Millions of people around the world are dependent on nasal spray, statistics show. The problem is that most do not need such aids. So, can you get addicted to nasal spray?
In the case of nasal sprays, there is a different type of addiction in comparison to drugs, antidepressants, and sedatives addictions. This is a dependence on the illness’s treatment.
It can overwhelm our everyday activities
The excessive use of sprays for nose blinding it is not a drug addiction, which is in fact the addiction on the sensation created by the substance and which acts on the central nervous system.
Basically, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and even chocolate activate the brain area responsible for the pleasure and reward. And, over time, the need for them increases proportionally to the pleasure they produce.
With nasal sprays, the things are not like that. However, as with drugs, the need for drops in the nose can overwhelm our ordinary activities and push us to gestures that we would not otherwise do.
‘If I did not have a dropping bottle on my bedside, I could not sleep. I felt like I could not breathe, and I simply suffocated. Besides, I went away on vacation without my nasal spray and I realized that only late at night when I went to bed. Actually I did not go to bed, but I went to look for an open pharmacy, from where to buy a nasal spray,’ says a 30 years old woman who was addicted to nasal spray.
You have to quit suddenly
After a year of relinquishing and reappearing, patients managed to learn to breathe without the help of sprays and, in fact, without any help.
‘I was a little tired at first, I fell asleep very hard at night because I had the feeling that I could not breathe. But over time, I had no problem. It’s been four years since then, and I’ve never used any drops for my nose, even when I was cold‘, says a former nasal spray addicted.
Another patient found a formula that helped him because he couldn’t quit otherwise. At first he diluted the nasal spray solution with physiological saline. He diluted it more and more until he had only used physiological serum and nothing else.
Smell and taste disappear in 15 years of daily nasal spray consumption.
For example, a woman who was addicted to nasal spray slowly lost her smell sense. This is, in fact, the main adverse effect of nasal drops, emphasizes the specialists.
‘We have found that there are a lot of people dependent on nasal sprays! This addiction actually gives a medical condition called rhinitis. Over time, sprays atrophy the mucus that help with the smell sense. After another time, the taste is lost, too. The biggest problem, however, is that in many cases, even with a Vitamin A treatment, which rebuilds the nasal mucosa, the senses do not return as they were before the use of the decongestants‘, says a physician.
Nasal sprays “hide” serious illnesses
In many cases of excessive use and dependence on nasal sprays, the problem is not at all easy.
As a matter of fact, a person who needs permanent help of these decongestants can find, if they get to a doctor to a specialist check, that they are suffering from a serious illness.
‘Many of the patients who came to me with nasal spray addiction had, in fact, more serious problems than the stuffy nose. In most cases, those patients had septal deviation. Some of them had nasal polyps, while others even had nasal nose tumors that prevented them from breathing, but of which they did not know precisely because they practically hided these issue by using nasal sprays’, says an ENT primary physician.
‘Used correctly, nasal sprays are not dangerous. Nasal sprays carry a vasoconstriction for an hour or two, which temporarily releases the airways. But in the case of a tumor, for example, their effect is lost more and more rapidly as the tumor develops’, says the same specialist.
‘Many of the nasal nerve tumors are benign, but they can also be cancerous. And, because of the nasal sprays usage, they are detected too late because these decongestants delay the patients’ presentation to the doctor’, he adds.
Also, the allergic rhinitis is becoming diagnosed too late due to the use of nose spray without the recommendation of a doctor.
‘I have had quite a lot of cases where patients have used nasal sprays for a long time in order to release their air ways and when these nasal sprays started not to work as well as before, the people came to me and all I have done was to put their diagnosis of allergic rhinitis’, says a primary allergy-clinical immunologist.
If the clogged nose is accompanied by sneezing, rhinorrhea (runny nose), red eyes, or itching in the nose and eyes, almost certainly the manifestations indicate an allergic rhinitis. In this situation, nose drops are not at all effective in the long run.
‘These nose drops can also be used by patients with allergic rhinitis, but only in acute phases, and only if they are used correctly, only between five and seven days,’ says the same specialist.
Although decongestant sprays provide a release of the nasal passages, this benefit is, in fact, only on the moment, on the short-term.
Moreover, neither in the case of cold, nor in the case of allergic rhinitis, these aids do not treat the problem, but only alleviate one symptom, which is the clogged nose, according to a specialist at the Mayo Clinic in the United States of America.
Even more, if nose drops are used for more than five or seven days, they aggravate the cold manifestations. Over time, the patient feels an improvement in his condition for only five minutes, after which he has to re-administer a puff at short intervals throughout the day.
The nasal mucosa is inflamed, then, more and more rapidly, explains the doctors.
Most nasal and breath-suppression sprays contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, xylometazoline hydrochloride, or oxymetazoline hydrochloride.
Their use, even in the short term, increases the rate of heartbeat and leads to a state of agitation, anxiety, and can even cause insomnia and tremor.
Both ephedrine and oxymetazoline can increase blood pressure. A much healthier alternative is the seawater.
‘Seawater helps to relieve the nasal mucosa, eliminate waste, and allergens, and in combination with anti-allergic treatment, which can consist of sprays with topical corticosteroids or antihistamines, it attenuates significantly the manifestations of allergic rhinitis’, says a allergies specialists.
However, seawater used daily, in the morning and in the evening, can have adverse effects.
‘The effect is pretty much the same as washing hands with soap. If you wash your hands often, your hands will dry out. The nasal mucosa also dries if you use seawater too often,’ explains Dr. Anne L. Maitland, a professor of clinical medicine and immunology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, USA, quoted by WebMD.
In order to sleep easily and have a restful sleep without waking up because of a stuffy nose, you can make chills with chamomile infusion before bedtime. It is disinfectant and has emollient properties. For this, prepare a tea of two liters of boiling water in which you put three or four sachets of chamomile flowers. Pour it into a bowl or a large pot, put on a towel over your head and inhale the steam of the infusion for 15 minutes. You can apply the same treatment with lavender, thyme, or sage.
Also, during the day you can drink an eucalyptus infusion containing eucalyptol, a substance with antiseptic and expectorant qualities. Prepare a teaspoon of a plant to a cup of boiling water, but drink no more than two cups a day.
Can you get addicted to nasal spray? Yes, you can, and there are hundreds of thousand of people who are addicted to nasal sprays.