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Afrin Addiction: What You Need to Know

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Can you develop an Afrin addiction? The answer is yes, you can. This over-the-counter medication can relieve sinus congestion or pressure symptoms. It treats symptoms such as runny nose or stuffy nose that might be due to hay fever or other allergies. It can also treat upper respiratory infections. Many people are unaware that an over-the-counter medication can prove addictive, but it’s true. Oxymetazoline, an active ingredient in Afrin, can cause dependence in some individuals. Overuse or long-term repeated use could trigger what’s been called ‘Afrin addiction.’

At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we treat substance abuse conditions. We offer a full range of treatment programs, such as inpatient rehab treatment, outpatient treatment, aftercare, and clinically supervised detox. Although this medication isn’t typically regarded as a drug of abuse, its chronic use can lead to physical dependence and, possibly even addiction. Our clinicians are licensed and certified; they can treat any form of substance addiction and co-occurring disorders, a condition that involves the presence of a substance addiction and mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety. At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we also offer medication-assisted treatment and therapeutic approaches based on medically traditional, alternative, and holistic treatments. 

Our rehab center is known for its empathetic care and recovery-friendly setting. Our clinicians individualize treatment plans to ensure each client gets support that’s ideal for them. No form of substance addiction is safe. If you have developed an addiction to Afrin or suspect you may have, you can rely on Resurgence Behavioral Health for help. We can carefully evaluate your condition and recommend the ideal treatment for you.

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Understanding Afrin and Its Uses

Afrin is an over-the-counter nasal spray. It’s available in nasal spray and mist forms. The topical decongestant can treat symptoms like runny nose and stuffy nose. It alleviates nasal congestion associated with allergies or upper respiratory infections. The active ingredient in this medication, Oxymetazoline, is used in other medicines, such as topical facial creams that relieve symptoms associated with rosacea and ointments for droopy eyelids. It is not intended for use by people under the age of 6. Its instructions warn people not to use the product for more than three days straight (following package dosage instructions). However, the medication’s effective performance has led some individuals to overuse the product, which can lead to the development of physical dependence. 

How Afrin Works

Afrin’s active ingredient, Oxymetazoline, works by causing nasal blood vessels to narrow, improving nasal congestion and swelling. It is not a cure for nasal congestion and swelling but can temporarily alleviate symptoms associated with upper respiratory infections and allergies. Generally, users spray two to three applications of the medication to their nose once or even twice daily for up to three days for relief. Symptoms that don’t clear up after three days may need a different type of medication prescribed by your physician. It’s important to check with your healthcare provider for conditions that don’t improve after a few days. Relying on this drug is not a long-term solution, as the medication can become addictive. 

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The Risk of Afrin Addiction

Afrin can become addictive for some. Overuse can trigger a condition known as rebound congestion, more formally known as rhinitis medicamentosa. The repeated use of Afrin can cause an imbalance of chemicals in the body that causes worsening nasal congestion if the drug is discontinued. Because nasal congestion symptoms worsen, users rely on the spray, which only perpetuates the symptom cycle. Overuse of Afrin can lead to physical drug dependence symptoms such as a worsening of congestion. 

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Symptoms and Signs of Afrin Addiction

The chief signs of an Afrin addiction include severe runny or stuffy nose — symptoms that are often more severe than originally experienced when first using the drug. The congestion can cause headaches and overall discomfort. Other signs and symptoms include an increase in swelling and pain. If you experience these symptoms when attempting not to use this medication, you may have developed an Afrin addiction. 

Health Risks Associated with Afrin Addiction

Excessive use of Afrin is associated with health risks that include:

  • Reduced blood pressure.
  • Reduced heart rate.
  • Increased nasal swelling.
  • Pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fainting.
  • Nervousness.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Mood changes.
  • Nausea.
  • Rash.

Remember that Afrin is not intended for long-term continuous use. If you have a condition that requires long-term treatment, you should check with your healthcare provider as there are medications, often prescribed, that can be used habitually to alleviate nasal swelling and congestion. Finding a safe alternative is important if your condition is chronic or seasonal, such as hay fever. 

Treatment Options for Afrin Addiction

If you have an addiction to Afrin, clinicians will typically advise you to stop using this medication. Then, they may prescribe an alternative drug to alleviate the symptoms associated with withdrawal. Often, clinicians will prescribe topical nasal steroids to alleviate Afrin withdrawal symptoms like severe nasal congestion, swelling, and pain. The duration of this alternative treatment depends on the individual’s symptoms and unique chemistry. Some people achieve their recovery milestones quickly; others may need more support to overcome their chemical dependence. 

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

How Resurgence Behavioral Health Can Help

Resurgence Behavioral Health is a high-quality rehab center that specializes in all forms of substance abuse and treats a wide range of behavioral and mental health conditions. Our clinicians are mental and behavioral health specialists who tailor treatment to each patient’s needs. At Resurgence Behavioral Health, each patient is treated with dignity and respect. Our goal is to empower clients to manage their conditions safely and effectively. We help clients develop the strategies they need to end their drug or alcohol dependence and prevent relapse. 

Our treatment programs are world-class with their blend of medically traditional, alternative, and holistic therapies. Inpatient treatment is ideal for clients who are at high risk of relapse and feel unstable; these clients often require a high degree of support. Over time, many clients transition to outpatient treatment, which involves more flexible treatment plans. Outpatient therapy is ideal for people who are quite stable and able to make their treatment sessions without fail. What type of program is right for you? Our clinicians can evaluate your condition and recommend a treatment course that suits your needs and preferences. 

Taking the First Step Toward Recovery

Take your first step on your road to recovery by calling Resurgence Behavioral Health. We can discuss our program options in detail, as well as our therapeutic modalities and how they can help you achieve your recovery goals. We can also acquaint you with our enrollment process and discuss the insurance plans we accept, as well as other financial options associated with your rehab treatment. 
An Afrin addiction can trigger health problems such as those outlined above, like reduced heart rate. Let our clinical team help you protect your health and future. No form of substance addiction is safe. With treatment, you can end your drug addiction and learn reliable techniques for preventing relapse. Contact Resurgence Behavioral Health online or call 855-458-0050 today to learn more about how we can help you achieve lasting recovery from substance dependence or addiction.

Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.


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