Ephedrine is a nervous system stimulant drug which 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 which contain 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. Therapeutic uses include treatment for nocturnal enuresis, diabetic neuropathic edema, dysmenorrheal, narcolepsy and myasthenia gravis. People often abuse ephedrine due to it’s association with weight loss. Many users of ephedrine are unaware of the risk of developing an addiction to ephedrine because it is not physically addictive, however with prolonged use, a tolerance can develop leading to a dependence. Many countries have banned ephedrine, however it is still legal to use for certain medical conditions. The drug has been banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA).
Effects of Ephedrine
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 includes:
Irregular heartbeat and palpitations
Sleeping difficulties such as insomnia
Increased body temperature
The adverse effects do not always depend on the the dose which has been consumed, however the longevity of use can heighten the severity of the effects associated with use of ephedrine.
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 varies across users. Treatment is similar to amphetamine withdrawal treatment. Some withdrawal symptoms are less severe than others, however all symptoms will cause the individual to have an unpleasant and discomforting experience. Symptoms of withdrawal associated with ephedrine use includes:
Withdrawing from ephedrine isn’t as severe as other drugs, however it can be very difficult for those who have developed a dependence on the drug.
Signs and Symptoms of Ephedrine Use & Need for Ephedrine Addiction Treatment
Ephedrine addicts commonly take the drug in excessive doses for recreational purposes only. 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 includes:
Continued use of the drug despite knowledge of the negative effects and consequences on one’s overall well-being
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 which were once enjoyable
Inability to control ephedrine use
Experiencing feelings of guilt and denial of ephedrine abuse
Treatment for 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 Ephedrine addiction treatment implements the use of both medication and psychotherapeutic approaches, similar to related recovery treatment like cocaine addiction treatment. A non-addictive prescription drug is generally used in ephedrine addiction treatment to ease symptoms of withdrawal and to control cravings. Therapy and counseling are also effective in treating an ephedrine use problem, this approach is useful in getting to the root of the addiction and treating the psychological effects caused by ephedrine abuse.
If you are led to believe that you or a loved one may have developed and addiction to ephedrine or an ephedrine use problem, Harbor Village can assist you in acquiring the treatment you need for a successful recovery - call us today!
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