Cough Drop Addiction


Cough drops are sold over-the-counter (no prescription needed) and are not considered addictive, but people overuse them for various reasons. The reasons can be the simple habit of having something in the mouth or some underlying problem.

Overuse can disguise an underlying problem

Packages of cough drops will usually advise not to use them for more than a week or excessively. The reason for this is that constant use can disguise some underlying problem. For instance, if the mouth and throat are not producing enough saliva, someone may depend on cough drops to provide moisture. The "harsher" cough drops can even conceal throat pain -- a symptom that should be addressed by a medical professional if it lasts more than a day or two.

Commonly, people use cough drops to ease throat irritation. The irritation can be from an infected tooth that is draining or from smoking. Dryness can also happen when drugs are smoked and some drugs even cause dry mouth -- methamphetamine is one, ecstasy another, but there are many prescription drugs that do so as well.

Once the habit is established, it can seem like an addiction. After all, the behavior is repeated and becomes "normal." A true cough drop addiction, or oral fixation may be a psychological problem and some people battle with thumb sucking or the need to have something in the mouth --gum, cough drops, mints -- even when it is inappropriate.

If it does seem impossible to stop on your own, there may be some underlying medical condition, either physical or mental. For some people, having the cough drop acts like a cigarette for a smoker. It becomes natural to pop one in and they do it almost without thinking.

The first thing to do would be to see if there is some reason for the cough drop addiction -- this would usually show up in the morning, after a night of sleep. Is the mouth dry? Does it hurt to swallow or speak? Anything out of the ordinary might need to be diagnosed.

So, while cough drop addiction is not a formal addiction, if there was an inability to stop and the habit was troublesome, it would deserve action.

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