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Home » Lexapro Abuse Causes, Statistics, Addiction Signs, Symptoms & Side Effects

Lexapro Abuse Causes, Statistics, Addiction Signs, Symptoms & Side Effects

What is Lexapro?

There are several antidepressants in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class, and Lexapro (chemically known as escitalopram) is one of them. It is a popular antidepressant and is easily acquired. Since it is so popular, it makes it easier to get which can promote a Lexapro addiction. Lexapro’s primary uses are for treating major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Another reason for its popularity is it is one of the few antidepressants that can be prescribed to children as young as 12 years old. Lexapro is also used to treat obsessive-compulsive anxiety disorder, panic disorder and social disorder. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that Lexapro is physically non-addictive.  Even though it is supposed to be physically non-addictive, a person can still develop a psychological addiction through continued abuse. People with a Lexapro addiction will take larger doses in order to try to raise their mood even more or to get high (an intense euphoric reaction to a drug). A Lexapro addiction will result in some harsh unwanted side effects such as electric shock sensations in the brain, sexual dysfunction, hallucinations and memory problems. Cipralex, Seroplex, Elicea, Lexamil and Lexam are other marketing names for escitalopram.


Addiction or abuse studies are not performed for Lexapro also known as escitalopram. As a result, formal statistics for Lexapro addiction are not available.

Causes of Lexapro Addiction

Lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and is deemed to be physically non-addictive. An SSRI helps increase the serotonin levels in the brain. Someone with a Lexapro addiction has abused the drug enough to create an addiction. Often, someone abusing escitalopram is doing so in order to enhance their elevated mood or trying to get high which is not possible with SSRIs.

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  • Signs of Lexapro Use, Addiction and Dependence

    A person fighting a Lexapro addiction will display a number of indicators that reveal the abuse. Developing a physical Lexapro addiction is not supposed to happen, but physical withdrawal symptoms are experienced while trying to stop using the drug. Psychological effects of a Lexapro addiction also arise. Some abuse warning signs are:

    • Electric shock sensations
    • Decreased libido
    • Depression
    • Nausea
    • Aggression
    • Hallucinations
    • Memory problems
    • Violent thoughts and actions
    • Flu-like symptoms
    • Insomnia
    • Irritability

    Lexapro Effects

    Lexapro is believed to be non-addictive. This may be true, but when someone who has a Lexapro addiction quits taking the drug “cold turkey”, physical withdrawal effects will be experienced. In addition to the physical withdrawal symptoms, the person with a Lexapro addiction will also suffer both negative psychological and social side effects. A few physical withdrawal results include:

    • Electric shock sensations
    • Nausea
    • Flu-like symptoms
    • Dizziness
    • Insomnia
    • Decreased libido
    • Agitation
    • Fatigue
    • Erectile Dysfunction
    • Drowsiness
    • Constipation
    • Sexual Dysfunction
    • Dry mouth

    Psychological reactions to Lexapro abuse:

    • Panic attacks
    • Depression
    • Nervousness and anxiety
    • Confusion and incoherent thoughts
    • Memory problems
    • Irritability
    • Hallucinations
    • Aggression
    • Hostility

    Social consequences include:

    • Relationships with friends and family are damaged
    • Family is destroyed
    • Career is jeopardized
    • Financial stability is undermined
    • Reclusive behaviors
    • Personal activities are decreased or stopped

    Lexapro Withdrawal

    The FDA has determined that Lexapro is not addictive or habit-forming. However, if someone abusing Lexapro abruptly stops taking escitalopram, they will endure physical withdrawal symptoms. In addition to the physical withdrawal effects, they will experience negative psychological reactions as well. Someone trying to kick a Lexapro addiction will have to tolerate electric shock sensations in their brain, nausea, headaches, flu-like symptoms, insomnia, moodiness, dizziness, irritability, sexual dysfunction, confused thinking and depression.

    Lexapro Addiction Treatment

    Addiction to Lexapro is not well studied. Therefore, there is little information existing in regards to Lexapro abuse. Even though there is not much evidence to support a physical escitalopram addition, if a person abuses it long enough, they will create a dependency to Lexapro. The best solution for treating a Lexapro addiction is to taper off the drug. This process should be completed under the supervision of a Lexapro treatment center. Someone fighting a Lexapro addiction needs to find help. There is help available from loved ones, professional therapists, and Lexapro rehab centers. Acknowledging there is a problem and requesting help is essential to begin the recovery process. Ask for help because it is available.

    Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 15th, 2013
    Published on, Substance Abuse Resource Directory

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