Dependency Vs Addiction: The Rebound Effect
The rebound effect occurs when you use nasal sprays, specifically decongestant sprays, regularly. After a few days of using this type of spray, your nose will become less responsive to the effects of the medication. You may have problems with your nasal congestion returning, or rebounding, once the medication is stopped. As a result, you may need to use more and more to combat the congestion.
Some people confuse the rebound effect with addiction, but Dr. Erdos said nasal spray addiction isnt a true addiction. Addiction is defined as a severe substance disorder;that results in continuous and compulsive use of a substance despite that substance causing harm, she said. Over-the-counter nasal sprays, however, dont cause the same physiological cravings.
To better understand the different kinds of nasal sprays and how to use them safely, heres a breakdown of the four different types.
What Are Nasal Sprays
Nasal sprays are medications inhaled into the body via a pressurized canister or spray bottle. Available both over-the-counter and in prescription form, nasal sprays are most often used to treat conditions that cause congestion or inflammation in the nasal cavities, such as allergic rhinitis or upper-respiratory infections .;
The flu vaccine is also available in a nasal spray. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , people with certain medical conditions opt for the flu shot instead .
What To Do If You’re Dependent On Nasal Spray
If you believe you’re dependent on nasal spray, speak to your doctor. They can perform a physical exam and pinpoint the root cause of the congestion. Once they do, they may prescribe other treatments like allergy medications.
All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.
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Other Issues With Decongestant Nasal Sprays
In addition, sometimes people abuse pseudoephedrine by using it to make an illegal recreational drug, methamphetamine, according to information from the American Academy of Family Physicians.
For this reason, some states may require a doctors prescription for these products. In others, pharmacies may keep products containing this chemical behind the counter, even though they do not need a prescription.
There may also be a limit on how much you can buy each month, and individuals may have to show ID or give personal details when they buy this type of decongestant.
How To Stop Nasal Spray Addiction
Admitting there is a problem is the first step. Next, you should seek proper guidance, detoxify your body and commit to a nasal spray addiction treatment center. But it doesnt stop there. You should also make a dedication to your overall well-being and sobriety, and then stay fully committed to a recovery program.
Here are the possible steps you should take if youre seeking recovery from oxymetazoline abuse:
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What Is The Rebound Effect Caused By Afrin
Rhinitis;medicamentosa;is the clinical term for rebound congestion, a major problem caused by excessive and lengthy use of;Afrin. This rebound effect has led to the erroneous belief that you can become addicted to;Afrin.
Afrin-caused rebound congestion is not a form of addiction. Instead, suffering recurring nasal congestion due to overuse of;Afrin;is a physiological reaction involving tolerance of nasal passage tissues to;oxymetazoline. The nasal spray rebound effect has no psychological component. People dont crave Afrin the way they would a chemically dependent drug like opiates. The only thing that compels them to keep using Afrin is that they cannot breathe normally through their nose without repeatedly spraying oxymetazoline onto nasal passage tissues.
Four Types Of Nasal Sprays
1. Saline Sprays
Over-the-counter saline sprays can help thin mucous and cleanse your nasal passages of pollen and other allergens.
Addictive? No, these dont cause irritation or dependency, although some preservatives or additives can cause irritation if you are sensitive to them.
What types can I use? Most over-the-counter saline nasal sprays are made of the same saline concentration thats in your body. They will specifically say saline or drug-free on the label. Look for sodium chloride and sterilized water as the main ingredients. While saline sprays can be effective, humidifiers can also be an alternative, especially in drier months.
2. Steroid Sprays
Steroid sprays are used to reduce swelling and inflammation in your nasal passages. These can be a great alternative for those who experience side effects from medications taken by mouth.
Addictive? No, steroid sprays are safe to use and a good option for seasonal and environmental allergies. If you need the nasal spray longer than 6 months, however, talk to your doctor.
What types can I use? Look for steroid sprays that contain corticosteroids. They may also appear as fluticasone propionate or triamcinolone acetonide. There are several available both over the counter and by prescription, so talk to your doctor and pharmacist about which product is best to treat your symptoms.
3. Antihistamine Sprays
Addictive? No, antihistamine sprays are not habit-forming.
4. Decongestant Sprays
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Myth : All Nasal Sprays Are The Same
Imagine this scenario: You have a cold or seasonal allergies and head to the pharmacy to get a nasal spray to help clear the congestion so you can breathe. All nasal sprays are the same, so you can grab the first bottle you see, right? Wrong.
There are four different types of nasal sprays, each with a different purpose.
- : Decongestant nasal sprays alleviate congestion and a runny nose by temporarily shrinking the blood vessels in the nose . This type of nasal spray is typically sold over-the-counter with two main active ingredients, oxymetazoline and pseudoephedrine . Phenylephrine is now replacing pseudoephedrine in many products. Decongestant nasal sprays can be dangerous to use for an extended amount of time and that may cause rebound congestion .
- Steroid: Steroid nasal sprays contain corticosteroids that help stop the inflammation of allergic rhinitis and seasonal allergies. Steroid nasal sprays work by applying the corticosteroid directly on delicate nose tissues to stop allergy symptoms like nasal congestion. Steroid nasal sprays are available in prescription form and over-the-counter with active ingredients like fluticasone propionate and triamcinolone acetonide .
- Saline: Saline nasal sprays are an all-natural way to treat congestion and mucus build-up with a mixture of sterilized water and sodium chloride instead of medication. The combination helps loosen mucus and debris inside the nose to clear congestion and blockages.
Reducing Dependence On Decongestant Nasal Sprays
Little do patients know that OTC decongestant nasal sprays can lead to dependence.
Many patients are unaware of the possibility of becoming dependent on non-controlled medications. Little do they know that OTC decongestant nasal sprays, such as Afrin, can lead to dependence.
Patients have a misconception that OTC medications are safe and do not have any associated risks. However, if patients do not read the package labeling on decongestant nasal sprays, then they can easily get caught in a vicious cycle where they are unable to wean themselves off of the nasal spray due to the severity of their nasal congestion.
Rhinitis medicamentosa, otherwise known as rebound congestion, can occur if nasal decongestant nasal sprays are not used properly and are taken longer than 3 days.
This congestion can only be alleviated by the continuous use of the nasal spray. This is how the cycle begins.
Because decongestant nasal sprays like Afrin are accessible to many, it is possible that many patients a) are not reading the drug label, b) do not understand the label, and/or c) do not know the severity of the consequence of rebound congestion. As a result, rebound congestion may be affecting these patients and can easily go unrecognized.
How is rebound congestion treated?
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What Is Nasal Spray Dependency
It’s important to understand that nasal sprays should not be used for more than three days. Therefore, it’s not a long-term solution for a runny nose. If you use it for too long, the nasal spray may cause congestion instead of prevent it.
While it is possible to become dependent on nasal spray, addiction to it is not typical. So how do you know you depend on nasal spray and overuse it? Here are some telltale signs.
- You’ve used nasal spray for more than a week.
- You’ve used nasal spray more often than recommended.
- You experience congestion when you stop using nasal spray.
What Happens If You Use A Dns For Too Long
Typically when you experience congestion, your nasal passages have become swollen, shrinking the amount of space in your nose that air can move through. Decongestant nasal sprays work by immediately shrinking the swollen blood vessels, which provides fast relief and helps you breathe easier. However, when the drug wears off, your blood vessels swell up again .
DNSs are only intended for temporary relief . After a few days of using a nasal decongestant spray, your nose becomes less responsive to the effects of the medication. Youll find yourself needing more and more to get rid of your congestion. Or, when you stop the spray, your congestion may return right away. This rebound effect, or Rhinitis Medicamentosa , is often mistaken as addiction to nasal spray. If you continue to use a decongestant nasal spray for too long or too frequently, this swelling can become worse and lead to tissue damage inside the nose.
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How To Use A Dns Properly
To use a decongestant nasal spray properly, you need to point the nasal spray toward the back of the nose so that you can inhale the medicine. Avoid spraying directly at the nasal septum because you can damage tissue and cause a bloody nose. Here are a few other tips for using nasal spray:
Prevent Future Oxymetazoline Abuse
After youve successfully weaned yourself from oxymetazoline, you should take preventative measures to avoid relapse. Research has shown that some clients are able to fully recover from addiction immediately following a structured treatment. Other clients experience a few relapses before they finally achieve permanent abstinence. And others may undergo repeated relapses that lead to severe health conditions or even death.
Because so many addicts go through a relapse, its important to have a prevention strategy in place. The key is to assess and stay on top of warning signs before you have an episode of relapse. You can learn to become aware of the symptoms and causes that tempt you back to nasal sprays by following a relapse-prevention strategy. Here are a few tips:
- Do not succumb to sprays when you have a stuffy nose. Our body has ways to handle many common health conditions including a stuffy nose, but you have to be patient. Taking shortcuts in the form of nasal sprays could be detrimental.
- Try to fight the infection naturally. Only switch to oral decongestants or alternative drugs if necessary. If you do use a nasal spray, only use it within dosage limits and do not use the past two or three days.
- Ask your friends and family for support. Your loved ones can help you stay on the right path.
Here are a few activities that can help you stay on a positive path:
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How Do You Help People Who Have Overused Decongesting Sprays
Firstly, I look for the initial reason of congestion that caused my patient to seek out the nasal spray. To do this, I perform a nasal endoscopy;exam. If the endoscopy identifies any of the following causes, I then place my patient on a course of treatment to relieve the blockage.
- Allergy related conditions
If none of the listed conditions are;at fault, I will provide my patient with a steroid nasal spray and this does not cause rebound congestion nor is it addictive. I instruct patients to gradually lessen its use from twice a day to once a day and then to only use it at night. Ultimately, they wont be using the nasal spray at all.
I may also recommend the use of saline nasal spray and if patients experience a headache during withdrawal from the decongesting spray, I may recommend paracetamol.
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Nasal Spray Addiction Treatments
Treating nasal spray addiction to natural remedies is becoming more popular. Unfortunately millions of people worldwide suffer from this medical condition. It is important to note that nasal spray addiction is a consequence of using a decongestant nasal spray to relieve the symptoms of a previous sinus condition. Therefore once the nasal spray addiction has been dealt with it may still be necessary to treat the cause of the original sinus condition such as infection or allergies.
Discontinue use Going cold turkey and stopping the use of the decongestant nasal spray can eventually break the dependency. However, this can cause sleep deprivation, anxiety, extreme nasal congestion, etc., and general suffering and misery.
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What Is The Best Treatment For Nasal Congestion
Steroid sprays. Some nasal sprays contain corticosteroids that help reduce swelling in the nasal passages. Steroid sprays work best for chronic congestion caused by allergies or irritants. Some steroid sprays require a prescription from your doctor, while others are available at your local drugstore.
The Causes Of Nasal Spray Dependency
As a consequence, the user continues to spray in order to get rid of the stuffy nose and to breathe freely. When the nasal spray is used for a longer period, dependency arises. When xylometazoline is not administered frequently, the nose will remain congested. The inability to breathe freely is highly uncomfortable and causes many users to continue their use. Addiction to nasal sprays then arises.
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Myth : You Can Get Addicted To Nasal Sprays
This one is partially true. Decongestant nasal sprays can cause rebound congestion or rhinitis medicamentosa. The rebound effect is when your congestion can worsen when you stop using the decongestant nasal spray after long-term use, and its relatively common. In one study, half of the almost 900 participants with nasal congestion used their decongestant sprays for longer;than recommended .
The reason behind rhinitis medicamentosa has to do with how these sprays work. Many over-the-counter decongestant nasal sprays work by constricting blood vessels that cause inflammation and increased mucus production inside the nose. When the blood vessels shrink, so does the inflammation and runny nose .;
The effects of decongestant nasal sprays dont last long; when the medication wears off, the vessels swell againand the runny nose returns. You have to use the nasal spray again to experience relief. Some research shows this can create an addictive pattern in some people who feel compelled to continually use more and more of the medication to get the same relief .;
While scientists dont know the exact mechanism of rhinitis medicamentosa, they hypothesize that using decongestant nasal sprays long-term can lead to changes in your nasal mucosa and its blood vessels, contributing to rebound congestion. Also, some people may need a higher dose of the decongestant for it to work because the nasal mucosa gets used to it .;
- Increased congestion between doses
What Happens If You Cant Stop Using Afrin Because Of Rebound Congestion
Your ability to stop using;Afrin;depends on how you can handle several days of a stuffy nose and being unable to breathe normally. Since the rebound effect isnt an addiction, you can withdraw from daily;Afrin;use at home safely.
One way to defeat rebound congestion is to simply go cold turkey. Most long-term;Afrin;users cannot do this because having a stuffy nose 24/7 is just uncomfortable and interferes with eating, sleeping and work tasks. Saline solutions may help ease the side effects of rebound congestion and get you through the worst days.
Saline nasal sprays contain sodium chloride and water that moisturize nasal passages and remove debris such as pollen and dust. Clearing stuffy nasal passages with a saline solution also gets rid of excess mucus to facilitate breathing normally again. Although saline solutions are non-habit-forming and wont cause a rebound effect, the relief you feel after spraying saline and water onto your nasal passages is a short 30 to 45 minutes. Fortunately, you can use saline nasal sprays as much as you want without harming nasal tissues.
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Why Do I Get Rebound Congestion With Afrin
The mechanism of how Afrin® works is to decrease blood supply to your turbinates and nasal lining . Once the spray is stopped, the turbinates and nasal lining respond by swelling even more. The patient then experiences even worse congestion than before use and is inclined to use the Afrin spray again.
Myths About Nasal Sprays
Nasal sprays may seem like a no-brainer for alleviating congestion and minor pains that come with seasonal allergies and colds. However, long-standing myths about nasal sprays effectiveness and safety cause many people to opt for tried-and-true oral medications instead.;
In reality, many of these myths about nasal sprays are exaggeratedor just plain false.;
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