Many Americans seem to be obsessed with drugs. We’re among the world’s largest economies, and we’re also leaders in science, innovation and standard of living. But we also consume some of the highest levels of medicinal drugs — one area we’re certainly not proud of.
Our fast and furious lifestyle has influenced us to find easy remedies for every health issue. As we increase our dependence on drugs, it often leads to medicinal drug addiction. As a result, millions of Americans suffer from an addiction to various over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs.
What is Oxymetazoline?
Have you had stuffy nose caused by common cold or allergies? If you have, you might have used oxymetazoline in the form of drugs like Afrin or Mucinex to treat your nasal congestion issue. Oxymetazoline is a topical nasal decongestant (TND) that’s available over the counter. It can be very effective in providing temporary relief from a stuffy nose, also known as nasal congestion.
When you have a stuffy nose, the blood vessels in your nasal passages are dilated. Oxymetazoline helps shrink these blood vessels, giving you relief from nasal congestion within minutes. Long-lasting formulations of topical nasal decongestants (TND) can last for up to 12 hours.
When many people first try a TND, they discover a cure to their stuffy nose problems. With continued use beyond five days, there’s a high risk of damaging your nose and sinus areas. It could also lead to oxymetazoline addiction.
Oxymetazoline Brand Names
Oxymetazoline nasal is the generic name of the drug to treat nasal congestions. Due to its popularity, many pharmaceutical companies produce a variety of branded oxymetazoline products. Over 50 brands are widely available, with some being more popular than others. Each of these brands also has a variety of sub-brand names and alternatives. Here’s a list of some of the most popular brand names:
Drug Ingredients Similar to Oxymetazoline
If you check out the labels of various nasal sprays, you will generally find one of these ingredients:
They work like oxymetazoline and have similar tendencies for addiction.
Can You Get High Off Oxymetazoline?
People are usually surprised to learn that nasal spray addiction is common and very serious. The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction as a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences to the individual that is addicted and to those around them. Drug addiction is a brain disease because the abuse of drugs leads to changes in the structure and function of the brain.
TND addiction, thankfully, doesn’t change the brain structure, unlike drugs like cocaine or heroin. An oxymetazoline high isn't necessary a strong high, but it does exist and can have severe consequences. If a person uses nasal sprays excessively, it can cause psychosis. In some cases, oxymetazoline addicts experience recurring hallucinations.
While there are many OTC drugs that can cause addiction, oxymetazoline is considered one of the most addictive. Once a person is addicted, they find it very hard to function without it. Fifty million Americans suffer from chronic sinus problems, and according to ear, nose and throat (ENT) physicians and medical doctors, about one in four people are addicted to OTC nasal sprays. Per these numbers, around 10 million Americans suffer from nasal spray addiction.
If you look up the packaging of a popular nasal spray, it will tell you not to use it for more than 3 to 5 days at a time. If used for too long, TNDs cause the inner part of the nose to swell, which could prolong congestion. You could also enter a vicious cycle where the spray provides temporary relief, but then causes congestion and forces you to continue using it.
Overdose of oxymetazoline can be hazardous. Seek emergency medical attention if someone accidentally swallows it, or has an overdose due to addiction. Common symptoms of oxymetazoline overdose include:
- Extreme tiredness
- Slow or irregular heart beat
- Decreased breathing
Keep this medicine away from children. In children, oxymetazoline can cause serious medical problems including damage to the central nervous system.
Nasal Spray Addiction Treatment
Various treatments are available to tackle the negative effects of drug overuse and addiction. Studies show a combination of medicines to counter addiction, and effective rehabilitation is the proven way to cure patients. When treatment designs are based on each patient’s past drug abuse record and his or her emotional, social and health history, there is a high chance of sustained recovery. If the patient is committed and embraces the rehab therapies, the outcome would be a life without drug addiction.
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 rehab program. But it doesn’t 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 you’re seeking recovery from oxymetazoline addiction:
1. Seek Guidance
There are more resources to help you recover today than ever before, with numerous websites and community groups that can help you. The 12-step program has been a proven method to counter various drug and alcohol addiction situations. You should research rehab centers and choose a program that’s a good fit for you.
2. Recognize Oxymetazoline Side Effects and Withdrawal
Detox is vital and perhaps the most difficult step. A good drug rehab center can help you remove yourself from oxymetazoline addiction. As with any other addiction, treatment against oxymetazoline addiction will involve a withdrawal process.
As a result of oxymetazoline withdrawal, you may experience severe nasal congestion that could last many weeks or even months. In a best case scenario, patients fight a week of severe congestion before the body settles and clears up on its own. In most cases, rebound congestion lasts for several weeks before patients successfully wean themselves off the drug.
Some patients are able to stop using the drug in one nostril at a time. Others try to wean by gradually reducing the strength of nasal sprays by diluting them in a saline solution. This can be tried in one nostril at a time, or in both nostrils.
Some patients have success with replacing nasal sprays with oral decongestants, and they’re able to wean off nasal sprays in a few days to weeks. However, some patients need stronger medicines. Prescription steroids (pills or sprays) can be helpful in those situations, but should always be used under the supervision of a medical professional.
3. Know What to Expect at Rehab
Depending on the severity of your addiction, you should consider a rehab treatment center that specializes in your addiction. A rehab center is your best bet for successful recovery because it allows you to be away from your normal surroundings, and stay focused on your treatment.
Besides a fresh environment, you will also surround yourself with people who are overcoming a challenge like yours. You also have access to knowledgeable medical practitioners and mentors with experience in helping clients. Some rehabs provide a setting where you can have a balance of therapy and recreation time, which boosts your recovery process.
4. Choose the Right Rehab for Your Situation
It’s crucial that you choose a rehab that meshes with your own expectations and goals for the recovery process. Ask the following questions when choosing a rehab:
- What experience do the counselors and rehab staff have with addiction recovery for oxymetazoline?
- Is the staff composed of recovered addicts?
- Do they provide one-on-one counseling?
- How many clients do they accept at a time? The smaller the number, the more attention you will receive.
- How many clients are in a group therapy session? Again, if the number is small, clients tend to open up more, and the therapy sessions are more effective.
- How much privacy do clients have? Ask questions on basic infrastructure and rooming situations.
- What activities can clients engage in besides treatment?
- Can clients connect with family?
5. Learn to Live Without Oxymetazoline
A good rehab program will position you for success, but staying off nasal sprays can be a lifelong process. You should stick to the proven 12-step program or test other established recovery programs.
Leverage your friends and family for support and continue to participate in local support groups. Positive reinforcement in a group setting can be very powerful, and it will help you sustain your recovery. Also, consider finding health services or rehab centers that provide post-recovery guidance and counseling.
6. Prevent Future Oxymetazoline Abuse
After you’ve successfully weaned yourself from oxymetazoline, you should take preventative measures to avoid relapse. Research has shown that some clientss 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 relapse, it’s 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 past two or three days.
- Ask your friends and family for support. Your loved ones can help you stay on the right path.
Remain mindful of the consequences of relapse, and learn to combat your negative thoughts. If you engage in various positive and fulfilling activities, you’re less likely to become addicted again.
Here are a few activities that can help you stay on a positive path:
- Engage in meditation, yoga, spirituality or other activities focused on relaxing your mind.
- Connect with positive people and stay socially active.
- Participate in volunteer work.
- Talk to a sponsor if you have cravings for a substance.
- Participate in support groups that help with various types of substance abuse.
- Coach and mentor other people who are recovering from substance abuse.
7. Recognize That Drug Rehab Is a Journey
Our body is incredible in its ability to adapt to medicinal drugs. Quitting may not be easy, but it’s certainly possible. Drug addiction can be managed successfully, just like any other chronic disease such as diabetes, asthma or heart ailments.
Your recovery process is a journey, and it begins with admitting you have a problem. If you can overcome the denial stage and seek guidance, you’re already headed in the right direction. Take advantage of a great rehab facility and put yourself in an environment that will help you recover.
Once you’re recovered, surround yourself with positive people and activities in order to stay on course.
Get Help Today at 12 Keys Rehab
At 12 Keys Rehab, we provide our clients with a personalized approach to a real recovery. We have a small client population, qualified staff and a beautiful waterfront location in south Florida to provide you with a tailored rehab experience.
Our therapy model will help you or your loved one heal from the effects of substance abuse. When you come to our rehab facility, our medical professionals can assist with the immediate side effects of withdrawal. Going cold turkey from alcohol or drugs is risky, so our staff provides necessary medicinal intervention with the goal of removing toxins from your body in a safe and controlled manner.
After detox, you’ll begin your customized path to recovery that includes one-on-one group therapy sessions. We have a large staff and a small number of clients at any given time. This allows our staff to provide you with continuous personal care. We firmly believe that our clients should learn to manage situations in a real environment. As a result, our treatment also includes trips to off-site programs.
Contact 12 Keys today, and start finding your path to freedom from inhalant abuse.
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