Over-The-Counter Drug Abuse High Among Teens

Signs & Symptoms of Over-the-Counter Drugs

Over-the-counter drugs are drugs which may be bought and taken without a prescription. Throughout the years these drugs have been a constant source of drug abuse, and are perhaps most popular among young teens. Symptoms of over-the-counter drug abuse include:

  • Dizziness
  • Poor memory
  • Constant mood changes
  • Anxiety
  • Nightmares
  • Inability to clearly think
  • Nausea
  • Poor coordination
  • Lack of interest in normal activities
  • Blurry vision
  • Hostility
  • Numbness
  • Poor performance at work and school
  • Confusion
  • Sense of calm
  • Hallucinations
  • Sleep disturbances

These symptoms may seem overwhelming but there are in fact further, more severe, complications which can arise as a result of OTC abuse. Prevent such complications by enrolling in a drug treatment program at a treatment for drug abuse center today. Drug treatment provided by a drug treatment center can help you or your loved one recover from drug abuse and addiction.

Effects of Over-the-Counter Drugs

Abuse of OTC drugs can result in serious consequences. In serious cases, such as that of Heath Ledger, death may even occur. Examples of serious complications include:

  • Depression
  • Harm to the brain
  • Seizure
  • Heart palpitations
  • Stroke
  • Liver complications
  • Ruptured blood vessel
  • Death

Abuse of over-the-counter drugs is perhaps most common among young teens ranging from ages 13 to 16. In fact, approximately 1 out of every 11 teens has abused some sort of over-the-counter medicine. The most popular type of OTC drugs to abuse is cough or cold medicines, as they contain dextromethorphan. This may be because of their cheap cost and easy accessibility.

For parents of teen children, it is important to remember to monitor your child’s use of over-the-counter drugs in your home. Knowing the signs of this type of drug abuse may also help to prevent addiction in which the assistance of a drug treatment facility is needed.

If you or your loved one struggles with an addiction to over-the-counter drugs, seek immediate help. Waiting too long can result in serious, permanent health damage. Seeking early treatment increases the chance of recovery. It is also important to find a drug rehab facility that will address both the physical signs of abuse as well as the underlying emotional causes. Without treating both of these issues, full recovery is impossible.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.