5 Steps to Stopping Addiction to OTC Medications

Tablets Pills Medicine Disease Bless You Doctor

If you find that you have become addicted or dependent to medications, whether over the counter or prescribed, the steps to healing are the same. It’s not uncommon that the addicted brain will continue to spew the mantra “You don’t need anyone! No one will understand! They will only judge you, and you don’t need that!”

It’s critical to keep in mind that even if I know how to swim, but get caught in a riptide, having someone throw me a life line, a floaty do-dad, anything helps me not drown. What doesn’t help me is my pride, which keeps me thinking I am king/queen of my life and no one has anything of significance to offer. This thinking will take me down, and eventually I’m sleeping with the fishes.

1. Awareness leads to admission.

Man sharing problems with psychologistAdmitting to an addiction issue is a major deal! When I become aware my body and brain have become dependent on a medication, it’s likely due to realizing I’ve lost some level of control over my use and I can’t stop…I need help! So once I become aware of the problem, I need to admit to myself first, that my use of this medication has become a problem.

2. Start talking

It’s then time to start talking. Who I tell will depend vastly on the situation surrounding my use. Doctors, and other medical practitioners involved in my life are a good place to start.

It’s possible, even with OTC medications, I may need to detox or stop use slowly and not just stop cold turkey.

I also need to talk to my close loved ones, like a spouse or other supportive person in my life. I want say emphatically that it takes tremendous courage to tell someone, ask for help, reach out.

3. Secrets keep us sick

The likelihood is that those closest to me probably know more than I wish to admit. Depending on the situation, they may have seen a downward spiral, though I have desperately tried to conceal my addictive behaviors. One of the catch phrases of Alcoholics Anonymous comes into play here, “Secrets keep us sick”. So it’s time to come out of hiding and stop drowning.

If loved ones have done and intervention, the door gets opened for you. However, if your loved ones are placating, in denial or unaware, this door might be harder to open. My suggestion is simply, figure out you need before you start talking. Often, unfortunately, if a loved one is in denial they my naively talk you out of your need for treatment or help.

4. Distinguish between shame and courage

Two men in living room talkingAdmitting to dependency on medication or any substance, for that matter isn’t shameful, it shows courage and strength. Shame comes from continuing in addictive habits that keep you from living and thriving. The lie of one’s pride says “conceal don’t feel”. The truth of pride says, strength comes by surrender to the truth and courage to face my challenges.

5. Professional help may be necessary.

Depending on the severity of my addiction, I may need support from a 12 step group and or a recovery professional.

While it’s important to seek professional medical advice regarding the detox and medical aspect of addiction to medications, it’s equally important to address the mental and psychological aspects of addictive behaviors and address any root issues that may be contributing.

If I don’t address these root issues, I’m likely to relapse into addictive behaviors again, seeking self-soothing by use of substances or other addictive habits.


About the author:

Brie MorzovAbout the author: Brie Morzov, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Oregon. She has worked in the field of addiction treatment and prevention for the past decade and continues to work as a therapist and author. She has a passion for helping hurting people heal and find their highest self.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on February 21, 2016
Published on AddictionHope.com

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.