Substance Abuse Support: Shedding Light on Over-the-Counter Drug Misuse

by | Feb 24, 2024

Addiction can be a challenging and isolating struggle, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. If you are seeking addiction treatment in Louisville, Kentucky, there is hope.

The misuse of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs is a growing concern in the country. Many people mistakenly believe that OTC medicines are safe to take and may end up taking higher doses than recommended, leading to disastrous consequences.

The most commonly misused OTC drugs are:

  • Cold and cough medications
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or pain relievers
  • Sleep aids
  • Anti-diarrheal medications

 Reasons for OTC Drug Misuse

  • Ease of access – OTC medications are readily available without a prescription, making them easily accessible to people seeking quick solutions for various health issues.
  • Self-medication – People may turn to OTC drugs to self-medicate as they try to cope with issues e.g. stress, anxiety, or sleep-related problems, often without understanding the potential risks.
  • Misconceptions about safety – Some people believe that OTC drugs are inherently safe because they are available without a prescription. This can lead to the misuse of these medications.

Problems Associated with OTC Drug Misuse

These include:

  1. Health risks. Misusing OTC drugs can lead to serious health risks including gastrointestinal issues, liver damage, cardiovascular problems, and even respiratory distress.
  2. Addiction and dependence. Certain OTC medications can lead to addiction and dependence when misused regularly, exacerbating the cycle of substance abuse.
  3. Cognitive impairment. Misuse of certain OTC medications such as sleep aids can result in cognitive impairment, affecting an individual’s memory, attention, and overall cognitive function.
  4. Overdose. In some cases, taking excessive amounts of OTC medications can lead to overdose, requiring medical attention.

Seeking Help at an Addiction Treatment Center

Individuals who find themselves struggling with OTC drug misuse can benefit from seeking professional help at an addiction treatment center. This way they can get:

  • Professional assessment. Trained professionals at a treatment center can evaluate the extent of their OTC drug misuse and tailor an appropriate treatment plan.
  • Medical detox. Those with physical dependence on OTC drugs may benefit from a medical detox. This process is conducted under medical supervision at an addiction treatment center and will help individuals safely and comfortably manage their withdrawal symptoms.
  • Individualized treatment plans. Additionally, they will receive individualized treatment plans that address their unique recovery needs.
  • Counseling and therapy. Part of treatment at a rehab facility will involve counseling and therapy—these help to uncover and address the underlying issues contributing to OTC drug misuse.
  • A supportive environment. Addiction treatment centers provide a conducive environment for recovery where individuals can share their struggles, receive encouragement and motivation, and connect with others on a similar journey.

Get Help Today

The misuse of over-the-counter drugs is a significant issue with potential health consequences. If you or a loved one is struggling with OTC drug misuse, we at Impact Outpatient Program can help. Our addiction treatment center in Louisville offers comprehensive support that includes professional assessment, individualized treatment plans as well as intensive outpatient and outpatient treatment programs. Additionally, we offer virtual telemedicine sessions for those who can’t attend therapy sessions in person.  Reach out and talk with us today and we’ll be happy to guide you towards a healthier substance-free life.

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