Non-prescription drugs are commonly known as over the counter medicines (OTC). These drugs can be bought from a retailer without any prescription. FDA decides which treatments need a prescription and which can be purchased over the counter.
Now let’s see the difference between prescription and non-prescription drugs. Prescription medicines are those which are safe and effective to use only when they are prescribed by a doctor. However Non-prescription drugs are those which can be safely consumed without a doctor’s prescription if used in recommended doses. These medicines mostly consist of vitamins and minerals or supplements.
Non-prescription drugs treat various health conditions. They are not only used to subside pains or itches but their usage can help prevent tooth decay, recurring infections, migraines, etc.
We cannot overrule the fact that there are risks of getting addicted to these Non-prescription drugs. Drug abuse can lead to severe health problems resulting in heart diseases, kidney failure, memory loss, and the worst-case scenario leading to death.
The following are some facts of Non-prescription drugs. Let’s have a closer look at these.
Cough Medicines (Dextromethorphan, or DXM)
Cough medicines, if taken beyond the recommended dose, leads to hallucination and gives a high. Cough medicines are readily available at the drug stores and also at home. These medicines are used mainly by teens. The maximum recommended dose for DXM as per the Drug Enforcement Administration is 120mg.
If it’s taken beyond the dose it leads to intoxication and also has serious side effects. A government survey shows 5% to 6% of high school goers abuse cough medicines containing dextromethorphan. A high dose of DXM causes breathing problems, blackouts, throwing up, blurred vision, brain damage, etc.
Cold Medicines (Pseudoephedrine)
Pseudoephedrine is one of the essential elements in cold medicine. This medicine is used to relieve nasal congestion, congestion due to the sinus. This particular ingredient is used to make illegal drugs like methamphetamine. They are abusing pseudoephedrine results in high blood pressure, convulsion, breathing trouble, and irregular heartbeat.
Motion Sickness Pills (Dimenhydrinate)
Dimenhydrinate is used to treat kinetosis or what we know as motion sickness and also acrophobia. Dimenhydrinate abuse can lead to delusion, ringing in the ears, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, seizures, coma and even death. The drug is taken a higher dose for its psychoactive properties.
OTC Drug Addiction
Certain non-prescription medicines are used for recreational purposes. The person taking these drugs on an ongoing basis develops tolerance towards these drugs. With repeated use, their brain and body crave for more. Addiction to these drugs is so strong that the person shows withdrawal symptoms when they discontinue its usage. Some of the withdrawal symptoms are mood swings, feeling agitated, anxiety, and confusion.
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Many people don’t even know that they are OTC drug addicts and are unaware of the grave problem that they are getting into. Some of the signs to detect drug addiction are continued use of medicine despite knowing its harmful effects and spending a large amount of money.
OTC Drug Addiction Treatment
There are several treatment options for the OTC drug addict. They can opt for several group therapies, mental health counseling, psychotherapies, etc. If treatment is continued and followed as per the therapists and counselors’ instructions, they turn out to be very effective.
Enrolling in a rehabilitation program for drug abuse reduces the chances of relapse.
Get the Resources to Beat Addiction
Fighting drug addiction is undoubtedly a difficult task, but it isn’t impossible. One should have strong will power and self-control to get over it. There are inpatient and outpatient programs to beat addiction. Inpatient program provides 24-hour medical care, whereas outpatient keeps visiting medical centers. Their family life remains intact.