Antidepressants are prescription drugs that are used to treat symptoms of mental health disorders like depression, social anxiety disorder, anxiety disorders, seasonal affective disorder, dysthymia, and more. They’re designed to regulate or correct a chemical imbalance in the brain that is believed to be responsible for changes in mood and behavior. As with other medications, it’s important to take antidepressants as prescribed, as too low of a dose can be ineffective, and too high of a dose can be dangerous. If you’re taking medication for depression or anxiety, below are some signs your antidepressant dose is too high.
5 Signs Your Antidepressant Dose Is Too High
Antidepressants can be game-changers for people with depression or anxiety. These medications have helped numerous people achieve remission from their disorders, allowing them to live happy and full lives that aren’t controlled by mental illness.
However, as with any medication, taking too much antidepressant medication can be dangerous and even negate its pros. If you’re taking medication for depression or anxiety, below are some tips on how to know if your antidepressant dose is too high.
You Feel Agitated
Agitation and mood swings are normal in people with certain mental health disorders, but these symptoms may also occur if someone reacts negatively to certain medications. Because antidepressants attempt to regulate a chemical imbalance by adjusting the levels of certain neurotransmitters – such as serotonin – someone who takes too high of a dose may experience mood swings and emotional side effects like agitation and confusion.
As you can imagine, for someone who’s taking medication to alleviate any adverse and emotional symptoms of a mental disorder, these side effects can be unexpected, discouraging, and can contribute to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as taking higher doses. If you experience any severe moodiness or irritation while taking antidepressants, speak to your doctor right away. Do not take higher or more frequent doses in an attempt to alleviate symptoms.
You Struggle to Stay Awake
Antidepressants can make you feel more sleepy or less sleepy than usual. They can also affect your libido and sex life, which can also affect your sleep.
Antidepressants can also cause vivid and disturbing dreams, myoclonus (sudden jerking of the limbs, especially at night and when sleepy), as well as seizures. If you’re struggling to stay awake or have trouble sleeping, then your dose may be too high.
You Show Symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome
The most common signs your antidepressant dose is too strong are symptoms of serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome occurs when a medication you’re taking increases levels of serotonin in the body, causing it to accumulate. This can lead to symptoms like agitation, confusion, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, muscle rigidity, loss of muscle coordination, and more.
Symptoms of serotonin syndrome are most likely to occur when someone starts taking medication or adds another medication to their regimen. If you experience any of these symptoms, speak to your doctor right away. While serotonin syndrome is curable, it can become life-threatening if left untreated.
Your Mood or Energy Improve Too Much
Although the goal of taking antidepressant medication is to improve the person’s mood and other symptoms of their mental illness, too much of an improvement in a short period can indicate a serious problem. Depression medications can sometimes cause mood swings, especially in people who have bipolar disorder or have a family history of the disease.
If you’re taking antidepressant medication and you either feel unusually elated, or you become very terse with your loved ones, feel noticeably more irritable, or have an uncharacteristic bout of rage, then it’s likely that your antidepressant dose is too high.
Your Depression Is Gone
If you’ve been taking an antidepressant for at least six months and have achieved remission, it’s important to slowly wean off your medications with the help of your doctor. Antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can lead to withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking them, so it’s important to work with your physician in slowly reducing your doses.
Help for Antidepressant Abuse
If you’re taking medication for depression or an anxiety disorder, you should be aware of the signs your antidepressant dose is too high to avoid any complications or worsening symptoms. In addition to serotonin syndrome and overdose, antidepressants also come with the potential for abuse and addiction.
It’s understandable why people taking these medications may feel frustrated or confused when they don’t work as promised. Oftentimes, a lack of effectiveness leads patients to take more doses than they’re prescribed, which does more harm than good.
If you or someone you care about has developed a drug problem with an illicit or prescription drug, our Clearbrook rehab in Pennsylvania can help. We offer different levels of care for substance abuse treatment, including prescription drug addiction treatment.
Held at a residential level of care, patients undergoing our Pennsylvania drug treatment work one-on-one with our therapists and specialists to recover from the physical, mental, and social impact of drug and alcohol abuse. No matter the type or severity of the substance use disorder, Clearbrook Manor in Wilkes Barre can make long-term sobriety possible.
For more information about our drug and alcohol treatment in PA, call Clearbrook Treatment Centers today at 570-536-9621.