartbeat
• Intense anxiety
• Violent behavior
• Suicidal thoughts
• Irregular heartbeat