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Remeron Addiction & Abuse | Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Remeron (mirtazapine) is not considered to be an addictive drug, but some people have been known to abuse it because of its psychostimulant qualities.

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Abusing Remeron can cause physical dependence and lead to an individual experiencing withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, irritability, and restlessness, when use is stopped. If you have been abusing Remeron, addiction treatment may be needed.

What Is Remeron?

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Remeron is the brand name for the drug mirtazapine, which is a medication primarily used to treat depression. It acts as a tetracyclic antidepressant by boosting specific neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and norepinephrine

Patients are prescribed Remeron tablets to take primarily by mouth if a doctor believes it is a good fit for their needs after assessing risks versus benefits. Beyond this, the medication may also be prescribed to treat other conditions, such as anxiety, sleep disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Who Abuses Remeron?

The primary motivation behind most individuals’ abuse of mirtazapine appears to be using it for its psychostimulant characteristics. This includes increasing a user’s awareness and improving their focus or energy level while also potentially causing them to experience feelings of euphoria or contentment. 

Although high doses of mirtazapine have been reported to produce euphoric sensations coupled with increased energy levels by users, these impacts are notably temporary with no likelihood for long-term benefits. People who ingest too much of this medication can also face several serious complications, such as respiratory depression, sedation, or severe confusion.

Using mirtazapine as a means to achieve psychostimulant-like outcomes is both unsafe and generally ineffective. This medication should only ever be used as prescribed by a medical professional.

What Are the Causes of Remeron Addiction?

While the abuse of mirtazapine can have severe repercussions, it is important to emphasize that research has shown that antidepressants, such as mirtazapine, possess negligible potential to cause addiction.

The mechanism of action of antidepressants within the brain differs from opioids and other addictive drugs, leading to a general lack of euphoric effects. The therapeutic effects of antidepressant compounds usually take some time to take effect. Since effects aren’t felt in the short term, abuse is unlikely.

Misusing and abusing these medications still occurs, however. Individuals may take more than intended, mix their medication with other drugs, or take their drugs in a way that is different than prescribed. However, this misuse still won’t generally result in addiction. 

Abuse can still result in serious consequences, including potentially resulting in an overdose.

How Does Remeron Impact the Mind & Body?

The therapeutic effects of Remeron affect both the mind and body, causing alterations in neurotransmitter metabolism, which can improve a user’s psychological status when used correctly.

Operating mainly as a remedy for depression, this drug triggers elevated concentrations of crucial neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine, which are responsible for regulating mood. Used appropriately, this elevation helps to reduce feelings related to depression and anxiety. As a result, Remeron can help as a long-term treatment for these issues. 

Another favorable property linked to Remeron is its ability to induce sleepiness, which is why it is sometimes also used to treat sleep-related issues.

Remeron can cause a variety of physical side effects over time, including these: 

  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness 

In some cases, it may make certain activities less safe, such as driving or operating heavy machinery. In rare cases, Remeron can cause a serious drop in blood pressure, and it may increase a person’s risk of seizure.

The efficacy of Remeron as an antidepressant medication is backed by evidence, and it is generally safe if used as intended. However, its use can have both positive and negative impacts on mental and physical health that are worth considering. As with any prescription medication, discuss what to expect with your doctor when taking it as well as any potential issues that arise.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Remeron Addiction

While it is not considered to be addictive in the same way as other drugs, it is possible for people using Remeron for extended periods of time to develop a dependence on the drug. This can trigger uncomfortable withdrawal experiences if they stop taking it suddenly or decrease their dose too rapidly. 

Some withdrawal symptoms include feelings of anxiety or agitation coupled with insomnia. Other people’s reactions are much more pronounced, including extreme nausea or vomiting that require close medical attention. There have been some instances where patients have reported hallucinations or full-blown seizures.

If an individual has been using Remeron for an extended period and experiences these types of issues, they should gradually reduce their intake under the guidance of a healthcare specialist. Healthcare professionals are essential for management and safe discontinuation processes as well as presenting safe alternatives when necessary. 

You should not suddenly stop taking any antidepressant on your own without medical guidance.

Can You Overdose on Remeron?

Abusing antidepressants like Remeron can potentially result in a dangerous overdose. This can be signaled by several serious symptoms, including these: 

  • Severe dizziness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Significant drowsiness 
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slowed breathing

In most cases, Remeron overdose does not result in death with the most significant symptoms being drowsiness and lethargy. That being said, seek emergency medical attention if overdose is suspected. 

As is true of most drug abuse, a person’s risk of overdosing on Remeron is significantly increased if they mix the medication with other types of drug use. This type of drug abuse is called polydrug abuse. It is often most dangerous when mixing Remeron with depressants like opioids or alcohol. 

Don’t delay in seeking medical care. The faster an individual overdosing receives medical aid, the more likely they are to survive with no or minimal permanent harm resulting from their overdose.

How Treatment for Remeron Addiction Works

If you have been abusing Remeron and are unable to stop, it’s a sign that you need addiction treatment. A therapist can help you address underlying issues that contributed to substance abuse. You can also get care to address co-occurring disorders like depression.

If you have been taking Remeron (mirtazapine) as prescribed and want to stop, it is important to work with your doctor to safely discontinue the medication. A doctor will typically help you taper your medication, which makes withdrawal less likely and withdrawal symptoms less intense if they do occur. 

A doctor can also provide support and guidance as you transition away from using Remeron, offering alternative treatment solutions that can help control the symptoms you had been taking Remeron to treat. They can also adjust the tapering dose if symptoms peak.

Since reports of severe withdrawal from Remeron are rare, some people think they can taper on their own, but this can be risky. Medical supervision minimizes the risk of any serious consequences that could result from quitting and will help make sure you continue to get the treatment you need. You should also not change your dosing, either raising or lowering it, without talking with a medical professional and being told to make such changes.

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Medically Reviewed By Dr. Alison Tarlow

Dr. Alison Tarlow is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the States of Florida and Pennsylvania, and a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She has been a practicing psychologist for over 15 years. Sh... Read More

Updated January 19, 2024
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