Over the counter (OTC) medications are drugs that are available at grocery, convenient, and drug stores. Children and teens are the primary abusers of OTC medications; these drugs are easily accessible and generally perceived to be less dangerous than illicit or prescription drugs.
The most commonly abused OTC drugs contain the ingredient Dextromethorphan (DXM), which is used to treat cold and flu symptoms. When taken in high doses, DXM produces a feeling of euphoria, but it can be extremely dangerous. Short-term effects include but are not limited to nausea, vomiting, impaired judgment, numbness of extremities, abdominal pain, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, anxiety, seizures, hallucinations, and psychosis. Long-term abuse can cause restlessness, insomnia, coma, and, in some cases, death.
In addition to the abuse of drugs containing DXM, OTC drug abuse also occurs with laxatives, diuretics, and diet pills. While these drugs are initially taken to lose weight, dangerous and addictive components, such as ephedrine and caffeine can eventually lead to dependence and addiction.
All weight loss products have stimulant effects on the central nervous system, even “natural” herbal diet pills. Pain relievers, motion sickness pills, sexual performance enhancers are other types of OTC drugs.
When taken in excess these cause side effects of weight-loss drug abuse include hair loss, insomnia, irregular menstruation, urinary tract infections, anxiety, diarrhea, vomiting, and blurred vision.
Parents and family members should be on the lookout for the warning signs of OTC drug abuse, which include missing medications, negative performance in school or at work, changes in hobbies and interests, and changes in appearance and hygiene. If abuse is suspected, immediate intervention and possible treatment for addiction will prevent long-term health consequences. Contact TLC (The Luminous Care) today to talk to our specialists.