Over-the-counter Drugs

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Over-the-counter Drugs

Over the counter drugs are the medicines which are available at the drug stores or supermarkets without any prescription. Abusing these types of drugs can lead you to the dangerous road of addiction, not only for OTC drugs but also to the other potent drugs.
If you use the OTC drugs at recommended doses than it is safe for you. But like other drugs, it can also be misused. Even though the OTC drugs are less potent, but continuous use can lead you toward the addiction. Some of the common problems faced by the drug addict are:
• Kidney failure
• Memory loss
• Heart problem
• Death
Some of the commonly abused OTC are:
• Cold medicine (Pseudoephedrine)
• Motion sickness pills (Dimenhydrinate)
• Cough medicine (Dextromethorphan, or DXM)
• Pain reliever (Acetaminophen)
OTC Drug Abuse
OTC drugs have various benefits like treating mild pain, motion sickness, self-medication for mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. If you abuse the medication, it can give you a euphoric “high” or hallucination. Even when you are using the drugs outside the prescription can be considered as the abuse.
As time goes on the addict gets tolerant of these drugs and may move on to other stronger drugs to get high. This can make you addicted to even stronger drugs.
Cough medication (Dextromethorphan, or DXM)
Cough medication is viral among young people, as it can be easily accessible. When you abuse this medication, it can cause hallucination, vomiting, rapid heart rate, shakiness, blurred vision, and even brain damage.
Cold medicines (Pseudoephedrine)
People abuse this drug to get hallucination or intense body high. It is also used to make drugs like methamphetamine. Abusing cold medicine can cause
• Shortness of breath
• Irregular heartbeat
• Dizziness
• Seizures
• High blood pressure
Motion sickness pills (Dimenhydrinate)
These pills are used to treat motion sickness and vertigo. If you abuse this drug and use high doses, then it may cause
• Ringing in ears
• Hallucination
• Nausea
• Seizures
• Coma
• Death
Pain reliever (Acetaminophen)
Acetaminophen is one of the active ingredients in the pain relievers like Tylenol. The high doses and abuse can affect the health of an addict in a cruel way like:
• Diarrhoea
• Sweating
• Stomach pain
• Nausea
OTC drug addiction
When you abuse the OTC drugs, your body starts forming the tolerance for these drugs. To get that feeling again, you begin taking stronger doses or move to the potent medications.
When you try to stop using these drugs, you will face the withdrawal symptoms. Some of the common symptoms of OTC drug withdrawal are:
• Hostility
• Confusion
• Mood change
• Anxiety
To spot an OTC drug addict can be challenging to find. As they do not carry the same dangerous image as other drugs. People do not consider them addictive. But some sign of addiction to these drugs can be
• Using even after getting the desired result
• Spending extra money and time
OTC drug abuse statistics
• Some form of cough medicine abused by the 12th graders is about 4 per cent
• Young people ranging from age 12 to 25 who have used nonprescription and cold medicine to get high is about 3.1 million
OTC Drug Addiction Treatment
Overcoming any addiction can be difficult but not impossible the same goes for the OTC drug addiction. There are multiple options for the treatment like:
• Rehabilitation centre
• Individual and group therapy
• Mental health counselling
• Psychotherapies
A patient who is suffering from OTC drug addiction should enrol in the rehabilitation centres as they provide you with the medication to stay sober, which also reduces the chances of relapse.

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