About NyQuil Addiction

May 2023 About NyQuil Addiction

NyQuil is an over-the-counter (or OTC) medication that is commonly used to treat symptoms of allergies, colds, and the flu. Although NyQuil may be purchased without a prescription, this does not mean that its use is a risk-free endeavor. The many negative outcomes that can result from the intentional misuse of this medication include developing NyQuil addiction.

What is in NyQuil?

The ingredients in NyQuil can vary depending on which version of the medication you are using. Most versions contain the following three substances:

Acetaminophen can reduce fever and ease some pain, DXM can suppress coughs, and doxylamine succinate can alleviate some allergy symptoms. 

People who abuse NyQuil typically do so because of the presence of dextromethorphan. DXM is a dissociative anesthetic that can have hallucinogenic effects when taken in a large enough dose.

Other substances that may be present in certain versions of NyQuil include:

  • Alcohol
  • Diphenhydramine HCl
  • Phenylephrine
  • Chlorpheniramine 
  • Pseudoephedrine

Is NyQuil Addictive?

Yes, NyQuil is addictive. 

NyQuil addiction is not typically associated with the painful physical withdrawal symptoms that are characteristic of other substance use disorders, such as alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder. 

However, people who become dependent on this medication may have powerful psychological urges to use the drug; they may habitually use more of the drug than they intended; and when they cannot acquire and use it, they may experience significant emotional distress. All of these symptoms are characteristic of addiction.

Is it ok to Take NyQuil Every Night, Long Term?

Like any medication designed to aid in sleep initiation or maintenance, frequent use of NyQuil can potentially lead to issues. NyQuil contains various other active ingredients besides doxylamine, including alcohol, which should not be relied upon for sleep purposes. It’s important to note that even doxylamine, although a short-term sleep aid, should not be used regularly.

Man suffering from NyQuil addiction

What is NyQuil Addiction Like?

Substance use disorders affect different people in different ways. This means that there is no single set of symptoms that applies to everyone who struggles with NyQuil addiction. However, certain experiences are relatively common among people who have this problem. 

First, if you have been abusing NyQuil, here are some examples of what you might experience: 

  • Change in heart rate
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Slurring speech
  • Elevated mood
  • Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dissociation
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

If your NyQuil abuse causes you to develop NyQuil addiction, it can look and feel like this:

  • Intense urges to use NyQuil
  • Difficulty controlling how much NyQuil you use, or how often you use it
  • Spending large amounts of time acquiring, using, and recovering from the effects of NyQuil
  • Failing to meet personal and professional responsibilities (such as frequently missing school or work) because of NyQuil abuse
  • Lying to loved ones about the amount and frequency of your NyQuil abuse
  • Using NyQuil in clearly hazardous ways, such as in combination with alcohol or other drugs
  • Needing to use larger amounts of NyQuil to experience the effects that you are seeking
  • Becoming angry or agitated when you can’t acquire and use NyQuil
  • Trying to stop abusing NyQuil, but being unable to do so

The continued compulsive abuse of NyQuil or any other medication can put you at increased risk for several negative outcomes, which we will discuss in greater detail in the next section.

Dangers of NyQuil Addiction

Abusing NyQuil even once can be dangerous. But when you abuse this medication on a regular basis, to the point where you lose control of your ability to regulate how much you use, you can expose yourself to significant harm. 

Here are a few of the many potential negative effects of NyQuil addiction:

  • Hallucinations
  • Injuries to due diminished coordination and perception
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Poor performance at work or in school
  • Polysubstance abuse
  • Development of co-occurring mental health concerns
  • Academic failure 
  • Job loss
  • Social withdrawal
  • Overdose
  • Accidental death

The effects of NyQuil addiction can be devastating. But they can be avoided when you get the right type and level of care. We’ll explore a few NyQuil addiction treatment options in the next section.

Can NyQuil Addiction be Treated?

There is one hopeful fact about NyQuil addiction: It is treatable. When a person receives proper care from a reputable provider, they can end their NyQuil abuse and regain control of their thoughts and behaviors.

As is also the case with other substance use disorders, NyQuil addiction is not a curable condition. Instead, the goal of treatment is to teach people how to manage the urges and compulsions that contributed to their substance abuse, or that may threaten to push them into relapse.

When seeking treatment for NyQuil addiction, one of the most important early decisions is determining which level or levels of care are right for you. At Phoenix Rising Recovery, you may take part in treatment at one or more of the following levels:

Depending on several personal factors, including which level of care you are in, your treatment for NyQuil addiction at our center may include elements such as the following:

Contact Phoenix Rising Recovery About NyQuil Addiction Today

If you have become dependent on NyQuil or any other medication, the Phoenix Rising Recovery team can help.

Our NyQuil addiction treatment center in southern California is a trusted source of personalized care for adults who are struggling with addictions and certain co-occurring mental health disorders. While you are with us, you can expect to receive customized services from skilled professionals in a safe and highly supportive environment. 

When you’re ready to start walking the path of improved health and successful recovery, Phoenix Rising Recovery is here for you. To learn more or to schedule a free intake assessment, just visit our Contact page or call us today.