Amitriptyline High And Why It Is Used Recreationally

Last Updated: February 7, 2020

Authored by Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

Many people take Elavil for legitimate medical reasons. However, there are also many users who want to know if Elavil high exists. Ultimately, the answers about amitriptyline euphoria are complex and require an in-depth understanding of the drug.

Can Amitriptyline Get One High?

Elavil is not a medication that is commonly abused. For one, it is not among the more commonly prescribed antidepressants. For another, achieving amitriptyline euphoria is difficult, to the point that some do not think it is possible. However, there are users who claim otherwise.

Those who engage in its recreational use firmly believe in the amitriptyline high. It is estimated that as much as 25 percent of patients taking it will use it to achieve euphoria, at least, once. This is not accomplished by taking the medicine as directed. Instead, the users take a much higher than the normal dose to feel amitriptyline HCL high. The levels achieved are often dangerous, and can lead to severe medical complications. Ultimately, few people who abuse Elavil are likely to do so long term.

Reasons People Get High On Elavil

The reasons people abuse any substance are highly varied. However, Elavil patients might be at a higher risk of addiction than most and experience amitriptyline high. This comes down to the two conditions it is most often used to treat: depression and chronic pain.

Those with mood disorders are more likely than the general population to turn to substance abuse and develop an addiction. This is often because users are attempting to self-medicate and treat their underlying condition in a way that seems accessible to them. While this is never effective and actually makes their mood disorders worse, amitriptyline euphoria can offer a temporary feeling of reprieve.

illegal use of Elavil

For someone being treated with Elavil, it is an easy leap to think that taking more might be even better than their prescribed dose, especially if they notice euphoric sensations. This can drive them to take more and more amitriptyline 100 mg pills and increase their dose on a regular basis, leading to addiction.

Those who are using Elavil for pain might end up using the medication to get high for similar reasons. Experiencing chronic pain can be depressing, driving the user to attempt to self-medicate against their developing mood disorder. Depending on how severe the pain is, getting high on amitriptyline could also be a form of escape.

Other reasons people might engage in recreational Elavil use include curiosity, a lack of access to harder drugs, and pressure from their peers. Ultimately, while the Elavil drug class is not one that often sees significant abuse, it is possible.

woman with psychosis

Negative Consequences Of Getting High On Elavil

While it is possible that some will find the amitriptyline euphoria pleasant, in all cases, it is dangerous. The fact is that taking Elavil at prescribed levels simply will not result in getting high, so anyone who does experience euphoria on the drug will be taking dangerous amounts. In many cases, they will mix it with other substances as well.

Potential negative consequences of abusing Elavil include:

  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Psychosis
  • Increased depression
  • An inability to feel normal when not taking the medication
  • Damage to the organs, especially the kidneys and liver

Additionally, these consequences may change depending on how Elavil is taken. For example, snorting amitriptyline can damage the nasal passages to the point that surgery is needed. While swallowing the pills is still risky, using unapproved methods of ingestion is even riskier.

This does not even get into the possibility of overdose. How much amitriptyline is fatal will vary between users and whether or not they are combining it with other substances. Ultimately, there is no safe way to get high while abusing Elavil.

Beating Elavil Abuse

Knowing that abusing amitriptyline is dangerous, anyone who is doing so should seek out help getting clean. Center for addiction treatment understands why people are drawn to addiction and know how to help them turn their lives around. By working with the right treatment for addiction, it is possible to live a clean life.

Page Sources

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  2. Quello SB, Brady KT, Sonne SC. Mood disorders and substance use disorder: a complex comorbidity. Science & Practice Perspectives. 2005; 3(1): 13–21. doi:10.1151/spp053113.
  3. Evans EA, Sullivan MA. Abuse and misuse of antidepressants. Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation. 2014; 5: 107–120. doi:10.2147/SAR.S37917.
  4. Cohen MJ, Hanbury R, Stimmel B. Abuse of amitriptyline. JAMA. 1978; 240(13): 1372-3.
  5. Delisle JD. A case of amitriptyline abuse. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 1990; 147(10): 1377-8.

Published on: February 7th, 2020

Updated on: February 7th, 2020

About Author

Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

After successful graduation from Boston University, MA, Sharon gained a Master’s degree in Public Health. Since then, Sharon devoted herself entirely to the medical niche. Sharon Levy is also a certified addiction recovery coach.


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