Although addiction has deep physiological roots, it is defined in terms of behavior. Addiction is the repeated use of harmful substances despite experiencing significant negative consequences.
Dependence, on the other hand, is just physiology. Dependence is a natural phenomenon where your body has a negative, opposite reaction, after stopping a substance. For example, if you stop taking blood pressure pills after years of taking them, we would expect rebound hypertension–an immediate increase in blood pressure that may exceed your baseline, untreated level.
Dependence can occur with any medication. And yes, dependence is a common symptom in addiction. But dependence alone is not addiction.
Can you be dependent on antidepressants? Of course. It happens all the time. Can you be addicted? No. It is almost never a concern. There may be other reasons to consider an alternative treatment, but don’t worry about antidepressant addiction.
[Note: there are some rare circumstances where people snort antidepressants when nothing else is available. That’s usually only people in really desperate circumstances who have already developed the behavioral patterns of addiction with other substances. It really isn’t that rewarding. For the average person with depression, there is essentially no reason to be concerned.]
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