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Remeron Addiction: Definition, Side Effects, and Treatment

Reading time: 15 mins
Remeron Addiction: Definition, Side Effects, and Treatment

Remeron addiction happens when someone becomes dependent on the drug mirtazapine, which is sold under the brand name Remeron. Mirtazapine is frequently prescribed as an antidepressant for conditions like major depressive disorder. 

The signs of Remeron addiction include using Remeron longer than recommended, needing more mirtazapine or higher doses to feel the same effects, thinking about Remeron all day –  how to get more, its effects, and when to use it, experiencing withdrawal symptoms as soon as the medication’s effects end, faking symptoms to obtain prescriptions for Remeron, unexpected changes in behavior, hygiene, and appearance, and not being able to cut back on mirtazapine use despite wanting to.

The side effects of Remeron addiction are insomnia, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, mood changes, flu-like symptoms, dizziness, and lightheadedness. 

The risks associated with mirtazapine addiction include an increased risk of serotonin syndrome, worsening of depression and suicidal thoughts, increased appetite and weight gain, impaired cognitive function, and withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment options for Remeron abuse may include medical detox, behavioral therapy, inpatient treatment, outpatient rehab, and aftercare.

What is Remeron addiction?

Remeron addiction pertains to the development of a problematic pattern of use and dependence on Remeron, which is also known by its generic name mirtazapine, and is classified as a tetracyclic antidepressant (TeCA). 

Tetracyclic antidepressants, or TeCAs, are a class of medications designed to alleviate symptoms of depression by modulating neurotransmitter activity in the brain.

Remeron is thought to work by elevating the brain’s supply of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. This mode of action is important to its success in treating depression. Long-term Remeron use, however, might cause physiological changes that may give rise to withdrawal symptoms if the medicine is suddenly discontinued.

What is the other name of Remeron?

The other name of Remeron is mirtazapine. The brand name, Remeron, is a proprietary name given to the medication by the pharmaceutical company that developed it.

The main difference between the brand name (Remeron) and the generic name (mirtazapine) is that the brand name is a unique, trademarked name that is used by the pharmaceutical company to market and sell the medication. 

The generic name, on the other hand, is the official, non-proprietary name of the active ingredient in the medication. Generic names are used universally to identify the drug itself, regardless of the manufacturer.

What is Remeron used for?

Remeron is primarily used for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) and occasionally generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), according to an article about mirtazapine published in the NHS (National Health Service)

A 2022 article on mirtazapine (Remeron) from Everyday Health adds that the medication is also sometimes prescribed off-label for other conditions, including insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), headache or migraine, and social anxiety disorder.

Who can use Remeron?

Pills on hand.

Most adults can use Remeron, as stated by an article titled, “Who can and cannot take mirtazapine” from the NHS. Remeron is typically suitable for adults with major depressive disorder, individuals with co-occurring anxiety, people experiencing insomnia, or patients with treatment-resistant depression. 

It’s crucial to stress that a healthcare professional should decide whether to prescribe Remeron after carefully examining a patient’s medical history, present symptoms, and general condition. Different individuals may respond differently to medications, and the appropriateness of Remeron use will vary from person to person.

How to take Remeron?

Remeron is taken by mouth as recommended by your healthcare provider, usually once a day at bedtime, according to an article titled, “Remeron – Uses, Side Effects, and More” from WebMD.

The timing is often chosen to take advantage of its sedative effects, which can help with sleep. However, your doctor might recommend a different dosing schedule based on your individual needs. 

For instance, if you’re taking other medications, your doctor will consider potential interactions and might adjust the timing of Remeron to avoid any unwanted effects.

What are the common signs of Remeron addiction?

The signs of Remeron addiction may indicate problematic use or physical dependence on the drug. The most common signs of Remeron addiction are listed below. 

  • Using Remeron longer than recommended: Certain people may continue to use Remeron beyond the prescribed duration, either because they feel that they still need it, or because they enjoy its effects, such as mood enhancement, relaxation, and sleep improvement.
  • Needing more mirtazapine or higher doses to feel the same effects: If someone is experiencing this symptom, it means they have built up a tolerance to the medicine. When the body develops tolerance to a drug, it requires more of the substance to have the same effects as before.
  • Thinking about Remeron all day –  how to get more, its effects, and when to use it: Thinking about Remeron excessively, including thoughts about obtaining more, its effects, and when to use it, could potentially be a sign of developing an unhealthy preoccupation or fixation on the medication. The afflicted person may feel a strong and irresistible need to act on these thoughts or urges, even if they know that it is harmful or irrational.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms as soon as the medication’s effects end: A sign that someone has developed a physical dependence on the drug. Physical dependence means that the body has adapted to the presence of the drug and requires it to function normally. When the drug is stopped or reduced, the body goes into a state of imbalance and reacts with unpleasant and sometimes dangerous withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, headaches, flu-like symptoms, heart palpitations, insomnia, and mood swings.
  • Faking symptoms to obtain prescriptions for Remeron: Intentional misuse of Remeron, such as fabricating symptoms to secure prescriptions, may point to a search for the drug for illicit purposes. Consultation with a healthcare provider is recommended to better understand the causes of such actions and implement corrective measures.
  • Unexpected changes in behavior, hygiene, and appearance: An indication that the person has lost control over their drug use and is neglecting other aspects of their life.
  • Not being able to cut back on mirtazapine use despite wanting to: The inability to cut back on mirtazapine use despite wanting to do so could potentially indicate a problematic pattern of dependence or a lack of control over medication use. This means that the person is unable to stop or reduce their use, even if they experience negative consequences or have a strong desire to quit.

Does Remeron have a high risk of abuse?

A person showing pills bottle.

No, Remeron is not typically considered to have a high risk of abuse. It is not classified as a controlled substance, and its potential for abuse and addiction is generally lower compared to substances like opioids, benzodiazepines, or other drugs that have a higher potential for abuse and dependence.

It can, however, be abused or taken in higher amounts than prescribed. Individuals may abuse Remeron in order to boost the effects of other drugs, such as stimulants or opioids, or to mitigate their unpleasant side effects. Serotonin syndrome, increased suicide thoughts, and withdrawal symptoms can all result from Remeron misuse.

Is Remeron legal to use in all countries?

Yes, Remeron is legal to use in all countries. It is a prescription drug that is legal to take in many nations worldwide. For instance, in the United States, Remeron is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with major depressive disorder. 

The information on Remeron (mirtazapine) tablets published in also states that the drug is not considered a controlled substance. The potential for misuse, tolerance, or physical dependence of mirtazapine tablets has not been thoroughly explored in animals or people. 

Patients with a history of drug abuse should be carefully examined, and such patients should be continuously monitored for indicators of Remeron usage or abuse (e.g., tolerance development, dose incrementation, drug-seeking behavior).

What are the side effects of Remeron addiction?

Remeron abuse can cause side effects that range from mild to severe. The side effects of Remeron addiction are listed below. 

1. Insomnia

Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing poor-quality sleep. People with insomnia often have trouble getting the amount of sleep they need to feel rested and refreshed. Insomnia can lead to daytime fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and impaired functioning. 

If Remeron is misused, abused, or taken inappropriately, it could potentially lead to unexpected side effects, including changes in sleep patterns. For example, if someone took more Remeron than was recommended or used it when they didn’t need it for medical reasons, it could mess up their sleep cycle and lead to insomnia or other sleep problems.

This side effect caused by Remeron abuse can be avoided by following the doctor’s instructions on how to use the medication safely and effectively. This means taking the medication only as prescribed, at the same time every day, and not stopping or changing the dose without consulting the doctor.

2. Anxiety

Anxiety is a state of worry, dread, and unease. It may cause you to sweat, feel agitated and anxious, and have a racing heart, according to a 2020 article on anxiety published in MedlinePlus.

Negative effects are possible with Remeron despite its positive effects on mood, appetite, and sleep. Anxiety is one of these negative effects.

Remeron-induced anxiety may develop because the drug alters the balance of other chemicals in the brain implicated in anxiety, such as serotonin and norepinephrine. The medicine may also cause anxiety in those who have a history of anxiety disorders or who are predisposed to anxiety owing to other circumstances.

Anxiety caused by mirtazapine can be avoided by taking the medicine under the supervision of a healthcare professional and not altering its dose without medical guidance. 

Another way of avoiding this side effect is to stop consuming alcohol or other drugs that can interact with Remeron and potentially affect its intended effects on anxiety and mood.

3. Nausea and vomiting

A woman in pink vomiting.

Nausea is a sensation of discomfort in the stomach, often accompanied by an urge to vomit. It is commonly associated with a feeling of queasiness, stomach unease, and sometimes an aversion to food or certain odors. Vomiting, also known as emesis, is the forceful expulsion of stomach contents through the mouth and sometimes the nose. 

Abusing Remeron by taking higher doses than prescribed, using it without a legitimate medical need, or using it in ways other than as directed by a healthcare provider can potentially lead to more severe or prolonged side effects, including nausea and vomiting.

Take Remeron exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Starting with a lower dose and gradually increasing it as recommended can help reduce the likelihood of experiencing these side effects.

4. Mood changes

Changes in an individual’s emotional state or temperament are referred to as mood changes. Emotions like happiness, sorrow, impatience, worry, and more are all possible outcomes of these shifts. They can result from a wide range of factors, including stress, hormones, drugs, and mental health issues. 

The FDA has issued a black box warning for Remeron, which is the most serious warning. This suggests that mirtazapine may raise the risk of suicidal ideation or behavior. This is why a 2021 article titled, “Mirtazapine, oral tablet” from Medical News Today recommends that if you use Remeron, any unexpected changes in your mood, behavior, thoughts, or feelings should be monitored by your family, carers, and doctor.

To potentially manage mood changes, it is important to follow the dosage prescribed by your doctor. This can help you keep a steady mood and lower your chances of experiencing unexpected mood shifts.

5. Flu-like symptoms

Flu-like symptoms refer to a constellation of symptoms that resemble those commonly associated with the flu virus. Among these signs and symptoms are fever, chills, body pains, weariness, headache, sore throat, and nasal congestion. When your body reacts with flu-like symptoms, it may be due to an infection or an immunological response. 

In the context of Remeron, flu-like symptoms are rare yet serious concerns, which must be immediately reported to your healthcare physician, according to a 2022 article titled, “10 Mirtazapine Side Effects You Should Know About” from GoodRx Health

Antidepressants, such as Remeron, are known to cause discontinuation problems — including flu-like symptoms — when abruptly discontinued. It is critical to ease off drugs like Remeron rather than stopping them abruptly to avoid or prevent these symptoms. This method entails gradually lowering the dose over time, which can help prevent or alleviate withdrawal symptoms, according to a 2006 review on antidepressant discontinuation syndrome published in the American Family Physician.

6. Dizziness and lightheadedness

A woman feeling dizziness.

Dizziness is characterized by a feeling of unsteadiness or a perception that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving. It can be accompanied by lightheadedness, which is a feeling of faintness or near-fainting.

These symptoms may occur because Remeron affects the levels of serotonin and other chemicals in the brain, which can influence the blood pressure, the balance system, and the nervous system. 

Getting up too quickly from a lying or sitting position might cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting. You could try getting up slowly, according to drug information on mirtazapine (oral route) published in the Mayo Clinic. Don’t hesitate to see a doctor if this issue persists or worsens.

How does Remeron addiction affect the mental health of a person?

Remeron addiction affects the mental health of a person in several ways, such as worsening the underlying condition, increasing the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and making a person more vulnerable to developing other mental health issues or exacerbating existing ones.

Remeron addiction can result in tolerance and dependence, which means a person needs increasing dosages of the drug to get the same effect or prevent withdrawal symptoms. This can lead to a cycle of increasing drug use and decreasing mood improvement, ultimately resulting in the worsening of the underlying condition for which mirtazapine is being taken. 

Abusing Remeron can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors, as it can cause mood swings, agitation, impulsivity, and hopelessness. It may also have psychological effects, such as hallucination, disorientation, and impaired memory function, according to a 2023 article titled, “Remeron Addiction: Signs And Symptoms Of Mirtazapine Abuse” from Addiction Resource. These effects can increase the risk of mental health difficulties or worsen current ones.

How does Remeron addiction affect the physical health of a person?

Remeron addiction affects the physical health of a person by causing medical issues, such as weight gain that can lead to obesity, heart disease, or diabetes, withdrawal symptoms, increased risk of experiencing side effects, and cognitive impairment. 

Furthermore, according to an article on Remeron addiction and abuse updated in 2023 and published in the Addiction Center, overdose is another potential side effect of Remeron addiction if an individual consumes too much of the medicine. Seizures, extremely low blood pressure, and cardiac arrest are just a few of the potentially fatal side effects of an overdose on Remeron. Respiratory depression and even death can ensue in severe situations.

Is Remeron addiction deadly?

A woman sitting beside a wall.

Yes, Remeron addiction can be deadly in some cases, especially if the person overdoses on the drug or mixes it with other substances. As mentioned, Remeron overdose can cause cardiac arrest, low blood pressure, seizures, respiratory depression, and death. 

Mixing Remeron with alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines, or other drugs can also increase the risk of fatal interactions and complications. Therefore, it is very important to use Remeron only as prescribed by a doctor and to avoid abusing or misusing it.

Are there groups with a higher risk of Remeron addiction?

Yes, there are certain groups that may be at a higher risk of Remeron addiction, including people with a history of drug abuse, those with a history of mental health disorders, and individuals who experienced trauma, abuse, neglect, or violence. 

People with a history of substance abuse or addiction might be more prone to misusing or abusing medications, including mirtazapine. Those with a history of mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia may also be at an elevated risk of abusing Remeron. 

These conditions can make people more vulnerable to the mood-boosting and calming effects of Remeron, and also increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors while taking the drug. Finally, individuals with a history of trauma, abuse, neglect, or violence may experience emotional distress and psychological pain, which may lead them to self-medicate with Remeron or other drugs.

What happens when you become Remeron-dependent?

When you become Remeron dependent, your body and brain may have already adapted to the presence of the drug and need it to function normally. If you stop taking Remeron abruptly, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, nausea, vomiting, or restlessness, as stated by an article titled, “Remeron Addiction & Abuse | Causes, Symptoms & Treatment” by Dr. Alison Tarlow from Boca Recovery Center.

A 2023 article on Remeron (mirtazapine) by Edmund Murphy published in Recovered also states that withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant and can linger for several weeks, or even months, even when supported by a medical detox.

Are there dangers when Remeron is mixed with other substances?

Different colored pills on brown table.

Yes, there are dangers present when Remeron is mixed with other substances, such as alcohol, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, and other antidepressants. 

According to an article titled, “Dangers and Effects of Mixing Mirtazapine and Alcohol” by Nicki Hari from the Primrose Lodge, numerous physical adverse effects, including nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction, can result from combining mirtazapine with alcohol. 

Blackouts and memory loss are sometimes also experienced after combining the two substances, which increases the chance of accidents, possible crimes, and other dangers. 

Moreover, mixing Remeron with other substances that have a depressant effect on the central nervous system, such as benzodiazepines, sedatives, or opioids, can lead to heightened sedation, respiratory depression, and an increased risk of overdose.

When mirtazapine is combined with MAO inhibitors, it can result in a dangerous and sometimes fatal condition known as serotonin syndrome, which is caused by an excess of serotonin in the brain. 

Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include agitation, confusion, hallucinations, fever, sweating, tremors, muscle rigidity, seizures, and coma. Taking Remeron is therefore not recommended if you have used an MAO inhibitor during the last 14 days, according to the drug information on Remeron published in

Other antidepressants such as Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Lexapro (escitalopram), Cymbalta (duloxetine), and Wellbutrin (bupropion) may also interact with mirtazapine and increase the risk of serotonin syndrome.

What are the treatment options for Remeron addiction?

Common forms of treatment for Remeron addiction are focused on recovery and are incredibly effective. The most common treatment options for Remeron addiction are listed below. 

  • Medical detox: This is the process of safely and gradually reducing the amount of Remeron in your system under the guidance of a doctor or a nurse. This can help you avoid or manage the withdrawal symptoms and prepare you for further treatment.
  • Behavioral therapy: Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can help individuals recognize and change patterns of behavior that contribute to misuse or addiction. Therapy can also address underlying emotional or psychological factors.
  • Inpatient treatment: This is a type of treatment where you stay in a residential facility for a certain period of time, usually between 30 and 90 days. You receive 24/7 medical care and support, as well as individual and group therapy, counseling, education, and aftercare planning.
  • Outpatient rehab: A type of treatment where you attend regular sessions at a clinic or a center, but you do not live there. You can continue with your daily activities, such as work, school, or family obligations, while receiving treatment.
  • Aftercare: This is the ongoing help and support you get after your treatment program is over. Services that can aid in maintaining sobriety and preventing relapse include peer support groups, sober living homes, and medication management.

Can Remeron addiction be treated at home?

Doctor holding pills.

No, Remeron addiction cannot be treated at home. It is not advisable to try to treat Remeron addiction at home without professional guidance and support. 

Withdrawal from mirtazapine might result in uncomfortable and even dangerous symptoms like anxiety, sleeplessness, nausea, dizziness, and suicidal thoughts. Trying to quit Remeron abruptly or without medical supervision can increase the risk of relapse and overdose.

The best way to treat Remeron addiction is to seek help from a licensed and accredited addiction treatment center. There are different types of treatment programs available, depending on the severity of the addiction, the presence of co-occurring disorders, and the individual’s preferences and needs.

How to prevent Remeron addiction?

In order to prevent Remeron addiction, one should practice responsible medication use by following their healthcare provider’s guidance. In fact, this is the best way to minimize risks associated with any medication.

It is important not to change the dose or frequency of Remeron without first visiting your doctor. You should also be honest with your healthcare practitioner about your medical history, any previous substance use problems, and any medication-related concerns you have. 

Last but not least, it’s critical to maintain regular appointments with your healthcare provider to go over your progress, potential side effects, and any changes to your mental health.

Are there alternatives to reduce the risk of Remeron addiction?

Remeron alternatives may not work for everyone, and they may have their own side effects and interactions. Therefore, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your medication. Some possible alternatives to Remeron that may reduce the risk of addiction or dependence are listed below. 

  • Other forms of antidepressants: There are many classes of antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Each of these antidepressants works in a slightly different way and may have different effects on your mood, energy, sleep, appetite, and sexual function. Some examples of other antidepressants are fluoxetine (Prozac), venlafaxine (Effexor), amitriptyline (Elavil), and phenelzine (Nardil).
  • Atypical antidepressants: These are antidepressants with unique mechanisms of action and may be effective for certain people who do not respond well to other antidepressants. While Remeron is also an atypical antidepressant, other examples from the same class of drugs include bupropion (Wellbutrin), nefazodone, trazodone, vilazodone (Viibryd), and vortioxetine (Trintellix). According to an article on atypical antidepressants published in Mayo Clinic, a new atypical antidepressant called Spravato (esketamine) has recently been cleared by the FDA to treat depression that has not responded to other treatments.
  • Natural or holistic remedies: Herbal supplements, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, exercise, meditation, yoga, acupuncture, massage, light therapy, aromatherapy, or biofeedback may be preferred by some people to cure their depression. These solutions may help you feel better by strengthening your brain chemistry, reducing stress, boosting your immune system, or balancing your hormones. However, because these cures are not regulated by the FDA, their quality and strength may vary.
Can Remeron be addictive like Mucinex?
Pills coming out of bottle.

Yes, Remeron can be addictive like Mucinex. While both medications are not typically associated with a high risk of addiction in the same way that substances like opioids or illegal drugs are, people may still abuse them for their effects. 

Mucinex is often sought after because of its ingredient, dextromethorphan, which can be habit-forming and may induce intoxication. In contrast, Remeron, as an antidepressant, may be misused for its mood-altering effects, but its potential for abuse is still relatively low compared to substances with a higher abuse potential.

How does Remeron differ from Gabapentin?

Remeron and Gabapentin are different types of medications that have different uses and effects. Remeron is an atypical antidepressant that belongs to the class of tetracyclic antidepressants (TeCAs), while Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant that belongs to the class of gamma-aminobutyric acid analogs, according to an article titled, “Comparing Gabapentin vs. Mirtazapine” published in

The two medications also have different mechanisms of action. Remeron works in the brain by raising the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters that govern mood, sleep, and appetite. On the other hand, Gabapentin works by imitating the actions of GABA, a neurotransmitter that calms the brain and lowers nerve activity, according to a 2023 article titled, “Pregabalin vs. Gabapentin: What’s the Difference?” from Verywell Health.

What is the difference between NyQuil and Remeron?
White pills on blue background.

The differences between NyQuil and Remeron highlight the unique characteristics of each medication. The key differences between NyQuil and Remeron are listed below.

  • Purpose: NyQuil is an over-the-counter medication primarily used to relieve symptoms associated with colds, flu, and allergies, such as cough, congestion, runny nose, and fever. On the other hand, Remeron is a prescription antidepressant medication primarily used to treat conditions such as major depressive disorder (MDD) and related mood disorders.
  • Active Ingredients: NyQuil typically contains a combination of active ingredients, which may include antihistamines (e.g., doxylamine), cough suppressants (e.g., dextromethorphan), and pain relievers/fever reducers (e.g., acetaminophen). Dextromethorphan can have mind-altering effects when taken in excess, causing people to use NyQuil as a recreational drug, ultimately leading to NyQuil addiction. Remeron contains the active ingredient mirtazapine, which affects neurotransmitter activity in the brain to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Mechanism of action: NyQuil works by targeting specific symptoms of cold and flu, such as reducing congestion and suppressing cough, while Remeron works by increasing the availability of certain neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine, which are involved in regulating mood and emotions.
  • Availability: NyQuil is available without a prescription and can be purchased over the counter at pharmacies and stores. Remeron is a prescription medication and can only be obtained with a prescription from a qualified healthcare provider.
  • Use in mood disorders: NyQuil is not used to treat mood disorders or mental health conditions, while Remeron is used to treat mood disorders, specifically depression and anxiety.