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Over the Counter Medication Addictions: The Information and Help You Need

It might surprise you to learn that over the counter medications are some of the most abused medications on the market. In fact, over the counter medication abuse statistics indicate that about 3.1 people who were between the ages of 12 to 25 have used a non-prescription cough or cold medication to get high. Also, about 4% of all seniors in high school admit to having abused cough medicine for the euphoric high they could achieve.

These statistics might surprise you, but it’s clear that over the counter medication abuse is on the rise. If you’re abusing these medications yourself, it’s important to get the right over the counter medication abuse facts so that you can understand your own relationship to these highly underestimated drugs.

The over the counter medications that are abused most often include: 

  • DXM-cough medicine
  • Sleep aids
  • Diet pills
  • Dramamine 

While all of these medications have their own, specific and useful purpose, when over the counter medication abuse takes place, they can all be very dangerous too. It might seem as though it’s impossible for you to stop taking your drug of choice right now. However, with the right over the counter addiction facts, stopping your use of it is possible.

Over the Counter Addiction Information

Over the Counter Medication Information: What is Over the Counter Medication Abuse?

Once you have a better understanding of the over the counter medication abuse definition, it’s easier to see why abuse and addiction do not mean the exact same thing. As a matter of fact, they are actually quite different.

Over the counter medication abuse means that you’re using these drugs outside of their intended purposes. For example, if you purchase a cold medicine at the local drug store, and you take it at home, based on the instructions, you’re not abusing it. However, once you move away from the instructions and you take more of the drug than you should, or you increase your dosage on your own, this is considered to be over the counter medication abuse.

In order to be addicted to an over the counter medication, it’s important to have at least one of the more common over the counter medication addiction signs.

What is Over the Counter Medication Addiction? Over the Counter Medication Addiction Signs

Sometimes people are not convinced that they’re addicted to over the counter medications, and this has more to do with the way these medications are packaged than it does with how they feel.

Some over the counter medications actually have addiction warnings on them, but not all of them do. Even so, the fact that they’re available in the stores to almost anyone means that they they’re viewed as much more safe than other types of drugs. That fact alone substantially increases the potential for addiction.

Maybe you’re concerned because you’ve been taking or even abusing a type of over the counter medication for quite some time, and you’re wondering if you have developed an addiction. Some of the more common signs of over the counter medication addiction can include:
  • Feeling compelled to use the medication over and over again
  • Experiencing a sensation of not feeling like yourself if you don’t take the drug
  • Going through symptoms of withdrawal if you miss a dose
  • Having a hard time quitting your use of the drug on your own
  • Being told that you need to get help for an addiction
  • Mixing your over the counter medication of choice with alcohol or other drugs

Knowing the Effects of Over the Counter Medications: Short and Long-Term

Because there are so many different types of over the counter medications, it’s difficult to say what types of effects will be experienced. Each one has its own, long list of side effects that can result with either short or long-term use. However, you might experience any of the following:

  • Symptoms of anxiety
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Suicidal thoughts because of depression
  • Symptoms of mania
  • Symptoms of paranoia
  • Rebound symptoms that are similar to the ones you began taking the drug to treat
  • Upset stomach
  • Liver problems
  • Breathing problems
  • Heart issues 

It’s important to remember how potent these drugs are, and their effects are only intensified with continued usage of them.

Symptoms of Withdrawal from Over the Counter Medications

It’s possible that when you have always thought of drug addiction, you thought about illegal drugs, or even prescription drugs. People don’t usually consider the addictive properties of over the counter drugs. Even so, these medications can result in some serious withdrawal symptoms when they’re stopped abruptly, and these symptoms lead many people to continue using them for years.

If you choose to try and stop your use of over the counter drugs on your own, you might experience:
  • Feeling mentally confused
  • Hostile and aggressive behaviors
  • Symptoms of anxiety
  • Significant changes in your mood
  • An intense craving for your over the counter drug of choice 

More often than not, people go back to using over the counter medications when they encounter these and other symptoms of withdrawal.

Over the Counter Addiction Treatment

Over the Counter Addiction Treatment Centers in Washington State: Get Help Today

Perhaps you’re still not completely sure that you would call yourself an over the counter medication addict, but you’re also not sure that your over the counter medication use is acceptable, either. You suspect that you might have an over the counter medication addiction, but you need to talk with someone to find out for sure.

Here at Northpoint Recovery, we’ve had the pleasure of talking with many over the counter medication addicts about their drug use. We can help you improve your understanding of your over the counter medication addiction symptoms, and whether or not you should consider getting professional treatment. Whether you have questions about your own drug use, or you’re ready to get started with treatment as soon as possible, we can help you. Please contact us today.

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Northpoint Washington: Opening April 2019

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