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Over the counter drugs
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Over the counter drugs

Hi.  I am finding myself struggling with a very 'different' sort of addiction and have not been able to find any info anywhere, so thought it couldn't hurt to post here.  I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder with panic attacks.  I was diagnosed with this years ago.  When first diagnosed, I was prescribed Xanax for my anxiety/panic attacks and it worked very well for me.  Then, I became addicted to the Xanax.  I went through hell with the addiction, but finally, it got to the point where I told my dr.  So, he helped me through the withdrawal and after that, I just accepted that I could no longer use Xanax.  Never even tried to get it, nothing.  But, after awhile, I started using Excedrin P.M., as a sort of 'self-medicating'', I guess.
I didn't think it would be a problem as it was an over-the-counter medication.  Wrong!  I am now much, much further along in my healing from the PTSD and panic attacks and want to go out into the world, so to speak, and get a job and all of that.  But now, I can't stop taking the excedrin P.M.!  I am humiliated at the idea of not being able to stop taking an over the counter medicine that is basically tylenol w/antihistimine!  Just thinking about having to go through stopping freaks me out.  And I feel it shouldn't be such a big deal, but it is driving me crazy. Just the fact that I cannot find any info anywhere on anyone else having this same struggle is enough to make me nuts.
I guess I just want to know if anyone else has ever heard of something like this.  Why is it so hard to give up an over-the-counter medicine????  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you so much.
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Avatar_f_tn

It sounds like the antihistamine in the drug you are taking is the one controlling your anxiety/panic disorder. That is why you don't want to give it up. Too much Tylenol can be toxic. You may want to consider going to a Psychiatrist and getting a medication that will control your symptoms without be addicting or stopping you from functioning in life, such as going out and getting work. The SSRI's are good for the symptoms you mentioned.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you so much for replying to my post, Dr. Steve.  Like I mentioned, I have not been able to find any information on this anywhere.  The only thing I found was that some people use antihistimines to lessen withdrawal from other drugs.  If people can become addicted to antihistimines (and I think people can be addicted to almost anything), then the companies that manufacture these over the counter drugs should be putting a warning on their labels.  I know people who take antihistimines several times a day for allergies and a few that take the 'sleep medications' that contain them almost every night to help them to sleep.  I'm sure they are not aware of the dangers.  Again, thank you for the information.

Laurie
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Avatar_n_tn
Barbara, thank you for responding.  I did not make myself clear, I guess, sorry about that.  My panic/anxiety disorder is under control and has been for awhile now.  I go to a specialist in these types of disorders and he put me on imiprimine, which controls it very well.  In fact, just about the only thing that causes me anxiety in my life right now, is my problem with the antihistimines.  If I had known I could become addicted to them, I would never have taken them in the first place.  

Laurie
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Avatar_n_tn
Well, until you can stop taking it altogether, at least switch to just antihistamines & stop taking the tylenol end of it, it will give your liver some rest.
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Avatar_n_tn
I think that knowing that the acetameophen (sp?) is bad for my liver (I didn't know that, but have since looked into it), might be my saving grace.  Now I am just plain scared to take it.  Last night before I fell asleep, I was hit with a reality check which really shook me up because I had never realized what it was doing to my body. You are absolutely right, CC.  Can a person be scared straight?  Thanks everyone, for alerting me to what I've been doing to my body.  It's still not going to be easy, but at least now I have a MAJOR incentive.  

Laurie
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey, I'm doing a report on "The abuse and misuse of legal drugs and how to prevent this from happening." I know tylenol can damage your liver but what about all those over the counter drugs, like DayQuill, asprin, syrup cough medicine and ibuprofen?
are they as bad, not as bad or worse than illegal drugs?
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Avatar_n_tn
This is my opinion... ALL DRUGS ARE DANGEROUS when not used properly, this means the ones you get from the doctor or over the counter.Nobody should EVER get drugs on the street. Even drugs that are not addictive can do serious damage to the body if used either in the wrong amounts or for the wrong reason. Aspirin for instance, can cause severe internal bleeding problems. Apparently some people get addicted to antihistamines which I just learned here and never knew before. One of the main things is that EVERY medicine ( even over the counter ones) have a list of side effects. The problem is that most of them are not common and only occur in a small percentage of people who take the med. BUT... someone, somewhere is going to be part of that small percentage. Most people just do not consider that when they take a medicine. Everyone's body has a personal genetic "thumbprint". This is why one person can take a drug and they feel better and another person who takes the same drug for the same condition may feel worse. It's likely because their body is feeling some side effect of the chemical that is supposed to help them. To answer your question.. illegal drugs are ALWAYS the wrong choice and are the most dangerous because they are not being used to treat illness and also because they are often "cut" with other toxic chemicals that can cause damage or death. Legal drugs are very dangerous when misused. They should be taken only according to the doctors' instructions or the packaging instructions if they are over the counter. You have a monumental task writing a report on how to prevent the misuse of legal drugs !!!! There are no controls on over the counter drugs. You can buy as many as you wish and the assumption is that most people will not abuse them since they are not addictive. Prescription drugs are quite another thing.. and the addictive ones are primarily the abused ones. I believe some misuse can be prevented if doctors exercise more controls on dispensing them. A national database should be set up which allows doctors and pharmacies to track if someone is getting addictive drugs from many doctors at the same time . This also is a monumental task. I think addicts would then take their quest for drugs from the doctors office to the streets. You can find a web site for all pharmaceutical companies and also sites which list the various drugs. This is not a professional answer but I have kids and this would probably be how I would help them get started on a report such as yours !! Good luck... and a good grade too !!!
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been buying OTC Max Alerts for about 5 years now.  I am a housewife and they give me energy.  Also I take Lortab and Oxycontin and the Max Alerts seem to help me not to become to sleepy.  I don't know too much about the Max Alerts (I get them at a truck stop) but would like to know if anyone knows anything about combining these meds.
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Avatar_n_tn
Laurie:  Did you have really bad withdrawal symptoms when you tried to quit taking antihistamines?  What were they?  Did you ever quit?  How?  Please answer!
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Avatar_n_tn
i need to find a good over the counter anti anxiety pill that works, any suggestions?
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Avatar_n_tn
is it possible for someone to put something in my food and in a period of time  can they lose there minds.. this is happening to me and i cant explain why .. can  you give me an answer .. should i  not ewat when they cook ,, what should i do to combat this
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Avatar_f_tn
I am a worried, desperate wife. My husband uncovered his addiction to me of use of Seed type pills OTC, by making unethical decisions concerning his job, losing his job, thankfully not going to prison or facing other charges by the state, had the police and the drug dogs search our home while telling me it was to train the dogs, having 2 of our grown sons buy the otc drugs because his purchases were too frequent and it was turned in to our local police, we lost our home due to no income and now he has depleated what little he got out of his retirement to survive and to get into a very small efficiant home, amd I don't know where to turn, He has written bad checks from MY bank account and made withdrawls from my account by secretly taking my bank debit card. But I have been by his side , believing him that he has quit, and I still run across the pill packages a couple times a week that he has hid around the house, and he evidently is still searching for his high. With no insurance, I am not working, neither is he, and he has depression that makes him uninterested in finding a job. I cannot find a place to get him any help.I have just about lost any hope and I'm afraid one day I will find him dead. This is dragging me down also, because most other realitives we have are so dissapointed in him and they think that I should just leave him...but I don't want to abandon him. Is there any place that could help...yeah, free.
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Avatar_m_tn
do not get on antidepressants!!!!!! i am in the same situation with ptsd and have been going through the same issue.  the only meds i still use are antihistamines.  So i am in the same boat, having trouble giving that one up, however it is true you need to switch off of the medication with acetemephorin.  I take something  called HYDROXOZINE it is a perscription strength antihistamine.  ANTIDEPRESSANTS ARE SO BAD FOR YOU AND YOU WILL WITHDRAWEL WHEN YOU QUIT THEY ALSO CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN AND THIS WILL NOT HELP YOU
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Avatar_m_tn
Take a vitamin called GABA it is the only amino acid that will help relieve anxiety, repair your brain from drug abuse damage, and restore dopamine and other neural transmitters
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Avatar_f_tn
I understand what you are going through as i am facing the same problem with my 21year old son. it's scarry and frustrating that help is difficult to find. my son takes over the counter antihistamines and musinex dm, the entire box/bottle at a time. i had him to er once but since he is 21 i cannot force him to get help. he lives with me and everyone says kick him out let him hit rock bottom. i am afraid to since i feel he will just continue then start stealing for the high or turning to other forms of drugs. i spent all day yesterday tring to locate detox facilty, there isn't any unless the drug is an opiate. i'm am calling local churches to see what they may have available .Out patient rehab thru the county program was not beneficial to him....Sorry I know this isn't help to you but keep trying, and if i find any resources i will certainly pass them along to you
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