Cymbalta is a prescription drug used in the treatment of anxiety, depression, diabetic nerve pain, and other chronic pain such as fibromyalgia. Cymbalta works as an SSNRI, or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. It is designed to increase energy levels, improve sleep, and improve appetite.
The generic name for Cymbalta is duloxetine, and both Cymbalta and duloxetine can only be received via prescription. Typical dosage for Cymbalta is 40-60 mg per day taken by time-released capsule. Although some people have been prescribed up to 120 mg per day.
Because Cymbalta comes in a time-released capsule, crushing up the pill or mixing it with a liquid can release all of the medication at once. This can be dangerous for someone trying to take it in this fashion. It can also increase a person’s risk for abuse or dependence on the drug.
Mixing the drug with alcohol or Tylenol can cause liver damage. Mixing with other drugs can cause serious, life-threatening side effects as well.
Cymbalta is not classified as an addictive drug, but discontinuation syndrome is popular in patients who stop using the drug.
Use of antidepressants in America has grown significantly in the last 30 years. While Cymbalta isn’t classified as an addictive substance, prolonged use of the drug can cause addictive behaviors and psychological dependency. These behaviors become a vicious cycle, because patients wind up taking more of the drug to prevent the painful side effects of withdrawal.
The drug does not cause a “high” when taken in large doses, which makes abuse rare. But, Cymbalta does have significant withdrawal symptoms when someone stops taking it. People who stop taking the drug abruptly can also experience suicidal thoughts.
Side Effects of Cymbalta Addiction
If Cymbalta is taken in large doses it can cause overdose. Overdose of duloxetine or Cymbalta is accompanied by severe side effects. These side effects are:
- loss of consciousness
- high or low blood pressure
If Cymbalta is taken for a prolonged period of time, patients have also developed weight gain.
Signs of Cymbalta Abuse
If you, or someone you know, has a history of severe depression or takes other antidepressant medications, are more at risk of misusing Cymbalta. Since there is no “high” users get from using the drug in large doses, it may be challenging to identify someone abusing Cymbalta.
People abusing the drug typically have trouble speaking. They can also have bloodshot eyes and trouble sleeping. Abusers of the medication can either sleep too much or too little.
Patients misusing the drug will also have a reduced appetite and can experience sudden changes in appearance and hygiene.
If a dependency on Cymbalta develops, individuals may also engage in other dependency behaviors such as faking symptoms or going to different doctors to get more of the medication.
Cymbalta Withdrawal Symptoms
It is never a good idea to abruptly stop taking any medication. If you’re considering stopping a medication, it’s always best to talk to your doctor about a medically-supervised tapering off of the drug.
If someone stops taking Cymbalta abruptly they may experience uncomfortable physical and mental health side effects such as:
- severe headaches
- suicidal thoughts
- burning or prickling sensation in arms, hands, legs, or feet
None of the side effects of Cymbalta withdrawal are deadly on their own. But, the fact that suicidal thoughts are possible makes medical supervision and a clinical detox program necessary most of the time. Side effects can be severe, and a medical detox program allows for 24/7 monitoring of the patient going through withdrawal. It can also allow for clinical treatment of the physical symptoms and mental health issues associated with withdrawal.
Timeline of Withdrawal
It’s difficult to pinpoint a timeline for withdrawal symptoms of Cymbalta addiction. When symptoms manifest, and how severe they are, depends largely on the individual. Some patients experience severe withdrawal symptoms for only a few days, while other patients may experience them for months.
Things like a patient’s weight, overall health, sleep patterns, exercise habits, diet, and history of substance abuse or withdrawal, all play a part in how they will be affected by Cymbalta.
Since withdrawal can be unpredictable and severe, the best way to stop taking Cymbalta or duloxetine is to speak with a doctor about being tapered off of the drug gradually. Discussing with your doctor will help them to come up with the specific detox treatment that is right for you.
Misusing Cymbalta, alcohol, or other drugs are behavioral problems that are a response to the stresses of life. Because of this, experts say that they are best treated with behavioral therapy.
This is even more reason that these behaviors should be met with a well-established rehab program. Not only will a rehab program keep behavioral and clinical treatments nearby, but it will also give patients an extended period of time in a safe, sober environment. This will help someone recovering from Cymbalta addiction to deal with all aspects of recovery.
Once the physical and mental health issues of withdrawal have been dealt with, social transition needs to begin as well. This social transition is helped through resources provided by your medical rehab facility.
Counselors in a detox facility may help with chemical dependency education. These resources can help addicts to understand why chemical dependency takes hold, what their individual triggers are, and how to best cope with them moving forward.
These facilities are also equipped with the ability to help recovering users transition back into everyday society. Services such as employment assistance and volunteer placement are important in helping those in recovery get back out into the community.
In addition, patients may be given access to local 12-step programs, group therapy, and other life skills development opportunities. These resources help to give individuals a strong, stable support group to lean on during the tough times of recovery. It always helps to have someone to lean on who knows what you’re going through.
Between counselors, clinical staff, and fellow residents, a detox facility can be the perfect place to give someone those resources. The resources to recover successfully and not worry about relapse or further addiction.