Cymbalta Addiction and Rehabilitation

Cymbalta Addiction Rehabilitation Header
Last Edited: March 15, 2020
Patricia Howard, LMFT, CADC
Clinically Reviewed
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and certified by an addiction professional.

Dangers of Cymbalta Abuse

Cymbalta is the brand name of the generic Duloxetine, an Antidepressant that inhibits the reuptake of Serotonin and Norepinephrine in the brain. Like other Antidepressants, Cymbalta is a prescription drug that is ordered for someone by a doctor and is primarily used to treat Depressive Disorder and Anxiety Disorder. It is important to say that these can be life-saving drugs for many people who suffer from Depression.

Many people wonder if Cymbalta is addictive or dangerous and the truth is, that when used as prescribed, Cymbalta is completely safe. Cymbalta is not classically addictive, it doesn’t cause any sense of euphoria and there is no clinical evidence that people are prone to abuse it. Despite this, as is the case with most drugs, it is possible to experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms with discontinued use, especially after taking the medication long-term.

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While Cymbalta is not considered an addictive substance, some people do abuse it, which can have dangerous consequences. This is more common among people who are also abusing other substances.

Types of Cymbaltas

There are few different types of Antidepressants which all work to inhibit the reuptake of some combination of the neurotransmitters: Serotonin, Norepinephrine, Noradrenaline, and Acetylcholine. Some Antidepressants like Wellbutrin, though they are the anomaly, also inhibit the reuptake of Dopamine and so are more prone to abuse and addiction. Cymbalta is a Selective Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (SSNRI) and some other SSNRIs are:Effexor, >Pristiq, Savella, Fetzima, Irenka (also Doloxetine).

Cymbalta Effects

How Cymbalta works isn’t completely understood, aside from being an SSNRI. It affects the transmission between nerve cells in a way that helps maintain a balance of chemicals in the brain. Cymbalta works to alleviate or lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Cymbalta can also help to relieve pain from Fibromyalgia or nerve damage and some other conditions. There are not many side effects of taking Cymbalta, but some do exist. The most common are dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, changes in vision, decrease in appetite, increased sweating. Of course, more are possible if you are using other substances with Cymbalta and depending on your predispositions. If you are experiencing any out of the ordinary side effects from Cymbalta, seek medical attention.

Warning signs of Cymbalta abuse in a loved one

While Cymbalta is not abused commonly, it is likely for someone with a substance abuse problem to attempt to abuse Cymbalta. If you concerned that a loved one is abusing substances, look out for indications. Someone who is abusing substances will withdraw from the activities he or she usually enjoys. Isolation from friends and loved ones, irritability, and erratic tendencies are typical behaviors in people who are addicted to or abusing substances.

Substance abuse is a serious matter that’s life threatening, but it may be hard to identify in a loved one. This is often the case with alcohol, which is more socially acceptable. It may also be hard to know if someone is abusing prescription medications.

If your loved one has more to drink than the rest of the group when you go out or if he or she drinks every day to relax or unwind, they may be abusing alcohol. Many people who abuse other drugs will drink alcohol simultaneously to enhance the effects.

Someone who is abusing prescription medications may run out of medication earlier than intended or become nervous when there are a few pills left. If your loved one begins to need much more of a medication to achieve the same results as before, they may be addicted.

Factual Dangers: Cymbalta

The common dangers of Cymbalta are the withdrawal side effects that occur with discontinued use, which can be quite severe. Suicidal thoughts are common to experience with discontinued use of Cymbalta, which could result in life-threatening behaviors. Other common and serious side effects of withdrawal are electric shock sensations called brain zaps, mood swings that abruptly turn irritability into rage, as well as seizures in some cases.

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Cymbalta Detox

For many people Cymbalta or Antidepressants in general are not the end all be all treatment. Instead, they use medication alongside talk and cognitive behavioral therapy to get on top of their mental illness. Once they feel that they have many tools for coping and maintaining their health, they may stop taking the drug.

While use of some Antidepressants can be safely stopped all at once, this is not the case with Cymbalta. Like most drugs, discontinuing use of Cymbalta will result in withdrawal side effects. Unfortunately, these side effects can be rather severe with Cymbalta and sometimes dangerous, especially after long-term use. That is why it is important to work with your doctor carefully if you are trying to get off the medication. It is best to slowly ween yourself off Cymbalta so that the body has time to adjust.

Even though it is physically safe to discontinue use of some Antidepressants abruptly, this is not usually recommended. The transition to independence from medication for someone with depression is a delicate one. If you have a history of substance abuse, experiencing withdrawal symptoms could trigger you to use. It is common to have suicidal thoughts and urges when getting off Antidepressants and particularly common with Cymbalta. Make sure you communicate with your doctor about changing your treatment.

Cymbalta During Rehab Treatment

Something that is encountered often in addiction treatment is dual diagnosis. This is when someone is not only suffering from a substance abuse disorder, but an additional physical or mental illness at the same time. Many people who experience addiction suffer from an untreated mental illness, often Depression. It is common to self-medicate when a mental illness is not being treated appropriately, to help cope with the challenges associated.

In treatment, professionals will help you uncover the root causes of your addiction so that you can begin to treat the deeper issues. This is done through doctor visits, one-on-one therapy and group therapy sessions. You will learn about how addiction changes the brain’s development and how decisions and judgements are made. If you enter a rehab facility and are suffering from depression, you may be prescribed an Antidepressant, like Cymbalta, as part of your treatment plan in recovery.

Depression is a serious condition that can be life threatening and needs to be treated as such. When Depression is not properly addressed, the individual is more at risk to substance abuse and possibly self-harm. Many people don’t stay on Antidepressants for the rest of their life and use cognitive behavioral therapy to become healthy independent from medication. For some, medications like Cymbalta are life-saving and the only way they can be healthy.

Dependency vs. Therapeutic Dose

It is important to speak carefully about addiction in relation to Cymbalta and other Antidepressants. While people who have developed addiction to other substances may attempt to abuse Cymbalta, it is not an addictive substance. This is the case with most Antidepressants. Cymbalta cannot be used compulsively to achieve any kind of high. Physical and psychological dependence are different things.

You can develop a tolerance to and dependence to Cymbalta, resulting in withdrawal symptoms that can be very unpleasant and sometimes dangerous if you discontinue use. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a substance is addictive though. With Antidepressants, there is a fine line between dependence, in the way it is talked about in addiction, and genuinely needing the drug to be healthy. Cymbalta corrects an imbalance of chemicals in the brain of someone who has depression. This correction is necessary for someone with depression.

Dependence in terms of addiction is when the body develops a dependence on the drug, from use or abuse, so that it begins to need the drug to function properly.  If you are prescribed Cymbalta and it works to alleviate your symptoms of depression or anxiety, then there already was a need for the drug. It is possible for someone to stop needing Cymbalta, but to have a psychological dependence on the drug. If this is the case, a doctor should be consulted.

Communicate with Your Doctor

It is important to maintain good communication with your doctor if you are on Cymbalta. If you have any kind of mental illness, you should meet with your doctor regularly about the status of that illness. Treatment plans will be unique for different patients, depending on the extent their current condition, personal history, family history and lifestyle. No one is equipped to treat mental illness all on their own, just like any other kind of serious illness. That is why it is imperative to have the guidance and insight of a doctor available, namely a psychiatrist.

Many people with depression, or anxiety, that is not being properly treated will abuse substances to ease their pain and discomfort. Cymbalta or another Antidepressant could be the solution that they need and may even be key to recovering from an addiction they may have formed to a substance. There is also the risk of harm to self, others, and even suicide in people who suffer from these mental illnesses, untreated. There are many different medications and methods for treating depression and anxiety. If you are trying Cymbalta, it may not be right for you. It is common for people to experience suicidal thoughts when they first start taking an Antidepressant. It is also possible to experience a number of unwanted side effects or uncommon reactions. These are other reasons to remain in communication with your doctor.

Intervention for Cymbalta Abuse

People who are depressed or suffering from anxiety often begin to abuse drugs in attempt to ease pain and discomfort. They may develop a substance abuse problem because of this and it may be difficult for them to understand how they are putting themselves in danger. If your loved one has developed a substance abuse problem, you may want to stage an intervention for them.

Interventions are a great way to reveal to someone the reality and its consequences. People who co-occurring conditions of mental illness and substance abuse often feel alone in their suffering. They may believe that no one cares about them anymore or that they have no one in their life who will help them out of the hole they are in. An intervention is a great way to show your loved one that you are still here, you still care, and that you are willing to be the support they need to recover.

Interventions need to be executed in a way that is sensitive to your loved one’s current state of mind and being. If made to feel attacked, blamed or judged, he or she may be pushed away from the support system into the addiction. Loved ones of individuals who suffer from addiction often face many challenges and endure pain or trauma. It is easy for their own pain to get in the way of the goal of the intervention and for this reason it may be a good idea to work with an interventionalist; to ensure that the intervention is executed in love, concern and support so that your loved one has the best possible chances of entering treatment. – Learn More

Recovery from Cymbaltas Abuse

Recovering from addiction is a very challenging feat and sometimes can seem overwhelming, especially if you are also suffering from depression or anxiety. It may seem as though you have sunk into a hole so deep that there is no way out, but this is simply not true. There are many people who are happily sustaining a long-term recovery from addiction.

It is hard, it takes courage, but you can do it because you are strong. People who go through addiction are fighters and have been through things that others couldn’t even fathom. Everyone needs help sometimes though, even the fighters. Don’t worry because there are many resources available and people who specialize in addiction treatment, people who are passionate about helping you achieve the life that you deserve.

The first step to recovery is entering treatment, when you do this, you will develop a treatment plan that suits your distinct needs with medical staff and your assigned therapist. Part of this plan will be therapy, one-on-one and group sessions, where you will learn about the nature of addiction and how it affects our brains and psyche. This will help you understand what has happened to you and why the specific methods of recovery that are used offer the best chance for success. You will work to uncover the root of your substance abuse disorder by examining your history, family relations, mental health, and personality type. You will also identify your triggers for using and develop coping skills and a plan for how to deal with those triggers.

Dangers of Cymbalta Overdose

If you believe that you or someone you know has overdosed on Cymbalta or any other substance, contact emergency services immediately. Overdose is life threatening and medical attention is necessary for individual’s safety and health. Cymbalta is a drug that helps many people, but its use requires a level of respect and responsibility. As with any substance, in excess Cymbalta can be extremely dangerous. Signs of an overdose on Cymbalta include feeling very sleepy, vomiting, fever and sweating, confusion, stiffness in muscles, elevated heart rate, drastic change in blood pressure, dizziness. Overdose on Cymbalta can cause coma and seizures.

Someone who is abusing other substances may try to abuse Cymbalta alongside them in hopes of elevating or achieving a high. Taking Cymbalta will not inebriate, but it is possible to accidentally overdose on it. There are many drugs that are known to negatively interact with Cymbalta. It would be particularly unsafe to mix Cymbalta with any illicit drugs, any form of pain medication—over the counter or prescription, or other mental health medications.

Older forms of Antidepressant medications more commonly resulted in overdose than Cymbalta and other more recent drugs. SNRIs and SSRIs don’t prove to be especially toxic, but taking too much of either will prove to be fatal. There is no set amount that would be considered toxic, it may vary from person to person. It is important to take Cymbalta if you are prescribed it and not to take more than the prescribed dose. – Learn More

More About Cymbalta & Depression

Cymbalta is a type of Prescription Antidepressant medication called an SNRI, or a Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor. It isn’t completely understood how Cymbalta works, but it’s main effect is that it inhibits receptors in brain from reabsorbing the neurotransmitters Serotonin and Norepinephrine. This makes it so that there are higher amounts of these neurotransmitters in active circulation at one time. Deficiencies of these neurotransmitters have been linked to depression and anxiety, so when a person suffering from one of these takes Cymbalta, it may help to balance these chemicals and relieve the symptoms of their illness. In this sense, Cymbalta and drugs like it are actually treating the physical issue and not just the symptom. Cymbalta can also be used to treat pain related to nerve damage or Fibromyalgia. This drug should only be taken if prescribed by a doctor.

Some people, especially those who are abusing other substances, may attempt to abuse Cymbalta even though it does not offer any effects of euphoria or a high. While a person can experience withdrawal symptoms from discontinuing use of Cymbalta, as with most medications, it is not addictive in the traditional sense. Someone who is prescribed Cymbalta may develop a psychological dependence on it. For instance, a person may not actually need a medication, but could believe that they do in fact need it. This is a complicated thing to try to discuss, though. Antidepressants in general have been debated by many as nothing more than a placebo, though there is a lot of research that suggests otherwise.

Depression as a disorder is complicated and there is much that is still not understood about it. We can identify depression as a group of symptoms and also as a chemical imbalance in the brain. The ultimate cause of depression is not known, though. Study suggests that the chemical imbalance can be present originally, possibly due to genetic makeup, causing the symptoms and feelings of depression. Studies also show, though, that certain events and conditions can induce the feelings and symptoms of depression which will coincide with a chemical imbalance in the brain. Medications like Cymbalta can help either of these cases, but may not be necessary indefinitely. This is to say that if environmental and lifestyle conditions can cause depression, they can possibly relieve it as well. Many people work with therapists to try this approach, and it is usually advised to do so while taking any medication for Depression as well.

Recent studies about addiction and substance abuse suggest that counter to previous belief, substances themselves do not cause addiction. Instead, it seems that challenging, isolating, or traumatic environmental aspects and poor emotional health are the causes for addiction. It isn’t surprising, then, that many people who develop addiction to substances also suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental illness. If their mental illness goes untreated, they are likely to self-medicate with a substance. Even when they begin to see negative effects from their use of the substance, they may not see any reason or possibility to get better. Simultaneously, even if the substance is bad for them, it is also giving them some relief from the pain they face. This is why drugs like Cymbalta, as well as mental health education and services, are so important to the recovery community.

If you believe that you are suffering from depression or addiction, or both, know that you are not alone. Many people fighting mental health challenges, as well as people who have developed addiction, feel that they are utterly alone. Some of them feel unworthy of help or even love and believe that what is best for everyone is to continue their isolation from loved ones. Some don’t believe that there is any solution and feel absolutely hopeless. The reality is, though, that you are not hopeless. You are worthy, others can benefit from your presence and influence in their lives and there is a solution. There are many options, many resources for people with mental illness and for people with substance abuse disorder that can help you. You can live a life that you never imagined, a happy and healthy one, surrounded by people who you care about and doing things that you are passionate about.

There are rehab programs available for people who are suffering from addiction. In rehab, medical professionals and therapists will assess your case and create a treatment plan that specifically suits your needs. In rehab, you will learn about the nature of addiction and how it affects the brain so that you can understand what has happened to you. You will identify triggers for your use and develop coping methods. Beyond rehab and traditional therapy services, there are also meetings, programs like the Twelve-Step that incorporate sponsors and mentors who have been through similar experiences as you, other alternative programs and many other resources for addiction recovery and treatment.

Short & Long-term Effects

Cymbalta does a lot of good for people who have depression, anxiety, and other disorders that it treats. Particularly for people who struggle with mental illness, Cymbalta helps many to feel as if they have gotten their life back. Cymbalta can help people with depression to feel happy again, like they have some control in their life and that they have value. This isn’t the effect that it has on anyone, though, only people who have a chemical imbalance.

Of course, you can experience side effects from taking Cymbalta and other SNRIs as with most drugs. Whah of these you may experience varies from person to person and some people don’t experience any. The most common side effects of Cymbalta are increased sweating, fatigue, decrease in appetite, dry mouth, nausea and constipation. People also can experience vomiting, stomachache and heartburn, diarrhea, lessened sexual interest, dizziness, muscle aches and headaches.

There is not much record of the long-term effects of Cymbalta. There may be the possibility of liver damage after long-term use or abuse of the drug, though this is common with many medications. It is important to stay in close communication with your doctor while on this drug and record any reactions you notice or changes in your health. It is important to work with your doctor to make sure that your treatment is the best possible fit for your needs. It is common for those needs to change over time, especially when treating mental health, and so those changes must be addressed as well

Family Therapy

Family therapy can be beneficial to someone recovering from addiction, especially if they also struggle with depression or other mental illness. Having a strong support system of loved ones is a key element of recovery and the family unit is, for many people, the main source of this support. When someone reintegrates into the family as a positive contributing member of the unit, he or she will be more equipped to reintegrate into the larger society as a positive member.

Often, individuals who have developed addiction have experienced trauma early in their lives that can nearly always be somehow traced to family dynamics, either as a result them or as a cause of shift in them. Either way, the entire family can benefit from working through these experiences to accept them and learn how to cope better and support each other. No family is perfect; there is always regret, blame, resentment, and strife between family members. This is normal, of course, but family therapy will ease these common issues and make room for forgiveness, acceptance, love and care.

It is common for addiction to be a family affair, sometimes linked to genetic depression or mental illness. Family therapy can get everyone on the same page so they can all move forward together toward a healthier lifestyle. Even when addiction has only taken hold of one person in the family, everyone else is effected and often the other members hold on to trauma and pain that the addiction resulted in, which family therapy can also help to resolve.

True Stories of Addiction: Katie’s Battle with Addiction

Your loved one feels isolated and alone in their fight against their addiction. Give them the backup that they need. Holding an intervention for a loved one not only brings their problem to the surface, but shows them that people still care about them. They might be in denial with other people, but most people who have a substance abuse problem are not in denial with themselves. Deep down inside, they know they need help. If you show them that they have support if they decide to get that help, they will be more willing to go to rehab. Let them know that you are not giving up on them.

Find out More about your available options today (866) 578-7471.

Co-Occuring Disorders

It can’t be stressed enough the role that depression and mental illness play in addiction. Co-occurring disorders are incredibly common in people who have developed a substance abuse disorder. Usually people who experience the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental illness that are not treated can become desperate for relief of those unpleasant realities.

Substances can sometimes offer temporary reprieve and when many aspects of a person’s life are already unhealthy and unfulfilling, it isn’t difficult to return to substances over and over because the negative consequences don’t seem to matter anymore. Depression and anxiety are not things that we can perfectly control, and it is not your fault if you are suffering from them. These are common disorders that can a person can be born with or that could come about from trauma or extended misfortune. There are many reasons why individuals experience these common conditions and what is important is that they are addressed and treated appropriately by psychological and medical professionals.

Depression and anxiety can so often lead people to harm themselves and even suicide. There are roughly 44,193 suicides every year just in the United States. No doubt, many of these cases were people who had mental illness that went untreated. It is important to understand that addiction is no one’s fault and that everyone deserves a chance to be healthy and happy. Seeking proper treatment for mental illness and for substance abuse disorder could save your life. – Learn More

Cymbalta & Antidepressant Prescriptions on the Rise

More than sixteen percent of Americans are on some kind of psychiatric medication, which is about one in six people in this country. These people are primarily on Antidepressants as about thirteen percent of Americans are on Antidepressants. In the last twenty years, the percentage of Americans taking prescription Antidepressants has nearly doubled. As awareness of mental health becomes more common and prevalent, it is possible that more people who are in need are seeking treatment.

This rise could also be attributed to better access to healthcare or better coverage of insurance companies for mental health services. Of course, there is no way of knowing whether the rise in people medicated indicates a rise in people who are affected my mental illness, but this is a possibility as well. It happens to be the case that about fourteen percent of Americans will struggle with substance abuse disorder, which is about one in seven. Perhaps there is a correlation.

It may be helpful to return to the debate of environment’s part in depression as we try to understand this. If our society primarily offers a stressful and isolating life of working long hours and barely affording to survive, then there should be no surprise that so many people are seeking treatment for depression. Considering that addiction also is related to environmental factors, it is imperative to establish as much security and support in our environment as possible and that treatment is sought for any struggles with mental illness. – Learn More