I Have a Nose Spray Addiction – I’m Addicted to Afrin

Afrin nose spray addiction

This is a story on how I relieved my Afrin addiction with some simple helpful tips.

So there I am standing in the isle of of the drugstore with a head cold and sinus congestion when I see a bottle of Afrin. Twelve hours of nasal congestion relief?

Sign me up. I got some important phone calls to make at work and I can’t sound like I’m all stuffed up and sick. I gotta be professional sounding and clear headed.

How My Nose Spray Addiction Started

There is nothing worse than lying in bed at night trying to go to sleep with a stuffy nose. Finally there was something that I could take before bed that would allow me to breathe through my nose… Afrin nose spray.

The results were phenomenal. A couple of sprays up each nostril and within minutes I was able to breathe through my nose. So I stuck the Afrin in my pocket and it remained there for many weeks.

Why had I never used nose spray before? Why isn’t everyone using nose spray throughout their colds? Well, unfortunately I found out the hard way why it is not a good idea to use Afrin throughout the duration of your head cold.

Why Afrin Has a Hold on Me

There are warnings on the back of the Afrin bottle that explain that you should not use Afrin longer than three days in a row. I did read that warning. I however, did not pay attention to that warning. The sinus clearing results that I got from using nose spray were too good to just stop.

I decided on the fourth night to go ahead and use Afrin for another night.

What I wasn’t aware of when I decided to use Afrin longer than the recommended durations is a little something called rebound congestion. Rebound congestion occurs when vascular constricting properties of nose sprays begin to cause abnormal swelling of the nasal mucosa.

This can block the nasal airway completely, causing extreme discomfort.

Rebound congestion is temporarily relieved by the use of nose spray giving the person a small window of relief. You can see how this can become a vicious circle right? Too much nose spray use causes more nasal congestion that can only be relieved by using even more nose spray… etc., etc.

So the answer to the problem of rebound congestion seems simple right? Just stop using the noses spray and allow your nasal mucosa to return to normal. Well that is much easier said that done. Being unable to breathe properly through your nose can drive you crazy. It can send you running right back to that nose spray even though you know that it’s the nose spray that’s causing the problem.

How I’m Breaking Free from My Afrin Addiction

Now, you could just stop using nose sprays altogether and suffer with your rebound congestion for a couple of weeks until it goes away and you will be broken of your dependence on nose sprays.

I don’t see myself doing that so I have done some reading up on the subject and have begun a one nostril at a time withdrawal program.

What?

That’s right. I still use Afrin in one of my nostrils and am allowing the other nostril to heal.

Once this first nostril is all healed and I can breathe through it, I plan on stopping the use of Afrin in the second nostril. After a little while I will be able to breathe comfortably again through my nose without the use of nose sprays.

So how are you planning on breaking your nose spray addiction? I would love to hear people’s different methods for breaking nose spray addiction.

Important Update: Hello everyone. This is Ken Savage the author of this post. I wanted to tell you that I’m building a new community website around Nose Spray and Afrin addiction.  I working with an ENT Dr and a retired ENT nurse on common conditions of nasal congestion, ways to relieve the pressure and inflammation and how to get off of the nose sprays.

I’ll also let you know in an email and comment here when the new site is complete.  Should only be 2 weeks or so. I have a dozen articles written already and hope to provide you more help and information.

Good luck on your struggles everyone and let’s hope we can all work together to free ourselves from nose spray addiction.

Dad, writer and photographer. Living the dream with my son Jake. I travel the world making friends and experiences while building my network or properties and friends.

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1,274 comments on “I Have a Nose Spray Addiction – I’m Addicted to Afrin
  1. Karen says:

    OMG I’m so happy I found this site – now I know I’m not alone! I typed in Afrin addiction only half expecting to find information on this and I can’t believe all the comments! I too have a terrible Afrin addiction – I even called Bayer (who owns Afrin) to get coupons because I buy so much Afrin! I have bottles in all my pocketbooks and am afraid to be without it because when my nose gets stuffy I get the most terrible headache! My doctor told me to stop Afrin and prescribed both Flonase and Nasonex which both made my nose bleed that’s why I went back to Afrin behind her back. She warned me but I didn’t listen. Anyway, I start a new job in one week and I don’t want to start with this problem so I have one week to detox and I’m starting today! I am going to go cold turkey and use a Neti Pot for the next few days. I’ll let you know how it goes! Thank you all so much for all your helpful tips and comments!

    • John Pinto says:

      Check out the all-natural aromatherapy inhaler, BoomBoom (www.TryBoomBoom.com). It’s made with essential oils, menthol and hint of flavored oils that you can taste as the vapor goes through your nose and back down your throat. Highly recommend this to anyone looking to get away from Afrin.

    • Laura says:

      I just bought Flonase which is the good kind with the steroids and I haven’t had to use Affrin in days. I don’t use the Flonase really either. My nose doesn’t feel stuffed up and I feel so much better.

    • Eilishe says:

      IM SO GLAD I FOUND THIS PAGE!

      im addicted to nose spray, mines called sudafed nose spray but im using it atleast 6 times a day because i cannot bear having a blocked nose, its one of the worst things i think. and the sprays my doctor gave me dont work :( i need to stop using it but its so hard :(

  2. oxybump says:

    oxybump.com says in details why Nasal Spray is non addictive product. It may not be the addiction to exactly how it feels, even so the experience that you just can’t breathe in with a nose aerosol. And so If you want simply put it to use just one nostril. You can breathe. You’ll be able to end it at any time.

    • John Pinto says:

      Check out the all-natural aromatherapy inhaler, BoomBoom (www.TryBoomBoom.com). It’s made with essential oils, menthol and hint of natural flavored oil that you can taste as the vapor goes through your nose and back down your throat. It’s 100% safe and help with congestion, plus it feels nice. Highly recommend this to anyone looking to remove Afrin from their life.

  3. Maria Moreno says:

    I’m using AFRIN for over 8 years and finally realized that I have a dependency. Addition to this medicine. Today is the first day that I am planning to stop use it. It’s been a very overwhelming day. Any thoughts ? This is fucking hard. :(

    • John Pinto says:

      Check out the all-natural aromatherapy inhaler, BoomBoom (www.TryBoomBoom.com). It’s made with essential oils, menthol and hint of natural flavored oil that you can taste as the vapor goes through your nose and back down your throat. It’s 100% safe and help with congestion, plus it feels nice. Highly recommend this to anyone looking to remove Afrin from their life.

  4. Sue says:

    Nasacort!!!! I can’t say enough about it. I was addicted to Afrin for so many years, until I took a trip home for a visit. I ended up getting so sick that I actually went to a Dr. The Dr. was more concerned with my Afrin addiction than my illness. He prescribed Nasacort (it was only prescription back then) and a decongestant. I was completely clear and off the Afrin within a week to 10 days without even realizing it. As soon as my cold cleared up I just didn’t need anything. Went years only using a decongestant when seasonal congestion came until I got pregnant, then I couldn’t take the decongestant. The Dr told me to use Afrin, so there I was again, addicted again. That’s right when Nasacort became available OTC. I saw it and thought I recognized the name and figured I would give it a try. Within a week . . . off the Afrin again. Haven’t been back since.

    • John Pinto says:

      Check out the all-natural aromatherapy inhaler, BoomBoom (www.TryBoomBoom.com). It’s made with essential oils, menthol and natural flavored oils. Nothing actually shoots ups your nose, it’s just soothing vapor that feels great and is super refreshing. It’s 100% safe and helps with congestion, plus it feels nice. Highly recommend this to anyone looking to remove Afrin from their life.

    • Jen says:

      I have been on Afrin for awhile now about 2 years I just bought Nasacort and started today off of Afrin. I’m hoping with in a week I should be off of it. Do you think that is possible?

    • Jeannette says:

      I had a Afrin Addiction for 3 years. Wednesday I decided enough is enough in going to try to quit. So I did what you did bought some Nasacort and some 12 hour Sudifed. Wednesday was the worst.Thursday was alot better. And Today I’m not stuffed up at all. Clear as can be. Thank you so much for your advice. Jeannette

  5. Long Overdue says:

    I want to thank everyone who has contributed their feedback to this post. It has greatly helped me formulate my plan of action to break this terrible addiction. I have been using for about 5-6 years and am beginning to wonder how it is impacting my overall health. I know it will not be an easy task, but I am committed to it. My plan starts TODAY. Encouragement and tips are greatly appreciated. I will report back on progress!

    • Becca says:

      I have also been battling with Afrin since I was 15 years old…so 25 years! I have managed to go off of it once, but then I got a cold virus shortly after and went right back on it. Anyway, I just saw my ENT and Allergist, they both told me how damaging my use can end up being, as in, a hole in my septum causing a permanent whistle when I breath. I’ve been given an RX for 40mg of Prednisone for 5 days, and also Sudafed for the oral relief.

      Another little trick I have picked up along the way for immediate relief when you experience that unbearable stuffiness with the inability to swallow (this helped me last time I quit) is to plug your nose with your thumb and forefinger, let all the air out of your lungs, and hold it until you absolutely can’t stand it any longer – then let go and take a breath. Something with the carbon dioxide imbalance causes tissue to shrink and you get a few minutes of relief. I wouldn’t do it very often though as I’m not sure if it kills brain cells in the process!

    • John Pinto says:

      Check out the all-natural aromatherapy inhaler, BoomBoom (www.TryBoomBoom.com). It’s made with essential oils, menthol and natural flavored oils. Nothing actually shoots ups your nose, it’s just soothing vapor that feels great and is super refreshing. It’s 100% safe and helps with congestion, plus it feels nice. Highly recommend this to anyone looking to remove Afrin from their life.

  6. Jake says:

    I got addicted to nasal spray. Was like I was suffocating without it… I read online to spray it in just one nostril, I chose right nostril, always right nostril… Because when you are starting to get stuffy and can’t breathe I would forget. But right nostril was the side I kept using the nasal spray. It took a few days, but the left side completely recovered and didn’t get congested any more and allowed me to breathe through one nostril naturally. Then I noticed I could go longer without using on right side until that eventually went away. I also used Claritin D, but there were other side affects from that I noticed, like temporary ed… Yeah, it’s what they prescribe to get rid of the over four hour problem… But feel for people who are going through this. It was kind of scary, and I felt trapped to nasal spray, making sure I had a stashed bottle so I didn’t get stuck without it. I couldn’t talk, without that stuffed nose voice. One nostril fix. Good luck.

    • John Pinto says:

      Check out the all-natural aromatherapy inhaler, BoomBoom (www.TryBoomBoom.com). It’s made with essential oils, menthol and natural flavored oils. Nothing actually shoots ups your nose, it’s just soothing vapor that feels great and is super refreshing. It’s 100% safe and helps with congestion, plus it feels nice. Highly recommend this to anyone looking to remove Afrin or other chemical-filled nose sprays from their life.

  7. Steve Bigelow says:

    I have to wear a C-Pap mask with O2 at night due to Sleep Apnea. The mask that I like to use is much like an oversized canula that forces air and oxygen through my nose at night in order to keep my O2 levels high enough. I keep my mouth closed and use an “ACT” dry mouth lozenge to keep my mouth from becoming so dry that I can’t sleep.

    I started using a nose spray with Oxymetazoline HCL 0.05 %, which miraculously allowed me to do all my breathing at night through my nose. What a nightmare that turned out to be after using it much longer than I was supposed to. Its now going on 2 years and has gotten so bad that I have to mainline it, rather than spray it, by tipping my head back far enough and tipping the bottle upside down to squirt a stream of Oxy down my nose into my sinuses to be able to get any relief. I don’t reccomend this to anyone else because it just makes things worse in the long run.

    I have gotten off this stuff before and I am going to use the same methodolgy that worked before. It took about four days to get off this stuff to be able to breath easily through my nostrils again and wear my canula mask while sleeping. The use of the canula mask also helps keep my nostrils clear so that is the right mask for me and maybe for you if you have a problem breathing through you nose while sleeping.

    First I take a short course of Prednisone to calm down the inflamation. Along with that I use a NSAID to help with the same inflamation in my sinuses. I flush my sinuses out with a combination of warm salt water and “Alkolol” first thing after wake up and several more times a day. This really helps me to partially be able to breath through my nostrils. I also use flonase with a steriod in it which helps. My sinuses clear up and back to normal with in 3-5 days. And this methodology makes it much easier on you than not doing so. I also use the one nostril method at times when I have to to be able to breath.

    Now this method may be overkill and you could get off the nose spray without doing all the things I do, but when it gets really bad you want to use everthing you can that might help you start breathing normally again.

    I know this will work for anyone if they are just willing to be disciplined enough for the 3 – 5 days that it may take. And then once off of it, don’t go that route again. Good Luck!

    • John Pinto says:

      Check out the all-natural aromatherapy inhaler, BoomBoom (www.TryBoomBoom.com). It’s made with essential oils, menthol and natural flavored oils. Nothing actually shoots ups your nose, it’s just soothing vapor that feels great and is super refreshing. It’s 100% safe and helps with congestion, plus it feels nice. Highly recommend this to anyone looking to remove Afrin or other chemical-filled nose sprays from their life.

  8. Mike Cafarella says:

    I have been suffering with Afrin for around 40 years. Prior to that, I used Dristan for 10 years because 12 hour stuff wasn’t available OTC yet. That’s a total of 50 years! I’ve had deviated septum surgery at age 20 and been to doctors numerous time, nothing worked. I am going to try Sinus Buster, I’ve read good things about it. Wish me luck!

    • John Pinto says:

      Check out the all-natural aromatherapy inhaler, BoomBoom (www.TryBoomBoom.com). It’s made with essential oils, menthol and natural flavored oils. Nothing actually shoots ups your nose, it’s just soothing vapor that feels great and is super refreshing. It’s 100% safe and helps with congestion, plus it feels nice. Highly recommend this to anyone looking to remove Afrin or other chemical-filled nose sprays from their life.

  9. Derek says:

    I struggled with afrin addiction since I was 7 my father got me using it every time I got sick. It wasn’t till I was 23 I was able to break free. My trick was simple, but a new bottle of afrin ( preferably the largest bottle) and some saline solution. Use afrin as much as u need it however everyday add two drops of saline into the bottle it will slowly dilute it as well as ur dependency. After a month I was free I hope this helps u all and good luck.

    • Char says:

      This is a great idea! Glad to hear you kicked the habit! Is your nose completely clear after getting off it?

      • John Pinto says:

        Check out the all-natural aromatherapy inhaler, BoomBoom (www.TryBoomBoom.com). It’s made with essential oils, menthol and natural flavored oils. Nothing actually shoots ups your nose, it’s just soothing vapor that feels great and is super refreshing. It’s 100% safe and helps with congestion, plus it feels nice. Highly recommend this to anyone looking to remove Afrin or other chemical-filled nose sprays from their life.

  10. Beckie says:

    Wow! Just think how we have all kept this company in business! It’s a highly-addictive drug that technically is legal to buy and use. I am going to try the one-nostril method, too. My family is worried about my constant use. I keep spare boxes in the car, in the linen closet, on the night table, in my desk at work – I’m terrified to run out! Time to get control of this before 50 years of use creeps up on me!

    • Char says:

      And just think of the money you will save! These bottles don’t come cheap at all! :)

    • John Pinto says:

      Check out the all-natural aromatherapy inhaler, BoomBoom (www.TryBoomBoom.com). It’s made with essential oils, menthol and natural flavored oils. Nothing actually shoots up your nose, it’s just a soothing vapor that feels great and is super refreshing. It’s 100% safe and helps with congestion, plus it feels nice. Highly recommend this to anyone looking to remove Afrin or other chemical-filled nose sprays from their life.

  11. Tim says:

    I’ve had the same problem as everyone here.I’m currently going cold turkey and after about 20 hours of misery. I am able to breathe when I’m active I can breathe out of both nostrils. When I am just sitting around one nostril is usually totally clogged. When I went to sleep on day 2 I couldnt breathe so I took a xanax to sleep breathed through my mouth with a bottle of water next to me. I am going to try flonase as a doctor recommended but that may take 2 weeks to take effect. The only thing I can think of that made it easier was drinking lots of water and breathing in steam from boiling water. I realize I’m very lucky considering how relatively easy it is for me. But I suggest trying cold turkey maybe with some advil cold and sinus. I bought sudafed but havent used it yet. I will tonight before bed time. But try cold turkey maybe you will get lucky like I did

    • John Pinto says:

      Check out the all-natural aromatherapy inhaler, BoomBoom (www.TryBoomBoom.com). It’s made with essential oils, menthol and natural flavored oils. Nothing actually shoots up your nose, it’s just a soothing vapor that feels great and is super refreshing. It’s 100% safe and helps with congestion, plus it feels nice. Highly recommend this to anyone looking to remove Afrin or other chemical-filled nose sprays from their life.

  12. susan says:

    Great idea the one nostril at a time thing…I became addicted when I was pregnant and to kick the habit used Advil cold and sinus to supplement the Afrin…was able to wean myself off the Afrin and then able to wean off the Advil a lot easier than the Afrin!

  13. Ashley says:

    I have been using Otrivin for 15 years. I am only 30. It had total control over my life. I have to have it with me at all times. The minute my nose starts to get stuff I reach for the spray and I know its ok. Waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to breathe is scary. Like cement has been poured into your nostrils. I get anxiety. I feel like I’m suffocating. It is awful. Every winter the city I live in runs out. There is a massive shortage. Which means I am definitely not the only one addicted to this stuff. I am 9 weeks pregnant and I want off. . I am about to start the process for the 8th time. I am determined this time. And I can do this!!! I last used it at 1045 am. It is now 7pm. And I am trying my best to wait until bed time. And I will do the one not still technique.. wish me luck!!!!

  14. Katz says:

    I have had sinus problems for as long as I can remember and needed to use decongestant to be able to breathe. A few years ago after many visits to the doctors I was referred to the ENT department and they said I needed nasal surgery to open the nasal passages a little. which was completed and fixed the problem, however as soon as I got a cold I started to use the spray again and of course ended up getting addicted. Recently I started to use a steroid spray called beconase for a few days alongside the decongestant as I had some allergies and after a few days realised that my nose wasn’t blocked anymore so I needed to use less and less of the decongestant to the point where I have now gone 11 days without using it at all. I am sooo relieved as thought I would never be able to get off the stuff and in the end it ended up happening by accident. Good luck everyone!

  15. Doug says:

    I quit 2 years ago after a 10 year addiction. Found a method and it worked like a charm. Get a prescription for a nasal steroid (flonase etc). Use as directed for at least a week…I waited until I had been using it for 2. You can continue to take Afrin as needed during this time. Then, use Afrin only in one nostril, but you can use as much as needed. The other side will be slightly uncomfortable, but totally manageable (due to the steroid). During this period continue to use the nasal steroid and keep using afrin in the one nostril until the other side clears…for me it was a week and half until totally clear. Then, while continuing to use nasal steriod, cut the afrin out altogether. That one side will be slightly uncomfortable for a while but with the other side clear, totally manageable. I tried lots of methods and always fell off the wagon for one reason or another. This most the most comfortable way I experimented with. Good luck!

  16. Wesley Grantham says:

    I too have been addicted to Afrin for 10 years or more. Other sprays and decongestant pills never worked. But I have stumbled upon a solution that works for me, without any rebound effect. I have found that a diluted solution (1 part Afrin, 9 parts salt water) allows me to sleep through the night. I give myself a single squirt of this diluted solution every night in my right nostril (for some reason it’s only my right side that gets stuffed up). Occasionally I wake up and need a second squirt, but usually the single squirt suffices. Given my success and the absence of any rebound effects, I plan to continue this approach.

  17. Judith Bowen says:

    I have been addicted to Afrin for seven months. Recently, I got so sick running nose, sweating, headaches, sneezing, congestion, trouble sleeping. Come to find out It was rebound congestion was taking control and I couldn’t breathe without the Afrin, it had a hold. I am now trying to get off of it. Hot Showers help the steam, warm salt water and cold compresses. I am going cold turkey. This is aweful. “Warning stay off the Af

  18. Bill Whelan says:

    Back in my 20s it was a 2 year addiction to Contac nasal spray (an early equivlent to Afrin). I am now 67 and surgery led me to Afrin. I quit after 2 months, but that lasted only a few months…followed by 9 more months of steady use. As others have mentioned, it is that feeling of suffocating that brings me to that next hit! It didn’t matter who, or how many people told me what a dummy I was and why don’t I just stop? Glad to know I am not alone and that there are other addicts who understand you don’t just STOP on command! (I know, John Pinto…there is a solution!)

    I threw my 3 bottles away 3 days ago in the late afternoon and fessed up to my wife (who was very understanding). By night I thought I was dying and claustrophobic, pulled the sprays from the trash and started up again…all within several hours!

    I am now trying using it in one nostril and that APPEARS to be working…We’ll see.. I think I am starting to get a perforated septum, which I thought ONLY happened with cocaine use. Now I look at many sites that say nasal sprays like Afrin can also cause that.

    One day at a time!

    This has not been my only addiction. I stopped alcohol 31 years ago…but like alcohol Afrin is right there on the shelf…with no one’s permission needed for use. Sick and tired of this feeling. This is my first time ever putting this acknowledgement out there…but there it is.

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  1. […] the Addiction. I really try to avoid becoming an addict. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I am addicted to Afrin, but that’s a different story. This week I learned I really am an addict. So, here’s goes. My name is Daniel, and I’m […]

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