Most people are aware that misuse of prescription drugs can lead to addiction and health consequences, but many may not be clear about the widespread OTC drug abuse problem. OTC medications are generally considered safe to use when taken in the recommended dosages. But, some of these drugs are abused and often cause severe adverse health effects in such cases. Below is information to help increase understanding of how to avoid drug addiction by being more informed about seemingly innocuous misuse of OTC medications.
What Are OTC Drugs?
Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are medicines people can buy without a doctor’s prescription at a pharmacy, department store, supermarket, convenience store, or from online retailers. They’re less potent than prescription medicines or illicit drugs, but they still present a risk of addiction for individuals who begin using them excessively.
Over-The-Counter Drug Abuse
Every day, millions of people throughout the United States use over-the-counter medications to prevent or relieve symptoms from a vast array of common ailments from aches to allergies. Those for self-treatment of pain, cold medications, motion sickness, and others are often misused for self-medicating to help cope with depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.
Using these types of over-the-counter medicines in ways, or for purposes, that are not in conformance with the instructions and are outside a doctor’s recommendations is drug abuse. Misusing some of these kinds of OTC medicines can give users a euphoric high feeling, and some can even induce hallucinations. Sometimes, people who abuse OTC drugs ultimately seek a more intense high and gravitate to much stronger prescription drugs or illegal street drugs.
Abusing OTC medications can cause health issues such as substance addiction, heart problems, kidney failure, and even death. Frequently misused OTC drugs include:
- Cold medications (Pseudoephedrine)
- Cough medications (Dextromethorphan, or DXM)
- Diet aids (Phentermine)
- Motion sickness medications (Dimenhydrinate)
Over The Counter Drug Addiction
All the above listed common OTC drugs that are frequently abused can lead to addiction. The OTC medications are often used by young teens because they’re so often easily accessible in a family’s bathroom medicine cabinet. Severe effects from excessive use of some of these various drugs can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Blood pressure escalation or drop
- High body temperature
- Blurred vision
- Impaired judgment
- Blacking out
- Other acute effects
Causes of Drug Addiction
Some key factors in the development of drug addiction are likely to be common among people with substance use disorder (SUD). Those factors may be: environmental (one’s family or social group encouraging drug use), genetic (inherited trait promoting the rapid development of dependence on a drug), and brain changes (neurons affected by drug use).
OTC Addiction Treatment in Gilbert Arizona
We help people in rehab for SUD become empowered with coping strategies and eliminate the paralyzing emotional pain, and sense of guilt, shame, and isolation they experience. Our drug rehab programs focus on developing mindfulness, utilizing social support, and building skills for sustaining recovery long-term, such as dealing with triggers and coping with challenges.
Renaissance options in treatment for substance addiction include:
- Partial Hospitalization (referral)
- Outpatient Program
- Aftercare Program
Take Your Life Back – Call Renaissance Recovery Center, AZ
Renaissance is a prescription drug rehab center. We work on helping people overcome the causes of drug addiction, instead of just stopping drug use. We don’t have a one-size-fits-all rehab program. Our clients benefit from customized recovery solutions focused on their individual needs.