OTC Drug Abuse

OTC Drug Abuse

Why over the counter medication is not necessarily as safe as you may think. Learn more about OTC drug abuse.

Over the counter medication (OTC) is easy to access, fairly economic, and aimed to treat several ailments without the need of a formal prescription. However, precisely these same characteristics has led to an increase in OTC drug abuse for the past few years.

Depending on your particular situation, you may be using OTC meds to treat minor aches, pains, and itches. Or to alleviate minor infections. The FDA is the government agency in charge of deciding whether the medication is safe enough to be sold as an over the counter treatment. Unfortunately, over the counter drug abuse still happens and it's a growing problem that affects teenagers and adults alike.

Using over the counter drugs to get high, has been increasingly popular because of how easy is to obtain the drug and combine it with other products of the same nature to prolong the high, experience alternate-reality episodes, and a sense of disconnecting from real life.

Some of the most commonly used over the counter drugs to get high include:

  • Cough medicines (Dextromethorphan, or DXM)
  • Cold medicines (Pseudoephedrine)
  • Motion sickness pills (Dimenhydrinate)
  • Pain relievers (Acetaminophen)

The majority of these OTC have a number of side effects that abusers continuously seek. OTC drug abuse using these medications lead to:

  • Cough medicines (Dextromethorphan, or DXM): produces a potent high that leads to hallucinations.
  • Cold medicines (Pseudoephedrine): is used to get an intense feeling of euphoria and it is often used to develop illicit drugs like metamphetamine.
  • Motion sickness pills (Dimenhydrinate): this particular medication is used for its psychedelic properties.
  • Pain relievers (Acetaminophen): abused for its numbing properties.

Over the counter drug abuse has many risky side effects that, if left untreated, could develop into serious health conditions and even death. Some of the most common side effects that come from OTC drug abuse are:

  • Impaired motor function
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Hypoxic brain damage
  • Respiratory depression
  • Cardiac arrest

While some abusers start with the intent of "just trying it once to fit in", the moment you are hooked on the cycle of using over the counter drugs to get high, you will most-likely fall into an addiction.

Over the counter drug abuse changes the brain's chemistry with time. This means, the addiction comes once you develop tolerance to the drugs and you need more and more to be able to feel some of the effects.

The only way to stop and recover from OTC drug abuse, is with a comprehensive rehabilitation treatment.

If you have used over the counter drugs to get high, you will most-likely experience withdrawal symptoms once you start detoxing and rehabilitating from the toxins of the drugs. In this case, some of the most common withdrawal symptoms you may experience are:

  • Confusion and memory problems
  • Violent behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Mood swings

It is of extreme importance that you treat your over the counter drug abuse with the expertise of medical professionals and specialists, in a treatment facility that can monitor and control your symptoms to prevent any health risks.

OTC drug abuse is treatable and you can overcome it with the right treatment.

 

 

Sources:

https://medlineplus.gov/overthecountermedicines.html

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-over-counter-medications

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