Over the counter drugs, also known as OTC drugs, are medications that don’t require a prescription. Nonetheless, these substances can still be dangerous or even addictive. When people use them inappropriately, they can cause lifelong problems. While many OTC drugs are safe in certain situations, they are never entirely without risk.
Using OTC Drugs With Other Substances
You should typically only take OTC medications on their own. When individuals use them with other substances, particularly addictive substances, the side effects can be problematic. Some individuals take medications along with illegal drugs or alcohol, hoping to increase the effects of both. Unfortunately, this can increase the risk of addiction at the same time.
Over the Counter Drugs Dosage
Another way that OTC drugs can become addictive and dangerous is when people ignore the dosage that the bottle recommends. For example, drugs like Imodium contain opioid components. Taking a single dose of the medication is unlikely to cause any serious problems for people. Taking far more than the recommended dose, however, could potentially lead to an addiction.
Over the counter drugs are only available because manufacturers clearly spell out the dosage and instructions on the packaging. Not only can an increase in the dosage cause severe health problems, but it can speed up the chance of developing a physical dependence.
OTC Drug Duplication
Drug duplication is when multiple types of OTC medicines are taken at the same time. For example, some cold medicines can be addictive. Taking one dose of a certain medication may be fine, but taking one dose of multiple drugs may not be.
It’s important not to double up on medications. Trying to create a high or euphoria is risky, and in some cases it can lead to lifelong problems or an overdose. Sleeping medications and sedatives, for example, can cause the entire body to shut down and go into a coma.
Recreational Use of OTC Drugs
OTC drugs may not require a prescription, but you should never use them for recreational purposes. Any time that individuals use such a drug specifically for recreational reasons, rather than health reasons, it’s a problem.
Treating an Addiction to OTC Drugs
Prescription medications or illegal drugs aren’t the only things that people can develop an addiction to. It’s entirely possible to develop a physical or psychological dependence on OTC drugs. To address that, patients can take advantage of drug treatment programs.
These programs can offer a comprehensive approach to recovery, which might include any of the following:
- OTC and prescription drug detox
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Fitness therapy
- Nutritional therapy
Over the counter drugs can be safe, but inappropriate or prolonged use can lead to addiction. Fortunately, The Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles, California, can offer a route to recovery through detox and rehab. Take back control over your life by calling 866-323-4665.