People often mix stimulants and antidepressants when they are using drugs recreationally. However, many do not realize that mixing these two substances intentionally can have serious consequences. Doing so increases the risk of accidental overdose, coma, and death.
What Are Stimulants?
Stimulants are drugs that increase alertness, attention, and energy. They work by increasing the activity of certain chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. Stimulants can be prescribed by a doctor to treat medical problems such as narcolepsy or ADHD. But they are also frequently misused for their stimulating effects.
Common Stimulants Misused
Commonly misused stimulants include both prescription medications and illicit drugs, including:
What Do Stimulants Do to the Brain and Body?
Stimulants affect the brain by increasing dopamine levels, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. They can also increase heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, alertness, and energy levels. Additionally, stimulants can increase focus and concentration and also improve physical performance. Unfortunately, they can also cause anxiety, irritability, and insomnia when taken in high doses or for extended periods.
What Are Antidepressants?
Antidepressants are a class of medications used to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. They work by increasing levels of certain brain chemicals, such as serotonin, which helps regulate mood. Commonly prescribed antidepressants include SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). Antidepressants may take several weeks to become fully effective, but they can be very helpful in managing the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Common Antidepressants Misused
Some of the more commonly misused antidepressants include:
- MDMA (Ecstasy)
- GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyrate)
- Wellbutrin XL
What Do Antidepressants Do to the Brain and Body?
Antidepressants increase certain brain chemicals like serotonin levels, which help regulate mood, sleep, appetite, and other body functions. This can help improve symptoms of depression, such as sadness, low energy levels, social withdrawal, and suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
Antidepressants can also reduce anxiety and panic attacks, improve focus and concentration and enhance the overall quality of life for those suffering from depression or related mental disorders.
However, people sometimes misuse antidepressants because they produce feelings of euphoria and increased energy. People may misuse antidepressants to self-medicate mental health issues, cope with stress, or get high. Unfortunately, this misuse can increase the risk of addiction, dangerous side effects, and potential overdose.
Dangers of Mixing Stimulants and Antidepressants
Mixing stimulants and antidepressants can be extremely dangerous. Stimulants increase the activity of certain brain chemicals, while antidepressants work to balance them out. Taking both simultaneously can lead to an imbalance in these neurotransmitters which can cause serious side effects such as confusion, heart palpitations, heart failure, respiratory failure, agitation, paranoia, seizures, accidental overdose, coma, and death.
Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Mixing Stimulants and Antidepressants
Short-term effects of mixing stimulants and antidepressants include confusion, anxiety, increased heart rate and blood pressure, restlessness, insomnia, nausea, and vomiting. Long-term effects can include an increased risk of physical dependence and addiction and serious mental health issues such as depression. In extreme cases, taking both simultaneously can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
How are People Mixing Stimulants and Antidepressants?
People may mix stimulants and antidepressants in several ways. For example, they may take them together or one type of medication before the other. Some people even combine different kinds of stimulants with different types of antidepressants to get more intense effects.
Furthermore, the most common way they are misused is by taking them orally, either by swallowing pills or capsules or dissolving them in liquid. Some people also take these drugs intravenously by injecting a solution into their veins. Additionally, some people may grind tablets and snort the powder to get an even stronger effect.
It is important to note that mixing these drugs is very dangerous and should never be done.
In addition, mixing these drugs increases the risk of physical dependence and addiction.
Signs of Stimulant and Antidepressant Addiction
Signs of stimulant and antidepressant addiction include increased drug tolerance, difficulty controlling use, cravings, mood swings, and withdrawal symptoms. Other signs may include changes in behavior like isolation from friends and family, financial problems due to drug-seeking behaviors, engaging in risk-taking behaviors, or neglecting responsibilities.
How Does Medical Detox Help?
Medical detox is a process by which the body is slowly weaned from stimulants and antidepressants. During this process, medical professionals will monitor vital signs and provide medication to alleviate withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, or cravings. Medical detox can be an essential step in recovery for those suffering from addiction to these substances.
Stimulant and Antidepressant Withdrawal Timeline
The timeline of stimulant and antidepressant withdrawal can vary from person to person. Generally, the acute phase of detox lasts about a week or two and is characterized by severe physical symptoms. Eventually, the symptoms subside after they peak.
The post-acute phase typically lasts another two weeks as psychological symptoms last longer. During this time, cravings may still be present, as well as fatigue, depression, insomnia, and anxiety. These symptoms will also peak eventually and then gradually subside.
Personalized, Luxury Medical Detox Center in Nashville, TN
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, it’s important to seek help from a qualified treatment center like Detox Nashville. Substance misuse can have devastating consequences. Additionally, mixing stimulants and antidepressants recreationally can lead to serious health complications, including heart attack, seizure, and even death. Our compassionate team of addiction specialists can provide personalized care and support to help you overcome addiction and achieve lasting recovery.
Contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs and take the first step towards a healthier, happier life.