Do not laugh--nasal sprays can be a gateway drug. Ask anyone who is used to snorting or inhaling an illegal substance, and they probably know. Need the facts? Here is more on how nasal sprays are a gateway drug and how substance abuse treatment can help.
Nasal Sprays and What They Do
Nasal sprays are designed to open nasal passages and shrink blocked and swollen nasal tissues. Your sinuses are completely open to your brain. Your blood vessels can absorb the medicine from the sprays and continue to make it work hours after you have used the nasal sprays. They are effective at what they do. Sometimes they are so effective, people can become addicted to them and just use them constantly.
The other, darker aspect of nasal sprays is that with your sinuses open to your brain and your nasal passages unblocked, illegal drugs have the fastest route to an intense high. Take a person who snorts cocaine, for example. Using nasal spray beforehand and then snorting cocaine sends the cocaine straight into the bloodstream and right into the brain. There is almost no waiting for the high this user seeks. It is virtually instantaneous. The same holds true for any drug you can inhale, such as marijuana or opium--you clear the sinuses and nasal passages first, and the illegal drugs have a direct path to the brain.
How Substance Abuse Treatments Can Help
First and foremost, you should enter a substance abuse program to shake the addiction to the illegal drug first. If you have a secondary drug addiction to nasal sprays and what they provide for you, that can be treated at the same time. In fact treating all of your addictions at the same time is ideal, since treating only one at a time can cause major relapses in your recovery. Since the nasal spray is the trigger that gets you to snort or inhale an illegal drug, you will get help quitting that cold turkey as well.
Cognitive therapies for compulsion and psych therapies for the problems that drove you to use will be discussed in-depth in your treatments. There is always an emotional or psychological reason for using, and discovering that something as simple as a nasal spray enhances your high can only make the addiction and self-medicating behavior worse. As for the physical impact these addictions have on your nose and sinuses, they may have to be treated over time to correct all of the damage the nasal spray abuse and drug addiction has caused.