Wednesday, November 4, 2015

An update about my embarrassing addiction

In March I admitted to being addicted to nasal sprays for 15 years. I also learned this kind of addiction is called rhinitis medicamentosa and I wasn't alone.

Through Google searches I was contacted by people worldwide who were also suffering and spending close to $600 a year on over the counter products designed to give the immediate relief we were all looking for.

Cold turkey didn't work for me. I gave up after 16 hours. I took the advice of one person to use Tylenol Cold & Sinus which I nearly overdosed on (Tylenol and I have never been friends). But I do credit that product for helping me get to the 18-hour mark before needing to shove something up my nose so I could sleep. After 90 days of using an oral decongestant, I got to the point where I only needed nasal spray at night. Recent blood tests show I've done no damage to my liver. Thank God.

Seven days ago I went spray-free for the first time and I haven't needed any since.

My biggest fear is getting a cold. It will be so easy to go down this path again.

I want to thank the people who wrote in to support me and encourage me. I also want others to know while it's truly horrible at first, it does improve. You can do it!


Anonymous said...

Good job CJ! When I was a kid my Dad used to add Vicks to hot water in a bowl and I'd cover my head and the bowel with a cloth and breathe it in...Ooh (that's probably addictive too...)

Michael Suddard said...

If you get a cold, don't use the nasal spray.

My thing that works:

A combination of the below...

-Chew gum. Excel Winterfresh is my gum of choice. Gum helps to get rid of that taste in your mouth and also helps keep the moisture moving.

- Mouthwash (my wife substitutes salt water to gargle) to gargle and of course swish your mouth with. Leaves a nice minty flavour and cleans your throat out.

- Decongestant - day or night time to help keep things moving.

-Water - keeps you hydrated of course. Drink it until your urine is clear water!

In a day or two, your cold will be gone.

I haven't used nasal spray in 10+ years for the common cold!

C.J. Smith said...

But at least you're not ingesting it!

C.J. Smith said...

What about those saline solutions you rinse your nose out with? Many people swore by it for a cold.

Anonymous said...

The saline washes are fine to use more- many people swear by the Neti-Pot (although the squeeze bottle one by the same company is more effective)

The problem nasal sprays are the Otrivins etc. (xylometazoline) as once you use them for over a few days, your body gets used to having it so you get what is called "rebound congestion" when you stop- in short, life becomes hell at first until you've broken the habit and then you'll feel better.

Colds are nasty bitches- just take the proper hand washing precautions (especially if you take transit) and do your best to prevent. If you are unlucky enough to get one, Otrivin is fine as long as you stop after 3-5 days. If you're nervous about not being able to stop, tablets that contain pseudoephedrine can help- just don't take if you have high blood pressure.

Squiggles said...

The odd time I get a cold I use the neti-pot and thought: where have you been all my life.

But the best way is the avoid getting sick to start with. When I am starting to get run down, I start hand sanitizing like crazy and to quit touching my face. On top, I take zinc, vitamin c and echinacea. I started this after having a wicked cold 3 years. Since then, I fly through cold and flu season pretty well. I had some sniffles after my FL trip this year (that could have been allergies and/or airplane) and 1 cold in July. Both of which cleared up pretty quick.

Unknown said...

As a teenager I used to get sinus infections so my doctor told me to use Otrivin to keep them getting clogged and infected. He didn't warn me about addictions. It took me almost 50 year to break the addiction. I found watering Otrivin down with saline sprays and making it weaker until I only used the saline spray worked for me. Perhaps we should start a GTA chapter of OA, Otrivin Anonymous. That is a lot easier to say than XA, xylometazoline. Now I have to break my addiction to Benadryl, but when I stop taking it I get weird allergic reactions that nothing else help.

C.J. Smith said...

50 years!? And your liver is okay?!

Anonymous said...

I was in the same boat with Dristan. Stopped it cold turkey and was on Sinutab for 10 days, and that was it. Haven't touched the spray for years now.