Will I become addicted to the medication? | NAMI

Medication Frequently Asked Questions

Will I become addicted to the medication?


This is a commonly asked question. Addiction involves taking more and more of a drug and craving it, despite having negative consequences from taking it. For some people who are addicted, much time is spent making sure that there is always an available supply of the drug. Common addictions are for drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine. Addicted individuals may crave these drugs but sometimes taking them makes them feel paranoid and even hallucinate.


Most medications for severe brain disorders like schizophrenia or bipolar illness do not pose a risk of addiction. These medications alleviate symptoms and improve your health but there is no craving and the outcome of use is positive. For example, sleep is improved and concentration is better when people having schizophrenia take an antipsychotic like risperidone (Risperdal®), quetiapine (Seroquel®), aripiprazole (Abilify®), olanzapine (Zyprexa®), ziprasidone (Geodon®), iloperidone (Fanapt®), asenapine (Saphris®), lurasidone (Latuda®), paliperidone (Invega®), clozapine (Clozaril®), or haloperidol (Haldol®).


Some prescription medications to relieve anxiety and improve sleep, for example, lorazepam (Ativan®), alprazolam (Xanax®), clonazepam (Klonopin®) and diazepam (Valium®) can pose a risk of addiction in persons prone to addictions.  Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the risk of addiction with your specific medications.

NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).