Engaging in over the counter drug abuse carries as many risks to your health and well-being as abusing prescription medication or even street drugs. In fact, medicines stocked by your drugstore can lead you into illicit drugs like heroin, cocaine, and meth. Just because pharmacies sell these medicines without prescriptions, it doesn’t mean that they’re addiction-free.

What Are Over the Counter Drugs?

packets of pills represent over the counter drug abuseYou can buy over the counter (OTC) drugs without any problem in your grocery market or drugstore. However, this doesn’t make them free from the potential for addiction. Many people engage in over the counter drug abuse for the high they provide, risking addiction, overdose, and significant health problems. Even common cold medicine can lead people into rehab treatment, with some even dying from using too much of these otherwise helpful medications.

Abusing over the counter drugs can cause significant health problems like kidney failure, memory loss, heart problems, and death.

Some of the most frequently abused OTC drugs include the following:

  • Cough syrups
  • Cold medicines
  • Pain relievers
  • Motion sickness pills

Over the Counter Drug Abuse

OTC medications certainly serve a useful purpose. They help you reduce pain, cure a cold, or stop your cough. If you suffer motion sickness, some medications enable you to ride in a car, boat, or airplane without feeling ill.

For these reasons, your corner drugstore provides convenience and continuity in your life. Compared to generations past, we can quickly remedy our illnesses today, enabling us to avoid missing work, school, or important family moments.

However, many people turn to over the counter drugs for other problems. Suffering depression, anxiety, or other common mental illnesses leads some into OTC medication abuse. Others seek a high from their OTC drugs in recreational use. However, not using these drugs according to their label instructions or your doctor’s guidance equates to substance abuse.

When abusing these medications, you take yourself closer to street drug abuse and addiction with each dose.

Over the counter drug abuse cause a wide range of telltale signs and symptoms of that misuse. Examples of these signs and symptoms include:

Cough Medicines

Hallucinations and an intense high come from abusing cough syrups or other medicines for a cough. These attract young people, who mix the cough syrup in soft drinks or punch to make Sizzurp or Lean. Using too much of this medication causes vomiting, fast heartbeat, blurry vision, shaking, and brain damage.

Cold Medicines

Medicines for your cold symptoms, like pseudoephedrine, base their treatment on stimulants as the active ingredient. At too high of a dose, OTC cold medicine with pseudoephedrine causes hallucinations or an intense body high. Methamphetamine uses pseudoephedrine as well. This ingredient causes irregular pulse, shortness of breath, dizziness, high blood pressure, and seizures.

Motion Sickness Pills

Motion sickness pills with dimenhydrinate help treat vertigo and motion sickness. This drug can also cause hallucinations, ear ringing, irregular heart rate, nausea, seizures, coma, and death. People seek to abuse OTC motion sickness medication for its hallucinogenic properties.

Pain Medication

People frequently abuse pain relievers like Tylenol in high doses and through long-term use. However, this can cause a range of health problems, including permanent liver damage. If you abuse acetaminophen, you experience diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramping, and sweating.

Help for Your OTC Drug Addiction

Recreational drug abuse of any kind indicates unsolved problems in your life. Maybe you suffer from past trauma, abuse or co-occurring conditions of mental illness. Whatever your reason for starting your OTC drug abuse, the right help turns your life around. Without this help, you suffer continued losses in your relationships, family, career, finances, and health.

Many treatment options exist for OTC drug addiction. Of greatest importance are quality therapies for improved mental health and copings skills. Good examples are one-on-one talk therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and behavioral therapies like CBT and DBT.

At Soledad House in San Diego, women from all over the U.S. get the help they need for over the counter drug abuse. Programs and services at Soledad House include the following:

For your best chance of lasting recovery from over the counter drug abuse, call Soledad House now at 866-314-3222. Each day, Soledad House helps women just like you leave drug addiction in their past. You can achieve freedom from your substance abuse, too.