According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction is the inability to stop doing a compulsive behavior regardless of the consequences. Everyone knows about addiction to drugs like heroin and cocaine. However, there are a number of drugs that people are addicted to taking that you might never consider being something addictive. In many cases, the drug itself is not what people are addicted to, rather the action of taking them has become a powerfully compulsive behavior that they are unable to stop.
This addiction is actually fairly common. People suffering from it are typically compelled to take overly large doses of things such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, multiple times a day, even if they have no pain to relieve. Additionally, many people become addicted to the action of chewing aspirin.
Blood Pressure Medication
In many cases people that develop an addiction to blood pressure medications develop it during treatment for other substance use disorders, which required high dosages in order to keep their blood pressure from spiking. The users become used to the calming effect of decreased blood pressure, and continue to use it. Also, it is sometimes abused by insomniacs because low blood pressure often results in unconsciousness.
Many people drink chamomile tea for its calming and mildly sedative effect. Others take chamomile in pill form as a dietary supplement to combat anxiety and insomnia. However, it loses it effect quickly, so frequent users are compelled to take more and more of it to combat tolerance, which is a hallmark of addiction.
One of the reasons people become addicted to allergy medications is the fact that they contain anti-histamines, which have recently been found to be addictive. Additionally, the nasal decongestants in many allergy medications create dependency if used over long periods of time, or the user suffers symptoms of a massive sinus infection.
Parkinson’s disease damages the body’s ability to produce dopamine. Because of this, some of the most commonly prescribed medications for Parkinson’s are dopamine agonists, such as Requip and Levodopa, which replace dopamine in the brain. For someone that has a normally functioning dopamine system, taking these medications has an effect similar to opiods, and can easily create an addiction.
Anti-Seizure medications, such as Lomictal, are sometimes prescribed for the treatment of major depression. These drugs work by creating or inhibiting communication between the hemispheres of the brain. When a person stops taking them, the brain has to adjust to this new manner of function, and creates withdrawal symptoms. This is a sign of addiction.
Antidepressants are a very commonly prescribed drug in today’s society. When taken as directed, they can be very useful. However, many people continue taking antidepressants even after they stop showing signs of depression, because they fear a return of their depression symptoms. This creates dependency in the brain, which leads to addiction.
While taking any of these things as recommended does not create a problem, the compulsive use of them beyond what is recommended can create a whole host of physical ailments and psychological problems that disrupt the addicted person’s life.