About Over-the-Counter Drug Addiction
Questions About OTC Drugs?
- Strained relationships
- School and work problems
- Financial troubles
- Health problems
The belief that certain medications aren’t dangerous or addictive because they have been prescribed by a doctor or are drugs you can buy at the store is very misleading. Misusing drugs can lead to many problems and even death in extreme circumstances. It doesn’t matter if you are taking prescribed medicine, OTC medications or recreational drugs. One can be just as dangerous as the other. Therefore, if you feel you have developed an OTC drug addiction, the single most important thing you can do for yourself is to seek rehab.
Once you’ve made the decision to seek help, you can be confident that a healthcare team will be ready to assist you and lead you to a great outcome. You will be closely monitored during the detox process. Since this can be quite uncomfortable, your doctors may prescribe medications to lessen the symptoms of withdrawal. A care plan will also be developed to help you overcome your addiction and keep you on the road to recovery. Support services, such as group therapy and support groups, will also be available to help you after rehab. With proper care, you’ll be able to enjoy life again without drugs.
Commonly Abused OTC Drugs
When you have a cold or other common ailment, the first thing you probably do is go to the store and buy an over-the-counter drug to get some relief. You get over your illness and never think about that drug again until you get sick again. But, for some people, it’s not this simple. Some people simply like the way an OTC drug makes them feel so they continue to take it even when they do not need it. This leads to drug abuse and addiction. The following are some of the most commonly abused OTC drugs.
- Dextromethorphan – Dextromethorphan is the active ingredient found in OTC cough syrups. This drug is popular among teenagers because it is cheap, easy to obtain and provides the high they are seeking. Misusing dextromethorphan can have several undesirable side effects such as nausea, vomiting, slurred speech, hallucinations, impaired judgment, dizziness, and seizures.
- Ephedrine – Although the Food and Drug Administration banned ephedrine in 2004, that hasn’t stopped people from getting their hands on it and abusing it. Ephedrine has been used in diet pills for weight loss. It is used in some asthma medications. It is common for someone to abuse drugs, such as for asthma, to achieve the weight loss that could have previously been achieved by taking diet pills that contained ephedrine.
- Caffeine – Pills and products that contain high amounts of caffeine are marketed to college students who need to stay alert and awake for classes and studying. Caffeine is safe when only the recommended dose is taken. The trouble comes when large amounts of caffeine are ingested at one time. The consequences can be fatal.
- Laxatives – People who suffer from an eating disorder may misuse laxatives. Often, after binge eating, laxatives are used to rid the body of the food eaten during the binge. The abuse of laxatives can have some serious health consequences such as loss of nutrients, dehydration, organ damage, heart failure, colon infection or colon cancer.
- Motion Sickness Pills – Motion sickness pills are antihistamines that are perfectly safe when used for their intended purposes such as for car sickness or plane rides. However, some people take too much of the medication to get a feeling of euphoria or relaxation. Higher doses cause hallucinations. Some of the other serious side effects include nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, amnesia, itchy skin, ringing in the ears, irregular heartbeat, cardiac arrest, and stomach pain.
There are several other OTC drugs that can lead to addiction. It’s important to remember that if you’re deviating away from the dose and instructions you’ve been given for a drug, then you are probably abusing that drug.
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OTC Drug Addiction Treatment Programs
- Inpatient Drug Treatment – Our Rehab Center in Oregon offers inpatient drug treatment. When you receive inpatient treatment, you will stay at our facility and participate in therapies and activities all geared toward your recovery. The medical staff is available 24 hours per day to monitor your health and progress.
- Outpatient Drug Treatment – For individuals who have some control over their addiction and have a support system consisting of family and friends, outpatient drug treatment may be a viable option. Someone who is in an outpatient drug treatment program is given all the options that are available to individuals in an inpatient drug treatment program. Outpatient drug treatment length will depend upon the level of addiction and the drug being abused. Typically, individuals will complete the treatment in 12 to 14 weeks while being on-site three to five days per week.
- Detoxification – When you’ve been taking a drug and have developed an OTC drug addiction, often it is dangerous to suddenly withdraw from the drug. Your body has learned to expect the drug and when it doesn’t get it, it can have a negative reaction. Common symptoms of withdrawal include a headache, racing heart, sweats, fatigue, and nausea. It is best to detox while under the supervision of an experienced medical team.
- Transitional Housing – Once you’ve completed our addiction treatment in Oregon, you will still receive support. Some people choose to live in transitional housing immediately following treatment. Transitional housing offers a safe environment free of alcohol and drugs and helps an individual make a safe transition from rehab to living on their own and developing strategies when temptation arises.
- Support Groups – Once you’ve finished addiction treatment in Oregon, it is necessary to maintain a support system to ensure you don’t relapse. You have less chance of relapse if you belong to a support group dealing with addiction. Often, these groups consist of recovering addicts who share the same issues, feelings, and temptations as you. A support group can greatly reduce the chances of relapse and will help you stay on the road to recovery.