Help for pseudoephedrine addiction
Pseudoephedrine addiction help
Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant that is used to treat nasal and sinus congestion, or congestion of the tubes that drain fluid from your inner ears. Although abuse of pseudoephedrine is uncommon, it can be misused and the most common form of misuse is using the decongestant to make methamphetamine. People also sometimes use pseudoephedrine for its ephedra-like effects in an attempt to lose weight and get high.
So how do you find help for pseudoephedine problems? There is help available if you or someone you know is misusing or addicted to pseudoephedrine. We review what pseudoephedrine addiction help is and where to find it here. Then, we invite your questions about pseudoephedrine at the end.
How to help pseudoephedrine addiction
There are three main treatment options for any type of drug addiction: detox, stabilization, and psycho-emotional treatment. Some addiction treatment providers require referral into the programs, and wait lists can apply. Medically managed addiction treatments are best undertaken with support from a trained professional such as a medical doctor, licensed clinical psychologist or certified addiction specialist.
STEP 1: Pseudoephedrine withdrawal and detox
The first step to helping pseudoephedrine addiction is to get pseudoephedrine out of the system. Pseudoephedrine withdrawal symptoms appear after you stop taking them, especially if you have been taking high doses or using pseudoephedrine for a long period of time. Withdrawal symptoms and duration vary from person to person. Withdrawal symptoms may be so intense that they prevent you from quitting without medical assistance. To avoid severe withdrawal symptoms, gradually reduce the dosage under medical supervision. When you remove pseudoephedrine from your system using a gradual reduction method, you may make the process longer, but withdrawal will be more humane. If you are looking for a quick detox or are considering ceasing use immediately, you may want to seek help at a detox clinic for medical supervision of withdrawal.
A new ‘natural’ option for detox is currently being investigated in the United States, New Zealand and Australia, although it has been used in most other countries since the 1920’s, called ibogaine. Ibogaine is found in a West African plant and has been used in clinical trials to aid in detox from opiate addiction. It works by alleviating physical withdrawal symptoms and cleansing the body of the drug allowing for reductions in relapse. While this treatment is not yet approved by the FDA ,clinical trials are being conducted around the world.
STEP 2: Stabilize your physical and mental health
After the period of initial detox, it is important to stabilize your physical and mental health. Prolonged and constant use of pseudoephedrine can result in protracted withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) once use ceases, Symptoms of PAWs can include persistent depression, isolation, and/or drug craving. Consult a psychiatrist or psychologist to help diagnose and treat PAWS. Some tips that may help get pseudoephedrine PAWs under control include:
Education and retraining : Learning about the disease model of addiction, recovery, and post-acute withdrawal symptoms helps to relieve the anxiety, guilt, and confusion that tend to create the stress that intensify PAW symptoms.
Verbalization: You need to talk about what you are experiencing. It can help you bring internal symptoms to your conscious awareness. And it will give you support when you need others to rely upon. Alternatively you could keep a diary or note book of thoughts and feelings.
Problem solving and goal setting: What are you going to do right now about what is going on? You can choose to take action that can change things. Ask for support during this difficult time.
STEP 3: Treat underlying psychological and emotional issues
The most important part of helping pseudoephedrine addiction is to identify and change the thoughts and beliefs which compel your use. Psychological treatment of addiction addresses the adverse psycho-emotional adaptations which lead to drug use in the first place. Without some kind of thought change, behavioral change is very difficult. Specifically, cognitive behavioral therapy is highly successful in aiding people find a way through the grey areas in the mind and build solutions that support the individual journey to recovery.
Getting help for pseudoephedrine addiction
Where can you get help for pseudoephedrine addiction? Rehabilitation, psychotherapy, and support programs offer individualized clinical supervision, ongoing evaluations and regularly updated personalized treatment plans. When choosing a place or program to support your journey to recovery it may pay to consider the following:
- Counselling vs. Psychiatric support
- Credible dual-diagnosis program
- Family therapy
- Individual and group therapy
- Pharmacological support/treatment
- Recreation, art and/or music therapy
- Supplemental education such as life skills, nutrition and exercise
How to help a pseudoephedrine addict
Talking to the person you’re concerned about is called an “intervention”. There are two types of interventions – informal and formal. The point of any intervention is to ask the person to take concrete steps to address the problem and lead them to the help they need (i.e. go for an evaluation, attend counseling, enter in- or out-patient treatment.) It is also important not to criticise or judge a person with an addiction. It is best to approach them from a place of support and empowerment.
An informal intervention means having a personal discussion with the person you’re concerned about. This could be as simple as asking a few questions or making a couple of observations.
A formal intervention means having a structured conversation with the person. This involves bringing together a group of people with the person with the addiction to explore how his or her use has affected all their lives.
Pseudoephedrine addiction help and helplines
Helplines provide a direct and confidential support service. These services provide advice and guidance to people with an addiction, as well as to family and friends. P seudoephedrine addiction helplines generally help you to to find treatment services in your area.
1-800-622-HELP – A federal directory of addiction treatment centers and detox clinics.
1-800-840-6537 – A federal parent hotline.
1-800-273-TALK – A federal suicide prevention helpline.
Help with pseudoephedrine addiction questions
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Reference Sources: Daily Med: J-COF DHC (dihydrocodeine bitartrate, brompheniramine maleate, pseudoephedrine hydrochloride) liquid
PubMed: Impact of the voluntary withdrawal of over-the-counter cough and cold medications on pediatric ingestions reported to poison centers
Drug Free [dot] org
Photo credit: DEA