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Cymbalta Addiction: Abuse, Side Effects, Detox, Withdrawal, and Treatment

cymbalta pills

What is Cymbalta (Duloxetine)?

Cymbalta is a prescription drug that has been approved to treat anxiety, depression, neuropathic pain related to diabetes, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain. As a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SSNRI), Cymbalta works by restoring balance in the brain and improving sleep, energy, appetite, and energy levels.

Cymbalta is the brand name for the drug duloxetine and it is only legally available with a prescription. A dose comes in the form of a time-released capsule and while the typical dose is usually 40-60 mg daily, some people take up to 120 mg per day.

Since this drug is intended to be taken as a time-released capsule, crushing the pill or mixing it with a liquid will release all of the medication at once at cause harmful side effects or increase a user’s risk for dependence and misuse.

Additionally, taking Cymbalta with other drugs or alcohol can cause serious or life-threatening side effects and long-term use of duloxetine with alcohol or Tylenol can cause severe liver damage.

Although Cymbalta is not classified as an addictive drug, discontinuation syndrome is common among people who suddenly stop using SSRI antidepressants like Cymbalta. Discontinuation syndrome can be very uncomfortable and may cause symptoms like dizziness, numbness or tingling sensations, lethargy, problems sleeping, irritability, anxiety, irritability, nausea, and vomiting.

According to Psych Central, up to 80 percent of people who quit using Cymbalta experienced discontinuation syndrome.

About Cymbalta Abuse and Addiction

Three decades ago, less than one in 50 Americans used antidepressants. Today, one in nine Americans takes an antidepressant like Cymbalta, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Although Cymbalta is not addictive, people taking the drug can quickly succumb to the classic addictive behaviors and cycle of dependence because they need more of the drug to prevent the uncomfortable side effects of withdrawal.

Cymbalta abuse is rare since the drug does not cause a high when it is taken in large doses. However, if a person suddenly stops taking it, they may experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and may also have suicidal thoughts.

Side Effects of Cymbalta Abuse

Although abuse of Cymbalta rarely happens, taking extremely large doses of the drug can cause overdose which is characterized by several severe side effects, including:

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Vomiting
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma
  • Seizures

People who take Cymbalta as prescribed on a long-term basis also report experiencing weight gain.

Signs and Symptoms of Cymbalta Abuse and Addiction

People who have a history of severe depression or who take one or more antidepressant drugs may be more at risk of misusing or abusing Cymbalta. Some signs and symptoms of addiction and prescription drug abuse are:

  • Slurred speech
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Faking symptoms to get Cymbalta prescriptions
  • Sudden changes in physical appearance and hygiene
  • Financial problems
  • Reduced appetite
  • Sleeping too much or too little

Cymbalta Detox and Withdrawal

If a person suddenly stops taking Cymbalta, they may experience unpleasant physical and psychological side effects known as withdrawal. Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Severe headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Paresthesia (burning or prickling sensation in arms, legs, hands, or feet)
  • Irritability
  • Nightmares and insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Excessive sweating
  • Vertigo
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts

Although the side effects of Cymbalta withdrawal are not deadly on their own, suicidal thoughts may occur, so medical and clinical monitoring is often necessary. Additionally, since Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms can also be severe, users should rely on an experienced medical professional to gradually taper their use of the drug instead of suddenly discontinuing all use.

A medical detox program can safely wean a person off the drug while providing safe, medical monitoring for an extended period of time. A professional detox program can also provide medical and clinical treatment for withdrawal symptoms and depressive episodes.

Cymbalta Withdrawal Timeline

Unfortunately, it is difficult to provide an exact timeline for Cymbalta withdrawal because the severity and duration of the symptoms will vary greatly from person to person. While some people may experience moderate to severe symptoms for a few days, others will continue to experience symptoms for months after discontinuing Cymbalta use.

Although it’s impossible to determine exactly how long Cymbalta withdrawal will take, the safest way to stop using the drug is with professional medical treatment. An experienced doctor will be able to provide adequate treatment and gradual tapering with a detox program that meets your specific needs.

Treatment for Cymbalta Addiction

Although a Cymbalta detox program can effectively and safely wean a person off the drug, he or she may choose to continue treatment with a rehab program. Despite the fact that Cymbalta is not classified as an addictive drug, many people who misuse it or become dependent on it may also abuse other substances like prescription drugs or alcohol.

Using Cymbalta, alcohol, or other addictive substances to cope with life stressors is a behavioral problem that should be addressed with therapy and clinical treatment. An inpatient or outpatient drug rehab program can provide effective addiction treatment and therapy to address the underlying issues that contribute to substance abuse habits. Enrolling in a rehab program also provides clients with an extended amount of time in a safe and sober environment. This encourages physical and mental healing and opportunities to begin implementing healthy behaviors and habits.

Throughout the duration of a drug rehab program, clients gain the knowledge and skills they need to stay sober. A rehab program for recovering addicts often includes:

  • Chemical dependency education
  • 12-Step Program work
  • Relapse prevention strategies
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Life skills development

In completing a rehab program, a person who struggles with drug addiction or prescription drug abuse can overcome those behavioral problems and learn how to deal with difficult life circumstances and physical health problems without abusing drugs or alcohol.

Inpatient Drug Rehab vs. Outpatient Drug Rehab for Cymbalta Addiction

A person recovering from Cymbalta abuse or polysubstance abuse may choose to enroll in a residential rehab program or an outpatient rehab program. Most people who need medical treatment for Cymbalta withdrawal will not need the intensive treatment a residential rehab program provides. However, an outpatient rehab program can be extremely helpful, especially for someone who abuses multiple drugs including Cymbalta or who has a history of substance abuse problems.

When choosing between a residential drug rehab program and an outpatient drug rehab program, it’s helpful to know the difference between the two.

  • A residential rehab program is an inpatient program that provides gender-specific addiction treatment, sober living spaces, and a structured daily regimen for people who are recovering from addiction. Clients live onsite throughout the duration of their treatment, although recovery programs often allow for day passes off campus to visit family and loved ones. Residential rehab is great for anyone who has previous substance abuse problems or who thrives with a high level of structure.
  • An outpatient drug rehab program is another type of addiction treatment program that provides recovery support and behavioral therapy in a less structured environment. Clients attend a series of group meetings and are free to live at home, work, and attend school while they are completing their treatment. Outpatient rehab is an excellent resource for people who recently completed a Cymbalta detox program and need to address compulsive, addictive behaviors for a full recovery.

The cost of an inpatient or outpatient rehab program for Cymbalta abuse will also vary, depending on several factors like:

  • The type of addiction treatment program(s) offered
  • The facility’s amenities
  • The location of the rehab center
  • The duration of the program

Payment options for inpatient or outpatient drug rehab may include health insurance benefits, Employee Assistance Program (EAP) benefits, private financed loans, and out-of-pocket payments.

Continued Care Options for Cymbalta Addiction Treatment

After completing a rehab program, there are additional options for continued addiction treatment. Sober living programs and aftercare programs are both excellent resources for people in recovery, especially those who are new to sobriety or who have struggled with chronic relapse in the past.

Sober Living Programs

Sober living homes provide gender-specific sober living environments for people in recovery. They serve as a transitional living situation and offer additional support services to help residents make the transition into a life of independent sobriety.

While enrolled in a sober living program, clients must adhere to the community rules and standards of the house. They must also maintain a clean living environment, work to achieve the objectives of their recovery program, and abstain from any drug or alcohol use.

Many sober living homes also offer additional recovery support services to ease the transition into sobriety, such as:

  • Employment assistance
  • Volunteer assistance
  • Regular drug testing
  • Tiered recovery programs
  • Sober coaches
  • Community events for sober residents
  • Personal monitoring programs
  • Family support

The cost of a sober living home will vary depending on several factors including the location, the recovery support services offered, the type of amenities, and available opportunities for scholarships.

Aftercare Programs

Aftercare programs are tailored to the needs of people who have already completed a drug and alcohol rehab program. They provide personal accountability with weekly group meetings facilitated by an addiction treatment professional.

Aftercare meetings are designed to be safe and supportive environments where people in recovery can share and listen respectfully. They can also be used as weekly check-ins for people in recovery who want ongoing accountability with their sober peers.

Someone who misuses Cymbalta will benefit from a medical detox program and may also find value in continuing treatment with a rehab, sober living, or aftercare program. Nova Recovery Center provides personalized addiction treatment programs with a full continuum of care designed to carry clients through each stage of the recovery process. Call today to speak with an admissions representative.

References:

  1. https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/cymbalta
  2. https://www.verywellmind.com/duloxetine-cymbalta-1066950
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248214.php
  4. https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-discontinuation-syndrome/
  5. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/2016/080.pdf
  6. https://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.pn.2017.pp9b2
  7. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/021427s018lbl.pdf
  8. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/nda/2010/022516Orig1s000_Lbl.pdf

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