Want to know if you can be addicted to acetaminophen? You’re in the right place. Keep reading this guide to find out everything about acetaminophen’s relation with addiction.
Generally, you might not be able to notice or find out about the over the counter drugs (OTC drugs) addiction like you would if you were dealing with drugs like cocaine or heroin because their addiction is obvious.
You might not even think that OTC drugs can be addictive. They are!
This is the reason why we came up with this educational guide to acetaminophen addiction. Before we begin, it is important to know what acetaminophen really is.
What Is Acetaminophen?
Acetaminophen is one of the miracles over the counter or OTC drugs, which can help in relieving the symptoms of pain or fever. Acetaminophen is generally known as paracetamol.
In simple words, acetaminophen is a pain reliever, as well as a fever reducer.
Acetaminophen can easily be found over the counter, either as a single drug or in the form of combination therapy.
For example, it is used to relieve both flu and cure the pain as well as the general fever in the body. Acetaminophen is also used with opiates to cure the symptoms of moderate to severe pain along with fever.
The most common diseases that acetaminophen treats include
- muscle aches
- sore throat, colds
- Menstrual pains and others
Can Acetaminophen Cause Addiction?
Even though acetaminophen is one of the best drugs available in the market with the name Tylenol. Its abuse can cause addiction.
Yes, acetaminophen, in large doses, can cause addiction. It is one of the best pain killers available, but even painkillers should not be taken in a row for days and days. They should be stopped for a while.
The reason is that painkillers create a very calm and soothing feeling in the body. After some time, you are addicted to the feeling of being calm. It is due to this feeling that you can get addicted because you have to take larger doses when the current dose stops showing its effects on the body.
It is always advised by healthcare professionals to stop taking painkillers for some time in between. Taking them in a row can cause you to be an addict.
What Are The Dangers of Acetaminophen Addiction
Acetaminophen, generally sold under the brand name Tylenol, can not only cause addiction; in fact, when you start to increase the dose, there are major health risks.
The main side effect of Tylenol or Acetaminophen is Liver Damage.
You obviously have to increase the dose when the previous dose does not show its effect to keep you calm; if you’re taking acetaminophen in a row, in large continuous doses, acetaminophen can cause liver damage.
In the United States, Acetaminophen is the most common cause of acute hepatic failure. It is also the second most common cause of liver failure requiring a transplant.
In fact, acetaminophen, in large doses, can even be fatal.
Many deaths have occurred and still occur every day because of the acetaminophen toxicity; according to WHO, it is one of the most common poisonings in the world. The sad part is, not many people even understand or know about it.
Some of the other side effects that you can experience with acetaminophen overdose or toxicity are
- Red, peeling, or blistering skin
- Itching skin
- Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- Difficulty in breathing or in swallowing
If any of these side effects occur, immediately call your physician or STOP the medication at once.
Skin disorders associated with the toxicity and addiction of acetaminophen are
- Stevens-Johnson syndrome
- toxic epidermal necrolysis
- acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis
If you experience any of these issues while taking the medication, please STOP using it and contact your physician.
Acetaminophen used in combination with opiates can also be highly addictive. If used with alcohol, the results are very dangerous and life-threatening.
Are You Addicted To Acetaminophen?
If you or your loved ones take acetaminophen on a daily basis, then you may wish to check if you are an acetaminophen addict or not.
But how do you know if you or your loved one is addicted to acetaminophen? To help you find out, here are some of the things you might experience.
- You may experience severe pain in your body or muscles on days you miss your medication.
- After some days, a dose increase is necessary to stop the pain occurring in your body.
- You may also experience headaches, vomiting, or diarrhea when you miss your acetaminophen medication.
- Your diagnosed liver disease might just be the start of your liver failure if you do not do something about your addiction and stop the medication.
- You may experience certain reactions on your skin while using acetaminophen.
Even though you may not be able to spot acetaminophen addiction like the addiction with alcohol, cocaine, or heroin. It still is there. Many people are not even aware of the fact they might be addicted to acetaminophen, which is why it is best to get yourself checked.
Acetaminophen Addiction Treatment
Even when the user of acetaminophen is aware of its adverse effects, it can still develop a dependency on it.
For this reason, it is always advised by healthcare professionals not to have the medication unless needed. Even if you take it once in a while, taking acetaminophen in a row for many days is not a good idea because it leads to straight addiction.
You may want to do something about your addiction, in case you’re an addict, because if you do not, it may even be fatal.
The first and the foremost thing to do with acetaminophen addiction is actually to STOP the medication in itself. However, when you stop taking the medication, withdrawal symptoms may occur.
You may experience withdrawal symptoms like diarrhea, muscle pain, bone pain, etc.
It is always best to seek proper treatment from healthcare professionals when you are dealing with acetaminophen addiction. Stopping the medicine at once or adapting to other procedures at home may worsen your case.
If you or your loved one is dealing with acetaminophen addiction, get help from health care professionals in your area today!
Remember that you are not alone, and with the right treatment, you can successfully come out of it as a normal human.
A Word From The Wise
We hope this guide on acetaminophen addiction was worth the read, and it provided you with the right information you were looking for.
If you know someone who you think maybe an acetaminophen addict or you think you may be dealing with acetaminophen addiction yourself, then please remember that it is never too late to stop.
Seek professional help today because you can defeat this addiction with the right treatment.
If you are someone who takes acetaminophen quite often, then we would recommend you to only use it when it’s extremely necessary. For people who already suffer from liver diseases, it is best to consult your physician before you take acetaminophen.
If you have more questions, feel free to ask us in the comments bar below.
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