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Over The Counter Addictive Drugs

Addiction Treatment Process For Over

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Addiction treatment is an individualized process and everyones path to recovery is different. However, there are evidence-based practices that scientific research has identified that help people achieve and maintain sobriety.

Treatment often begins with medical detox, if the patient has developed physiological dependence on a substance or substances. After detox, most patients need continued treatment to confront many of the underlying issues that contribute to their addiction. This is often addressed through rehabilitation in an inpatient treatment center or outpatient rehab.

Behavioral therapy makes up the bulk of addiction treatment, as it is often necessary to change the thought and behavioral patterns that contribute to substance use.

Otc Drugs And Alcohol

You should not mix some OTC drugs with alcohol, as this can cause life-threatening results. Acetaminophen is especially harmful when mixed with alcohol, and can cause liver damage.

Cough syrup and alcohol can also cause harm, as both are depressants, causing the central nervous system to slow the breath down, which can increase the risk of overdose.

Can You Overdose On Otc Medications

An overdose is a risk when using OTC medications.

Health risks associated with OTC medication overdose include:

An overdose can occur even when someone uses the medication as intended, so its important to read and understand the instructions before taking an over-the-counter medication.

One of the most common overdose incidents occurs when someone mixes medications without realizing they contain the same ingredients. This is why its important to review a drugs label before using it.

Taking one or more otherwise safe medications simultaneously is potentially fatal due to overdose. This is double-dosing and it occurs when someone uses two medications containing the same active ingredients. An example of double-dosing would be someone taking acetaminophen to reduce a fever and also taking a cold or flu medication that contains acetaminophen.

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How Are Otcs Abused

OTC medication abuse is dangerous.

Abuse occurs when a medication is overused or used for unintended purposes. For example, some people misuse OTC medications to achieve a euphoric high or to self-medicate for mental health disorders. OTC medications are also altered and used in recipes to create dangerous street drugs.

There is a risk that someone abusing over-the-counter medications might move onto illicit drugs to achieve a more powerful reaction.

What Are The Signs That Someone Is Abusing Over

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Prescription and over-the-counter medications are the most commonly abused drugs in the U.S., after alcohol and marijuana. If youre concerned that someone you love is abusing over-the-counter drugs, he or she may display some of the following signs of OTC drug abuse:

  • Problems at school or work
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Changing friends or social circles
  • Isolation from family or friends
  • Stealing valuables or cash from friends or family
  • Requesting money frequently
  • Finding drug paraphernalia3

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The Science Of Addiction: A Chronic Disease That Deserves Treatment

How does addiction happen?

Addiction is a chronic brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful effects to the individual and others.

  • Drug dependence is a complex disease process and the drug abuser cannot voluntarily stop their use of illicit or prescription drugs.
  • People who become addicted to drugs are not necessarily immoral or lacking in character in fact, drug addiction occurs throughout the mainstream of society.
  • Brain circuit changes may challenge an addicted persons self-control and hamper his or her ability to resist intense impulses to take drugs. Environmental and social signals can also trigger further misuse of drugs.

While someone who becomes addicted to drugs is always at risk for relapse, there are effective treatments for drug detoxification and maintenance.

A Typical Course Of Over

Addiction treatment for over-the-counter drugs varies depending on the type of drug one is addicted to. Since most over-the-counter drugs are abused by teenagers, family involvement is essential to the treatment process.

The first step in an effective treatment program is to assess the needs of the patient. In addition to their physical addiction, behavioral, social, scholastic, familial and health factors should be taken into account when designing a treatment plan.

Once a comprehensive, holistic addiction treatment plan is in place, patients usually begin the detox process. Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the type, duration and severity of addiction to over-the-counter drugs and can be very difficult for patients to endure. Medically monitored detox is recommended, especially since severe symptoms can occasionally be prevented or managed with medication.

The next step in treatment is usually some form of behavioral therapy, which teaches patients how to cope with cravings, avoid situations that might trigger use and deal with potential relapses. It also addresses underlying issues, such as depression, anxiety, learning disabilities or multiple addictions.

Once addiction treatment is complete, an aftercare program or follow-up plan should be established to prevent relapse.

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What Are Otc Drugs

Over-the-counter drugs are medications that can readily be bought in stores and pharmacies without the need for any prescription.

These drugs are very different from the health supplement, dietary pills, and powders because their major purpose is to treat common illnesses such as fever, headaches, colds, allergies, and others.

Before being declared an OTC drug, the Food and Drug Administration evaluates and balances the medicinal effect and side effects of the drug.

Many years ago, several substances and medications were sold without any prescription which led to serious issues of selling dangerous drugs to the community. As a result, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was enacted in 1938.

This law gave the United States FDA the authority to evaluate and regulate drugs, cosmetics, and substances sold in stores and pharmacies. Likewise, another agency called the Drug Efficacy Study Implementation was created to monitor and study the effectiveness of drugs and substances in the country.

Along with this progression, the government made a distinction between OTC and prescription drugs. Drugs that aim to cure a specific disease need to have a prescription to regulate their usage and distribution.

In line with this, certain criteria must be met before allowing the drug to be readily sold without any prescription:

Before purchasing any OTC drug, you need to ensure its safety by doing some steps to know more about this drug.

Here are some steps to check the safety of any drug:

What Is The Difference Between Over

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People trying to obtain prescription drugs need a legal prescription written by a doctor to get them. However, over-the-counter drugs are not intended for one particular individual and they are readily available without consulting with a doctor or pharmacist.

Regardless of their availability, over-the-counter drugs still come with some risks and may interact with other drugs and cause adverse effects. OTC drug users should always follow the recommended doses on the label, ask a doctor or pharmacist about any possible drug interactions, and pay attention to any side effects or allergic reactions that may occur as a result of taking the OTC drug.

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Fda Moves Toward Making Overdose Antidote An Over

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration appears poised to approve certain naloxone products for over-the-counter use, a move that would help fight the nation’s opioid epidemic.

Naloxone can save lives when administered soon after the first signs of an overdose from opioids such as heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone or morphine.

On Tuesday, the FDA issued a Federal Register notice that could lead to some prescription naloxone products getting approved for over-the-counter sales. The notice could also encourage development of new nonprescription naloxone products.

“Today’s action supports our efforts to combat the opioid overdose crisis by helping expand access to naloxone,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf in an agency news release. “The agency will keep overdose prevention and reduction in substance use disorders as a key priority and area of intense strategic focus for action as rapidly as possible.”

The notice cites a preliminary assessment that a naloxone nasal spray and an autoinjector “may be approvable as safe and effective for nonprescription use.” However, it isn’t a final decision or a mandate to make naloxone products available without a prescription.

The FDA said it still needs more data, including packaging and labeling information, before it makes a final recommendation.

More information:

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Cough And Cold Medicine

OTC cough medicines like Nyquil can produce a high and hallucinations when they are abused. Dextromethorphan is an active ingredient found in cough medicines, which can also cause several harmful side effects when taken in large doses. High doses of DXM can cause:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Altered perception of time4

The misuse of cough medicine is often called robo-tripping, skittling or dexing.

The active ingredient in many cold medicines, pseudoephedrine, can produce stimulant effects and hallucinations when it is abused.5 Pseudoephedrine can also easily be chemically converted to methamphetamine and crystal meth.6

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Types Of Otc Medications

The following are the major categories of OTC medications that are abused:

  • Cough and cold medications
  • Caffeine or medications to induce wakefulness

Abuse of these medications can result in potentially dangerous side effects, interactions with other substances or medications, and even the development of physical dependence.

What Are Common Signs Of Over

Were you prescribed opioids instead of OTC pain meds?

Not all over-the-counter drugs have the potential to cause addiction but some do. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the misuse of OTC drugs like DXM and loperamide can lead to dependence and addiction.10 Most often, OTC drug addiction is caused by chronic, long-term abuse and can result in serious health problems, relationship issues, or problems at work or school. OTC drug addiction is also characterized by an inability to stop using the drug despite the negative consequences.

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Drug Abuse: What To Do

Worried that someone you love might be abusing drugs? The best thing to do is ask directly. Keep an eye out for signs of abuse, like behavior changes or missing medicines.

Many kids assume that common household drugs or even prescription medicines are safer than street drugs because they’re legal. Explain the risks. Head off problems — and clean out your medicine cabinet. Get rid of the drugs you don’t need, and keep track of the ones you do.

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How Do These Otc Medicines Affect The Brain

DXM is an opioid without effects on pain reduction and does not act on the opioid receptors. When taken in large doses, DXM causes a depressant effect and sometimes a hallucinogenic effect, similar to PCP and ketamine. Repeatedly seeking to experience that feeling can lead to addiction-a chronic relapsing brain condition characterized by inability to stop using a drug despite damaging consequences to a person’s life and health.

Loperamide is an opioid designed not to enter the brain. However, when taken in large amounts and combined with other substances, it may cause the drug to act in a similar way to other opioids. Other opioids, such as certain prescription pain relievers and heroin, bind to and activate opioid receptors in many areas of the brain, especially those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure. Opioid receptors are also located in the brain stem, which controls important processes, such as blood pressure, arousal, and breathing.

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Overdosing On Otc Cold Medicine

Overdose on cold medicine is an emergency that requires immediate medical attention. Signs of a DXM overdose include:

  • Blue lips or fingernails .

If you witness a DXM overdose, call 9-1-1 immediately. At the hospital, the person experiencing the overdose will likely receive breathing support, fluids, activated charcoal, or laxatives to expel the poison.

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Learning to spot an OTC drug addiction can be difficult. OTC drugs like Tylenol and various cough medicines dont carry the same dangerous image as illicit drugs like Heroin. People dont always see them as addictive, so many loved ones of people addicted to OTC drugs dont know to look for signs of a growing problem.

Some of the signs of an OTC drug addiction include continuing to use the drugs despite known consequences and spending an excessive amount of time or money using or getting them. There are 11 key criteria to diagnose an addiction to any drug.

Addiction Center is not affiliated with any insurance.

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Can You Be Addicted To Over

The answer is yes. Over-the-counter drugs can be just as addictive as prescription or illegal street drugs. Many people are under the misguided impression that OTC medications are not as dangerous as harder drugs, but this is not the case. The risk of accidental overdose is high and the long-term damage done to the brain and body can be life-changing and life-threatening. OTC addiction can also be treated with detox and rehab.

What Constitutes The Misuse Or Abuse Of Otc Drugs

OTC substances can be misused and abused in a number of ways. Several brands of OTC drugs can be mixed together and ingested. They can also be misused when they are taken for the purpose of getting high instead of for symptomatic relief. Taking these products at a higher frequency or in larger doses than directed on the products packaging also constitutes misuse and abuse. Serious side effects and other long term problems may result.

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Misuse Of Opioids: A Significant Problem

The abuse of prescription drugs has risen to unprecedented levels.

  • It’s shocking: according to the CDC on average over 44 people died everydayfrom prescription opioid overdoses in 2020 .
  • In fact, death from opioids — prescription drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl, as well as illicit heroin — have increased by more than 8 times since 1999.
  • Many street drugs today are laced with fentanyl and associated with a high risk of overdose.

Opioid abuse is a significant problem that must be addressed. In fact, the U.S. government allocates billions of dollars to fight this war each year.

But opioid painkillers are not the only prescription drug subject to abuse and addiction.

How Do You Treat Otc Drug Overdose

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If you suspect that someone has overdosed on OTC drugs, it is important to seek medical help immediately.

To treat an overdose, the person will be given activated charcoal. This helps to absorb the toxins in the stomach and prevent them from being absorbed into the bloodstream.

In some cases, a person may also need to be given fluids or other medications to treat the side effects of the overdose.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Otc Drug Abuse

It will be difficult to determine if someone is abusing OTC drugs early in their addiction. As their dosage increases over time, they will start to display erratic behavior that is attributed to drug abuse. Some warning signs to look for include:

  • Withdrawing socially
  • Changes in personality or mood
  • Slurred speech similar to alcohol intoxication
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight loss or weight gain

If you or someone you know is showing signs of OTC addiction, you must strongly consider seeking treatment. The first step is understanding the effects and becoming familiar with the changes that may be occurring. Despite the drugs being purchased effortlessly, death can still be a side effect of abuse. While it may ring true for all drugs, these OTC medications are hard on the liver and kidneys. OTC medicine may also cause stunted development in teens and young adults in the developmental phase of their lives.

Written by: Christopher Schumacher

About Christopher Schumacher: Chris is a writer for Arete and has dedicated his career to creating well-researched content. Inspired by helping others, Chris has worked for Arete to get people the treatment they need.

How Can People Get Treatment For Addiction To These Otc Medicines

There are no medications approved specifically to treat DXM or loperamide addiction. Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and contingency management, may be helpful. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps modify the patient’s drug-use expectations and behaviors, and effectively manage triggers and stress. Contingency management provides vouchers or small cash rewards for positive behaviors such as staying drug-free. Read more about drug addiction treatment in our Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction DrugFacts.

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Children And Teenagers Are At Higher Risk

Because these medications are easily accessible, children and teenagers looking to experiment are at higher risk. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that children starting at the age of 12 are among the first ones trying OTC drugs to get high. Nearly 3.1 million people aged 12 and older have misused OTC medications in their lifetime. Plus, close to 6% of high school seniors report abusing cough medicines containing dextromethorphan.

Prevention Of Otc Drug Abuse

Pharmacy selling potentially addictive medication without a prescription

Over-the-counter drug misuse can be prevented by only using the medicine for the symptoms or conditions it is designed to treat, in the right doses. All OTC drugs should only be taken in the manner intended those who crush, snort, or inject the drugs are misusing them. Also, most over-the-counter medications should not be taken with alcohol. Doing so can increase the risk of adverse effects.

Experts recommend that parents talk to their teenagers about the dangers of misusing OTC medications. They can track the websites teens frequent and look out for the warning signs, such as viewing sites on cough medicine for long periods of time. Parents can also set rules for not sharing medicines, monitor pill quantities and access in their home, and discard old or unused pills.

Misuse of over-the-counter drugs remains a major concern, but awareness seems to be getting out. The University of Michigans Monitoring the Future study found, from 2006 to 2014, misuse of cold and cough medicines by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders decreased from 4% to 3.2%. Even so, individuals of all ages need to be aware of the potential consequences of taking over-the-counter medications in ways they were not intended.

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