How to Break a Nasal Spray Addiction
Nasal Spray: Too Good To Be Healthy
The winter of 2011 was a rough one for me. My little girl started going to daycare for the first time in her three years of living, and you can guess what happened. That's right...she contracted illness after illness after illness. I can say with confidence that she was sick for pretty much three months straight. And when my daughter gets sick, it's a domino effect. I get sick and then my husband will sometimes get sick, as well.
In the midst of having a stuffed-up nose and literally feeling as if I was suffocating, I found the miraculous nasal spray on the pharmacy shelf. A couple squirts up each nostril and WHAM—I was able to breathe fully in a matter of a couple of minutes. I thought to myself, oh sweet nasal spray, where have you been all my life?
Little did I know that this breath-giving substance has an uncanny ability to hook you to it—to actually create an addiction. My husband even said to me, "Babe, you know that stuff creates an addiction." And I disagreed. No way something as simple as nasal spray could keep someone like myself craving it on a daily basis.
Alas, the truth sometimes hurts...especially when I do not want to admit it. After three days of using this majestic product that kept my nasal passages free and clear of any undesired phlegm, I started thinking that what my husband was telling me might have some truth to it. I think maybe I didn't care too much though, as long as I could breathe out of my nose I was going to be happy.
Oh, how the tide can change. Seven days went by after the initial nasal spray usage and my nose started plugging up again, or so it seemed. I became very frustrated and began using my little white bottle of nasal hope more than once a day. The unclogging effect seemed to be wearing off—my nasal passages could not breathe freely—I realized that my body had literally become addicted to whatever ingredients were within the nasal spray that I had been using for a week.
Like an idiot, I decided to read the back of the nasal spray bottle, just to see if it had any warnings or side effects. Towards the bottom of the small printed label it read, "Do not use more than three days in a row. You may develop a habit." Seriously? I always read the little novels that accompany each antibiotic that I've ever had, why didn't I choose to read this label before I started using this "miracle" nasal funk? Why didn't I listen to my husband?
Though not breathing through one's nose doesn't seem like that dramatic of a circumstance, for me I felt like I was losing my mind. I have never been a mouth-breather; I've always breathed through my nose. If I can't breathe through my nose, I feel claustrophobic in a way. So this was a big deal to me, especially because I realized that my nasal passages were so used to acquiring this "fix" for the past seven days that they were literally closing without it. There was no sickness left in my system, just an addiction to a pharmaceutical ingredient. So, how to beat this stupid addiction? Well, there's a few ways to beat this thing.
Ways to Break the Habit
1. Cold Turkey - If you are hardcore like me, the best option for you to break this medical addiction is to go full-on cold turkey. What do we mean when we say "cold turkey"? We mean to just plain stop what you are doing that causes the addiction. Stop using the substance that is causing your suffering...in this case - nasal spray. Yes, there are negatives to the cold turkey method. The biggest negative is that your nose will continue to feel closed and you will not be able to breathe through it for at least a couple of days. In severe cases in which people have used nasal spray for a matter of years, the feeling of nasal clogging will probably last for at least a couple of weeks. Your body has to readjust itself to not having that chemical in order to open the pathways to the respiratory system. You may feel miserable and have a tantalizing desire to just pick up the bottle (pun intended), but fight it! If you have quit smoking or some other addiction in the past cold turkey, you can quit this thing the same exact way! You are strong so don't let something as simple as an inanimate bottle of nose lube keep you down.
2. Simply Saline - Instead of going cold turkey and suffering the wrath of nasal spray withdrawal, try out a bottle of Simply Saline. I believe you can purchase a bottle for under eight dollars at your local pharmacy. Walgreen's, Rite Aid, and CVS Pharmacy all carry this product. Simply Saline is made up of water and .9% sodium chloride. The main purpose of Simply Saline is to moisturize the nasal passages and clear any unwanted debris from the nose (including pollen particles). This product is recommended for people with dry nasal passages due to colds, sinus infections and allergies. It works remarkably well in the process of easing one off of a nasal spray addiction. Clearing the nasal passages of excess mucus will aid one in feeling as if they are able to breathe again; though, let me tell you ahead of time that this blissful feeling does not last that long. Maybe a couple of hours at most. But a great positive attribute to this stuff is that it is so natural and non-habit forming that you can use it as much as you need to throughout the day. This product will surely aid in weening oneself off of the deathly grip of nasal spray.
3. One At a Time - The last method of nasal spray rehab I will recommend is to break the addiction, one nasal pathway at a time. The process here includes going cold turkey in say, your right nostril, and letting the left nostril still bask in the glory of nasal spray clarity. After a couple of days, the right nostril should start to clear up and breathe normally on its own and this is when you strike with rehab on the remaining addicted left nostril. Give it a week or so and I guarantee you will have gently let down both nostrils from their chemical addiction. Shame on you, you stupid weak nose for getting addicted to something so trivial in the first place!
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.