Substance Use

Ephedrine Use Disorder Treatment

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Ephedrine Addiction Treatment

One of the most abused over-the-counter medications, ephedrine is highly addictive and can interfere with the heart’s function. However, people often abuse ephedrine due to their association with weight loss. Many users of ephedrine are unaware of the risk of developing an addiction to ephedrine.

With prolonged use, a tolerance can develop leading to dependence. Many countries have banned ephedrine, however, it is still legal to use for certain medical conditions. 

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What Is Ephedrine?

Ephedrine is a nervous system stimulant drug that acts as a decongestant and bronchodilator. The drug is primarily used to provide temporary pain relief for shortness of breath, chest tightness and wheezing caused by bronchial asthma. Doctors also prescribe this drug for other uses at their discretion. 

Ephedrine works by reducing swelling and constricting blood vessels in the nasal  passages, as well as widening the lung airways which allows for easier breathing. 

Products containing ephedrine are commonly sold as over-the-counter aids to improve athletic performance, enhance weight loss, decrease cigarette craving, promote uterine contractions, and promote menstruation. It can help with a number of medical conditions.

What Are the Effects of Ephedrine Use?

The use of ephedrine can cause a series of adverse effects with both short and long term use.

Some of the more common effects associated with use of ephedrine include:

  • Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Irregular heartbeat and palpitations
  • Restlessness
  • Sleeping difficulties such as insomnia
  • Psychosis
  • Memory loss
  • Muscle injury
  • Heat stroke
  • Increased body temperature
  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke

The adverse effects do not always depend on the dose that has been consumed; however longer use can heighten the severity of the effects associated with the use of ephedrine. 

Withdrawal From Ephedrine

As with most addictive substances, individuals who abuse or have developed an addiction to ephedrine will typically experience withdrawal symptoms when attempting to reduce ephedrine use or abruptly stop using the drug. The symptoms experienced during withdrawal vary, and treatment is similar to that of amphetamine withdrawal.

Without medically assisted detox, the withdrawal symptoms will cause the individual to have an unpleasant and discomforting experience, including:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Paranoia
  • Depression
  • Hypertension
  • Nervousness

Withdrawing from ephedrine typically isn’t as severe as it is with other drugs; however, it can be very difficult for those who have developed a dependence on the drug.

Zinnia Health has ample experience treating stimulant abuse, including ephedrine, and can provide you with the tools for long-term recovery.

Signs of Ephedrine Use and Abuse

People who are addicted to ephedrine commonly take the drug in excessive doses only for recreational purposes. Prolonged use of ephedrine can result in the development of a tolerance for the drug, or even an addiction.

Signs and symptoms associated with ephedrine abuse and addiction include:

  • Continued use of the drug despite knowledge of the negative effects and consequences on one’s overall well-being
  • Increased doses
  • Unsuccessful attempt to reduce or stop use
  • Attempting to hide and disguise one’s drug use
  • Purchasing ephedrine illegally
  • Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when ephedrine use has been reduced or suddenly stopped
  • Experiencing problems at work, home, and/or school as a result of drug use
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Inability to control ephedrine use
  • Experiencing feelings of guilt and denial of ephedrine abuse

Treatment of Ephedrine Addiction

Ephedrine has been the cause of multiple deaths since its use has gained popularity. As a result, it is highly recommended to seek treatment for ephedrine abuse and addiction. Effective treatment implements the use of both medication and psychotherapeutic approaches.

In our detox environment, a non-addictive prescription drug is generally used in ephedrine addiction treatment to ease symptoms of withdrawal and to control cravings. Meanwhile, therapy and counseling are also effective in treating ephedrine abuse. This approach both identifies the root of the addiction and treats the psychological effects caused by ephedrine abuse. 

If you or someone you love may have developed an addiction to ephedrine or has an ephedrine use problem, Zinnia Health is here to help. We provide the support you need for a successful recovery. Give us a call today.

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Ready to get help?
(855) 430-9439
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