How to treat pseudoephedrine addiction

To treat pseudoephedrine addiction, you must adress both physical and psychological dependence. More on protocol for treating addiction to pseudoephedrine here.

minute read

Addiction, in general, drug addiction has been described as a compulsive craving for a substance in spite of negative consequences that come from its use. In fact, the compulsive cravings of addiction have physiological, psychological, and emotional components. So, if you find that you start to need pseudoephedrine to function, it’s possible that you’ve become addicted to its psychoactive components.

Treatment for pseudoephedrine addiction help addicted individuals stop compulsive drug seeking and use. Treatment can occur in a variety of settings, take many different forms, and last for different lengths of time. We explore the main signs of pseudoephedrine addiction and review the main physical and behavioral treatments for addiction. Then, we invite your questions about treating pseudoephedrine addiction at the end.

Pseudoephedrine addiction treatment: Are you even addicted?

Before you start to treat pseudoephedrine addiction, you must first identify that there is an issue with pseudoephedrine use. Consider the following questions as you seek to identify the signs and symptoms of addiction in yourself or a loved one

  • Do you ever feel guilty in relation to your substance use or compulsive behaviors?
  • Do you feel compelled to use pseudoephedrine first thing in the morning and frequently though out the day?
  • Have others complained about your pseudoephedrine use and/or associated negative effects?
  • Have you lost friends as a result of using pseudoephedrine?
  • Have you ever lost a job or received disciplinary action at work because of substance use or compulsive behaviors?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, it may be worthwhile seriously consider a professional evaluation of your pseudoephedrine use. The following are some common behavioral patterns that indicate problem pseudoephedrine use.

1. Different Priorities – Social, occupational or recreational activities becoming more focused around when you can access or use pseudoephedrine, and important social and occupational roles being jeopardized

2. Loss of Control – Difficulty cutting down or controlling the amount and frequency of use

3. Obsession – The person becoming preoccupied with pseudoephedrine, spending a lot of time on planning, engaging in, and recovering use.

4. Tolerance – The need to take more and more pseudoephedrine to get the desired effect

5. Withdrawal – Experiencing unpleasant symptoms, such as discomfort (physical or mental), depression or undesirable mood when you stop using pseudoephedrine

Finally, here are additional signs you can look out for if you suspect someone close to you is addicted to pseudoephedrine:

  • a collection of pseudoephedrine hidden in draws, bathroom cupboard, car etc.
  • changes in energy – unexpectedly and extremely energetic
  • changes in social groups, new and unusual friends, odd cell-phone conversations
  • drug paraphernalia such as unusual pipes, cigarette papers, small weighing scales, etc
  • extreme mood changes that vacillate between excitement and anxiety
  • pupils of the eyes seeming smaller or larger than usual
  • repeated unexplained outings, often with a sense of urgency
  • secretiveness
  • seeming unwell at certain times, and better at other times
  • sleeping a lot less than usual, or at different times of day or night
  • unexpected and persistent coughs or sniffles
  • weight loss (often very rapid or sudden)

Treating pseudoephedrine addiction

Mainstream medical authorities believe that drug addiction is generally a chronic disorder. This is why short-term or one-time treatment is usually of no real benefit. Typically, treatment is a long-term process that involves multiple interventions and regular monitoring. The two most effective and widely use treatment interventions for addiction are medicinal and behavioral approaches.

1. Medications for pseudoephedrine addiction treatment

Treatments for prescription or over the counter drug abuse tend to be similar to those for illicit drugs that affect the same brain systems. While there are no drugs specifically designed to help ease pseudoephedrine withdrawal, tapering doses before total elimination is advised. There are also non-synthetic medicinal treatment options such as nutrient replacement therapy and ibogaine therapy. However, these treatment options are still in thie infancy. Before pursuing this option, it is best to consult an addictions specialist MD or psychiatrist.

2. Behavioral treatments for pseudoephedrine addiction

Behavioral approaches support people to engage in treatment by modify attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse, increase personal coping skills to handle stressful circumstances. The two most popular approaches to treating pseudoehepdrin addiction are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and 12-step facilitation therapy.

Cognitive-behavioral strategies are based on the theory individuals can learn to identify and correct problematic behaviors by applying a range of different skills. A central component of CBT is exploring the positive and negative consequences of continued drug use, tools for self-monitoring to recognize cravings early and identify situations that might put one at risk for use, and developing strategies for coping with cravings and avoiding those high-risk situations.

12 Step facilitation therapy is an active engagement strategy designed to increase the likelihood of a substance abuser becoming engaged with and actively involved in 12-step self-help programs, and promote abstinence. While the efficacy of 12-step programs in treating alcohol dependence has been established, the research on its usefulness for other forms of substance abuse is still being analysed.These programs can often be faith based or run by faith based organisations.

Treatment for pseudoephedrine addiction

Where can you locate treatment centers that address pseudoephedrine addiction?

  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) maintains a Web site at findtreatment [dot] samhsa [dot] gov that shows the location of residential, outpatient, and hospital inpatient treatment programs for drug addiction and alcoholism throughout the country. This information is also accessible by calling 1-800-662-HELP.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) offers more than just suicide prevention—it can also help with a host of issues, including drug and alcohol abuse, and can connect individuals with a nearby professional.
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health America are alliances of non-profit, self-help support organizations for patients and families dealing with a variety of mental disorders. Both have State and local affiliates throughout the country and may be especially helpful for patients with comorbid (a combination of mental health, addiction and/or disability) conditions.
  • The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry each have physician locator tools posted on their Websites.

Treat pseudoephedrine addiction questions

Do you still have questions about how to treat pseudoephedrine addiction? Please ask them here. We’ll do our best to respond to your questions personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: NIDA: Principles of drug addiction treatment
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
I am ready to call
i Who Answers?