Medicines are a common treatment for mental health conditions. These medicines include Antidepressants, Antipsychotics, Mood Stabilisers, and Benzodiazepines.

A common concern that many have is that these mental health medicines could be addictive. This article explores this concern. In short, the majority of medicines are not addictive, but some are.

Most mental health medicines will not cause addiction

The overall situation

Overall, the majority of medicines used in the treatment of mental health conditions are not addictive. For example, antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilisers will not cause addiction.

But it is important to point out that benzodiazepines – which are normally only prescribed in the short-term, do have the potential to be addictive. So it is important to be very cautious with this class of medicines.

What is addiction?

Addiction refers to a state where a person is unable to stop taking a substance. They will often crave it, or feel they are unable to function without it. They will normally be aware that the substance is having a negative impact on their life.

Therefore, it is important to know about mental health medicines, and if they could fall into the above category. After all, when you are dealing with a mental health problem, the last thing you need is further problems.

Which mental health medicines are not addictive?

Antidepressants and antipsychotics are among the most-used mental health medicines. It is important to know that they are not addictive. People don’t crave these medicines like they do with addictive medicines like high-strength opioids. It is the same for mood stabiliser medication like Lithium.

These medicines target parts of the brain which are not associated with addiction. They are therefore safe to use in the long-term.

Which mental health medicines are addictive?

It is important to note that some medicines used in the treatment of mental health conditions do have the potential to be addictive.

For example, benzodiazepines like Diazepam (Valium) and Alprazolam (Xanax) are addictive. Their effect on the brain can result in craving if you take them for a long time.

However, if you just use these medicines in the short-term, no addiction should happen. If you do take these medicines on a long-term basis, make sure you are in contact with a doctor or specialist.

Caution of withdrawal

It is easy to think that as medicines like antidepressants and antipsychotics are not addictive, that you can withdrawn from them easily, without worrying.

But this is not true. If you do end up suddenly stopping taking these medicines, you are likely to experience some symptoms that resemble withdrawal symptoms, such as a headache, flu-like symptoms, and a temperature.

Therefore, while these medicines are not addictive, they can still cause withdrawal symptoms. Exerting caution when withdrawing from these medicines is crucial.


Taking these medicines can be very effective for your mental health. For the most part, they are not addictive. But when withdrawing from mental health medicines, you need to do so carefully.

It is important to always follow the instructions from your doctor. As long as you take the medicines for the length of time that you should, and at the dose prescribed, there should not be any problems.

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