What is Pseudoephedrine? What You Need to Know
In this day and age, people are using everything they can get their hands on to get high or try something different. Just look at the Tide Pod Challenge that has been taking social media by storm, and also sending hundreds of teenagers to the Emergency Room. Pseudoephedrine can be found in a number of over the counter medications and can be especially dangerous when taken in high doses. It acts as a stimulant, so some people choose to abuse it in order to be awake and get a rush of energy.
Pseudoephedrine is a stimulant, but it is also commonly used to shrink mucous membranes that often become inflamed due to allergies or a cold. Therefore, you can find it in a number of allergy and cold medications including Aleve, Allegra, Claritin, Mucinex, and Zyrtec. Many people purposely take an excessive amount of these medications to achieve a high similar to other stimulants like cocaine. In large doses, it will cause a sudden rush of energy, excitability, and hyperactivity.
On the downside, taking this drug in excess can cause a rapid heartbeat and increased blood pressure which can lead to heart and cardiovascular issues.
About Pseudoephedrine Abuse
If there is one good part about abusing this drug, is it that it has a very low chance of becoming addicting. It doesn’t have the same properties as opioids or even alcohol that make the user want more. It doesn’t create the same dependence, but it can be dangerous nonetheless. Even if it doesn’t become physically addicting, people can get mentally addicted and think that they want more and more, creating a regular habit which can lead to a number of health issues.
It is important also to know that Pseudoephedrine is the main ingredient used to make meth. So, it can be easy for someone to start with something innocent like sudafed, start abusing it, and slowly graduate towards meth. Meth is extremely habit forming and is an incredibly difficult to give up. It is very possible for a person with a history of Sudafed addiction to eventually turn to meth.
This doesn’t mean that you can never take any of the drugs that contain Pseudoephedrine. In fact, many of them are helpful and can make a world of difference for someone suffering from allergies or a cold. They will not have any negative side effects if they are taken at the right dose. However, when the recommended dose is exceeded, this can create a number of unpleasant side effects along with the “high” that some people are chasing.
If you are taking an MAO Inhibitor, it is important to be especially careful with anything containing this drug. When combined, it can cause malignant hypertension, a serious condition that can cause your organs to shut down.
Get Help for Pseudoephedrine Abuse
It is essential to get help if you or someone you know is abusing this drug. Alone, it can cause problems. Even if you get by physically and don’t have any symptoms, it can be the beginning of a downward spiral filled with addiction. That is not something that anyone wants to face throughout their life.
If you suspect someone else may be abusing a drug like Sudafed, help them get help. It is especially important to be vigilant with teenagers and young adults. They are particularly susceptible to peer pressure and trying new things, and their young bodies can take an especially hard hit from the drug abuse. Also, getting help can prevent a lifetime of addiction struggles.
Pseudoephedrine abuse is not something to be taken lightly. Even just once, it can have negative health consequences. Never take more than the recommended dose, and speak to someone if you think you have a problem.