To be honest, people don’t get too surprised to learn that they have become addicted to prescription medication as they can understand how the addiction can occur. However, when it comes to over-the-counter medication, there is a bit more surprise there. Believe it or not, OTC medication addiction happens far more often than you may realize, and it occurs often because individuals assume that it isn’t something that can occur. People wrongly believe that since a medication is available for purchase over-the-counter without a prescription that it must be safe to take, even in dosages higher than what is recommended on the packaging.
There are many types of over-the-counter medications that abused frequently and can result in an addition, including:
- Cough medicine/DXM
- Sleep aids
- Diet pills
While it is true that older children and teenagers are more likely to attempt to obtain these drugs than adults, the addiction can occur to anyone and with no warning. Regardless of age or the type of over-the-counter medication that you have been using, if you have become addicted to one of the aforementioned drugs, then you need professional assistance to stop using the drug. There are over-the-counter addiction treatment centers to help you stop the use of the drug safely so that you can recovery with fewer complications and withdrawal symptoms.
What Is the Purpose of Over-the-Counter Medications?
There are many over-the-counter meds that have been approved for many different purposes. These meds are beneficial in treating everything from headaches and the common cold to helping you lose weight and fall asleep. Generally, when you take OTC medications, you take them for their intended purpose and only for a short period of time. However, for some individuals, this is not the case.
It is easy for regular over-the-counter medication use to move into abuse of the medications, and when this happens, it can turn into a very serious problem.
The Fine Line of OTC Medication Abuse
It may be possible that the reason we have such a huge problem with OTC medication abuse in the U.S. is because the drugs can easily be obtained. They are inexpensive, for the most part, and the majority of states do not set a restriction on age for purchasing them.
Abuse of over-the-counter medications begin when these drugs are taken in a dosage that is higher than recommended or when they are taken for a purpose that is not intended on the manufacturer’s packaging. In some cases, individuals will abuse these drugs by combining them with prescription or illegal drugs in order to experience a far more intense high.
There is a fine line that exists between the abuse of over-the-counter medications and addiction. The problem lies in that the symptoms of addiction often aren’t realized until it is just too late.
Have You Noticed OTC Medication Addiction Symptoms?
Generally, over-the-counter med symptoms that you experience will vary from drug to drug. While this may be true, the symptoms that you will experience will generally include the following:
- Symptoms of depression
- Becoming emotionally withdrawn
- Problems with memory recall
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Experiencing cognitive withdrawal
Once these symptoms begin to surface, you may find yourself quite surprised as you had no idea that the over-the-counter medications that you were taking were addictive. However, if these symptoms are present—or any other symptoms—it is important that you consider whether OTC addiction treatment may be beneficial for you.
Recognizing OTC Medication Addiction Behaviors
In some cases, it may be easier to identify addiction of over-the-counter medications by looking for particular behaviors instead of symptoms. Due to the factor that each person responds differently to these drugs, if you are concerned that you or someone that you love may be addicted to over-the-counter medications, you can keep an eye out for some of the following addictive behaviors:
- Over-the-counter medication withdrawal symptoms due to absence of the drug
- An increased tolerance for the OTC drug of choice
- Symptoms of depression
- An increase in agitation, irritability, or anger
- A sudden onset of panic attacks or anxiety
This particular kind of addiction needs to be treated as quickly as possible, as it isn’t uncommon for individuals to develop a powerful tolerance to OTC drugs and then move on to other drugs—prescription or illegal drugs—in order to get the experience that they are looking for. If you have noticed any of the behaviors or symptoms of OTC addiction, please seek help immediately.
What Do You Do If You Have an Over-the-Counter Medication Addiction?
Once you truly suspect that you’re addicted to OTC medications, you need to find out what you need to do in order to get the help that you need to overcome your addiction. It is important that you don’t stop taking these drugs cold turkey or abruptly, as this can lead to very serious withdrawal symptoms, which can be very unpleasant, depending on the exact medication that you have been taking. In order to minimize and keep the withdrawal symptoms under control, it is generally recommended to undergo drug detox. This process purges your body of the over-the-counter medications that you have been using and helps you get through the most horrible part of the withdrawal phase safely and quickly.
It is also recommended for individuals who have been abusing OTC drugs to enter into and successfully complete a drug rehab. Over-the-counter medication addiction treatment helps to address the root issues of the addiction, which ensures that you recover from the addiction properly.
Quality Over-the-Counter Medication Rehab Centers
If you plan to seek treatment for your OTC addiction, you want to enter into a quality OTC medication rehab program. Shadow Mountain Recovery is considered one of those facilities, and we have successfully helped many individuals overcome their over-the-counter medication addictions.
If you are interested in talking about your addiction, our program, and how we can help you, get in touch with us today at Shadow Mountain Recovery.
Don’t wait another day to get the help you or a loved one needs. Call us now.