“Addiction” is a loaded word.
It comes with a lot of emotional baggage.
Because SSRI antidepressant medications typically do not produce a “high” that can be abused recreationally and because they do not produce “cravings” like coffee, sugar, alcohol or opium, they are widely assumed to be non-addicting.
People typically don’t steal from their grandmother’s medicine cabinet, rob the corner gas station, or murder to get more SSRI antidepressant medications.
To further obscure their addictive nature, the symptoms of SSRI antidepressant withdrawal syndrome (a.k.a. “discontinuation syndrome”) are frequently mistakenly misunderstood as a return or relapse of the underlying disorder that is being treated.
Whether or not they are worthy of being labeled “addictive” remains disputed. One thing we do know is that when users of SSRI antidepressant medications stop using them bad things often happen.
Symptoms regularly occur that were not there before the drugs were started.
In addition, symptoms that were already there before medication treatment may rebound with greater intensity than ever.
If the drugs are reinstated these new symptoms quickly disappear again, whereas, there is usually a time lag before an underlying depression either returns or responds to renewed treatment.
Some scientists call these withdrawal phenomenon “addiction,” while others do not.
Which side of the argument they fall on may depend on their loyalties and on paycheck bias.