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.

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in How-To
1,169 comments on “I Have a Nose Spray Addiction – I’m Addicted to Afrin
  1. Mit Tressler says:

    Ok guys. Here is what is working for me. I have one of those NetiPot things. I took the mix and prepared like on the package. I started mixing it about 1/3 NetiPot mix to 2/3 nose spray. Now, I am at 1/2 and 1/2.

    One nice thing is that the rebound is nowhere near as bad as it was and the nose spray lasts effects last much longer than they were lasting. I guess since it’s diluted, it’s not irritating my sinuses as much?

    I don’t know if I will ever 100% be off of it because my allergies are just so bad and if they flare up, I can’t stand not being able to breathe. I do think that I will be able to go down to 3/4 NetiPot mix and 1/4 nose spray.

    If the rebound stops, it would be great just to use a low-dose like that when my allergies flare up.

    (Here is where I was a couple weeks ago… I was using nose spray almost constantly and then the right side of my nose just quit opening up; that’s when I signed on this board. I probably have 20-25 bottle of nose spray. I don’t go anywhere without it and I have spare bottles everywhere: purse, car, work locker, all bathrooms in house, medicine cabinet, makeup bag, etc. I still have nose spray everywhere, but I am down to using it about 3 times a day… morning, late afternoon and then one time during the night.)

    Good Luck to everyone on here!!

  2. Joe says:

    Been addicted to afrin for yeas on out ! Stopped for about 3 yrs fought a bad cold and here I am back hooked on afrin again ! It stupid crazy !!! This addiction can drive a person mad!!! Went to the doctors to get help or a referral to see a nose doctor ! Explained the afrin 3day use ! Gave me a prescription of Flonase told me to take 2sprays up each nose and only use my afrin if needed for only three days prior of use with Flonase! ISO i wake up blow my nose and used my afrin to open up my nose and 1/2 hr later would put 2dropes of Flonase afterward ! I did not need any farina for up to 12 hrs ! Day two 22hrs (without afrin ) day 3 24 hrs! It only seem that at night time it’s were my nose gets real congested dropped the afrin completely and will start using Flonase one spray in the nose every morning and anothe spray later in the evening prior to bed time ! It really feels good to breath on your own with out depending on afrin every so hrs! Good luck to all of you dealing with this problem !! And please forgive my speeling

  3. Joe says:

    Been addicted to afrin for yeas on out ! Stopped for about 3 yrs fought a bad cold and here I am back hooked on afrin again ! It stupid crazy !!! This addiction can drive a person mad!!! Went to the doctors to get help or a referral to see a nose doctor ! Explained the afrin 3day use ! Gave me a prescription of Flonase told me to take 2sprays up each nose and only use my afrin if needed for only three days prior of use with Flonase! ISO i wake up blow my nose and used my afrin to open up my nose and 1/2 hr later would put 2dropes of Flonase afterward ! I did not need any farina for up to 12 hrs ! Day two 22hrs (without afrin ) day 3 24 hrs! It only seem that at night time it’s were my nose gets real congested dropped the afrin completely and will start using Flonase one spray in the nose every morning and anothe spray later in the evening prior to bed time ! It really feels good to breath on your own with out depending on afrin every so hrs! Good luck to all of you dealing with this problem !! And please forgive my speeling

  4. Joe says:

    Been addicted to afrin for yeas on out ! Stopped for about 3 yrs fought a bad cold and here I am back hooked on afrin again ! It stupid crazy !!! This addiction can drive a person mad!!! Went to the doctors to get help or a referral to see a nose doctor ! Explained the afrin 3day use ! Gave me a prescription of Flonase told me to take 2sprays up each nose and only use my afrin if needed for only three days prior of use with Flonase! ISO i wake up blow my nose and used my afrin to open up my nose and 1/2 hr later would put 2dropes of Flonase afterward ! I did not need any farina for up to 12 hrs ! Day two 22hrs (without afrin ) day 3 24 hrs! It only seem that at night time it’s were my nose gets real congested dropped the afrin completely and will start using Flonase one spray in the nose every morning and anothe spray later in the evening prior to bed time ! It really feels good to breath on your own with out depending on afrin every so hrs! Good luck to all of you dealing with this problem !! And please forgive my speeling

  5. Joe says:

    Been addicted to afrin for yeas on out ! Stopped for about 3 yrs fought a bad cold and here I am back hooked on afrin again ! It stupid crazy !!! This addiction can drive a person mad!!! Went to the doctors to get help or a referral to see a nose doctor ! Explained the afrin 3day use ! Gave me a prescription of Flonase told me to take 2sprays up each nose and only use my afrin if needed for only three days prior of use with Flonase! ISO i wake up blow my nose and used my afrin to open up my nose and 1/2 hr later would put 2dropes of Flonase afterward ! I did not need any farina for up to 12 hrs ! Day two 22hrs (without afrin ) day 3 24 hrs! It only seem that at night time it’s were my nose gets real congested dropped the afrin completely and will start using Flonase one spray in the nose every morning and anothe spray later in the evening prior to bed time ! It really feels good to breath on your own with out depending on afrin every so hrs! Good luck to all of you dealing with this problem !! And please forgive my speeling

  6. Gen says:

    Dude, I laughed so hard reading this. I thought you would have some dumb, flimsy way to break the addiction. But – NO – you found the PERFECT WAY!!!

    I was addicted for 13 years. Yeap! But I was stupid not to think about the one-nostril-at-a-time method back then so I stopped cold turkey and my nose felt like someone poured concrete inside each nostril. Absolutely zero air in/out. 100% congestion. I suffered this way for 2 days and then I graduated to severe congestion for another 2 days and mild congestion for another 2 and…you get the point.

    When I finally broke the dependency, I breathed a sigh of relief (pun intended).

    Next time I had a cold, I tried to deal with the regular congestion you get. But being sick is miserable enough without congestion on top of it and trying to sleep. So I was back on the Afrin a year later. That time I thought, hey, after this cold is over (2-3 weeks to be sure), why don’t I go off from one nostril, then the other. Well, for the last 10+ years that’s what I’ve done and it’s worked BRILLIANTLY! I start first thing in the morning by not using the Afrin on one nostril and it takes about 12 hours for the nostril to be rid of the congestion. Then, the next day I toss the bottle of Afrin as that day I’ll deal with another 12 hours of congestion recovery on nostril #2 and by that evening, I’m over it.

    • David says:

      We have a FB page dedicated to helping those addicted to Afrin. Share techniques, stories and vent if necessary about the frustrations behind the use of this poison. Come over to AfrinAddicts on FB, we will be glad to have you.

  7. Nathan says:

    Ohhhh, this has been a h3llish journey to put it mildly. Going on about 5 or 6 years I think. My doctor was not much help. Prescribed flonase or something similar but it only extended the times in between afrin hits. Now all of a sudden this year, the Rx is $40 bucks with insurance so I am walking away from that slight help.

    My addiction stems from my Sleep Apnea. I use my cpap machine with built in humidifier every night. For whatever reason, in the morning after removing the mask, I would have severe nasal blockage. It would last a couple hours. Got tired of that and used afrin one morning and that is when it all started.

    I hope to someday find a way to stop this terrible dependance.

    Thanks,
    Nate

  8. Brittaney says:

    I’ve been addicted to nose spray for a year. I use it about two times a day. Once in the morning and another at night. It’s weird because my husband and I are suffering together. Our nose got stuffy around the same time… Crazy! But I stop using nose spray all together “cold turkey” and I tell you what, it does suck butt! My nose will get runny and my ears constantly pop and make crackling noises. But my health means a lot to me and I will be trooper. To help, I’ve been using nasacort and saline rinse. What I do first is rinse my nose with a neti pot than spray nasacort. My nose is still stuffy but I can breath a little. Now for night time, I use nighttime medicine to help me sleep. Plus you can go to your doctor and explain to your doctor about your situation and they can perscribe you prednisone. It’s a steroid pill that can help with allergies and inflammation of the nose. It can help your stuffyness a little. But it’s good to use a steroid base nose spray to help your nose heal. One can be prescribed by your doctor but the others are nasacort and flonase. My nose will go in and out. One moment I can breath a little and the next it’s stuffed but it does help a little and I hope I helped you guys with your situations. We all can be troopers through this!

  9. Dave H says:

    Hey guys, ya I never had any luck when trying to quit by cutting The Afrin with a saline. It’s a bit like an alcoholic trying to quit by mixing his vodka with soda water. At night when it feels like I am gasping for breath I will spray an extra pump or two. That’s not to say mixing the afrin with saline is not helpful. I do it to avoid irritation at times. I may try Flonase or something

  10. Brittaney says:

    Hey it’s Brittaney again. I was addicted to nose spray for a year. And I stopped “cold turkey” I’ve been off of it sense last Friday 3-27-15 and it’s now 3-31-15. Within 2 days I’ve felt my nose getting back to normal. Today I can breath perfectly again. The first two days was rough, especially at night. Every morning when I wake up I will wash my nose with sinus rinse, spray two squirts of nasacort in each nostril, and take Zyrtec. At night time I would do the same but instead of using nasacort I would use saline spray, than before i go to sleep I would take nighttime muconax for colds to help me sleep and whatever which nostril feels the most stuffed than the other, I would stuff the stuffy nostril with toilet paper and it would help me breath better at night. After suffering for two days, I feel a lot better today. Not to mention I stopped using nose spray while I had a cold. I know it is tough to stop nose spray all together. Especially when you have kids and have to go to work. I can’t handle my nose being stuffed up either. But when my doctor told me all the damages that I was doing to my nose… It scared the hell out of me! She told me when the doctors would look at a patients nose that have been addicted to nose spray it looks like a chemical burn. Than she told me that eventually your nose will start deforming. I don’t want that to happen to me so I’ve decided to stick it out and deal with the stuffyness. I am 21 years old and I have a 1 year old son. I am a EMT and CNA. If I can do this, so can you!

  11. Britt says:

    Hey it’s Brittaney again. I stopped using nose spray “cold turkey” I’ve been off of it sense last Friday 3-27-15 and it’s now 3-31-15. Within 2 days I’ve felt my nose getting back to normal. Today I can breath perfectly again. The first two days was rough, especially at night. Every morning when I wake up I will wash my nose with sinus rinse, spray two squirts of nasacort in each nostril, and take Zyrtec. At night time I would do the same but instead of using nasacort I would use saline spray, than before i go to sleep I would take nighttime muconax for colds to help me sleep and whatever which nostril feels the most stuffed than the other, I would stuff the stuffy nostril with toilet paper and it would help me breath better at night. After suffering for two days, I feel a lot better today. Not to mention I stopped using nose spray while I had a cold. I know it is tough to stop nose spray all together. Especially when you have kids and have to go to work. I can’t handle my nose being stuffed up either. But when my doctor told me all the damages that I was doing to my nose… It scared the hell out of me! She told me when the doctors would look at a patients nose that have been addicted to nose spray it looks like a chemical burn. Than she told me that eventually your nose will start deforming. I don’t want that to happen to me so I’ve decided to stick it out and deal with the stuffyness. I am 21 years old and I have a 1 year old son. I am a EMT and CNA. If I can do this, so can you!

  12. Brittaney says:

    Hey it’s Brittaney again. I stopped using nose spray “cold turkey” I’ve been off of it sense last Friday 3-27-15 and it’s now 3-31-15. Within 2 days I’ve felt my nose getting back to normal. Today I can breath perfectly again. The first two days was rough, especially at night. Every morning when I wake up I will wash my nose with sinus rinse, spray two squirts of nasacort in each nostril, and take Zyrtec. At night time I would do the same but instead of using nasacort I would use saline spray, than before i go to sleep I would take nighttime muconax for colds to help me sleep and whatever which nostril feels the most stuffed than the other, I would stuff the stuffy nostril with toilet paper and it would help me breath better at night. After suffering for two days, I feel a lot better today. Not to mention I stopped using nose spray while I had a cold. I know it is tough to stop nose spray all together. Especially when you have kids and have to go to work. I can’t handle my nose being stuffed up either. But when my doctor told me all the damages that I was doing to my nose… It scared the hell out of me! She told me when the doctors would look at a patients nose that have been addicted to nose spray it looks like a chemical burn. Than she told me that eventually your nose will start deforming. I don’t want that to happen to me so I’ve decided to stick it out and deal with the stuffyness. I am 21 years old and I have a 1 year old son. I am a EMT and CNA. If I can do this, so can you!

  13. So Fain says:

    I did it!

    I have been addicted to Afrin for about a year now. It started innocently enough but I didn’t even spot my addiction until I was buying Afrin in 6 packs! I was using it 5 to 10 times a day and fighting a losing battle. I had to keep using more and more for a couple hours of relief.

    Well, a couple weeks ago I searched for an answer and found this website. I combed over the comments here and started my plan. I got Breathe Right strips and some Flonase OTC.

    For the first couple of days, I tried to reduce my Afrin use to as little as I could stand. At night I used Breathe Right strips to eliminate middle of the night sprays.

    On day 3 I used Flonase in both nostrils first thing in the morning. I used Afrin once that day in one nostril. Breathe Right strips continued at night. On day 4 I did the same.

    Days 5-7 were Flonase and Breathe Right strips only.

    On day 8, for the first time in over a year, I used no nasal spray at all! By day 10, I stopped needing the breathe right strips!

    Thanks for the advice all!

  14. Chris says:

    ****continued*****
    I have two options at this point. I only use one shot of afrin in each side about 2-3 times per day, but regardless, the rebound congestion has no limits. I purchased a Rhinostat kit that was about $40 that slowly weans you off by replacing the drug with saline. I also just bought sinus buster from CVS. Its a natural spray that has a pepper as its active ingredient. I dont mind being slightly stuffed up, but at night, having both sinuses completely obstructed is unacceptable. Ill report back when I have a better idea of what option worked best.

  15. Val says:

    Looking foward to your update!

  16. Steve L says:

    Somewhere on the web I read that for best effect, make sure you spray and breathe in with the Sinus Buster so it goes sufficiently deep enough (if necessary wait and do a second burst after the first has cleared some of your sinus.) It could be that people aren’t getting the spray far enough along your entire passageway. You will know how far you’ve sprayed by the feeling in your nose. ;) But again, I haven’t found it to be that bad. I’m sure the sensation is different for each person though, based on the varied responses about how bad the burn is.

  17. cat says:

    Chris, definitely want to hear your results!

  18. abby says:

    hey chris! how’s it going?

  19. svolan117 says:

    read my comment above yours man

  20. rubymusic1 says:

    I’ve read about pepper(active ingredient)works very well but i’m yet to try it. I find saline solution itself usually helps wean off of afrin very well. I also have a terrible problem with rebound congestion.

    Good luck with whichever you decide to use!

  21. hookedonafrin says:

    did this ever work?

  22. Majella says:

    Hey Chris,

    I’m also thinking of using the Rhinostat system to wean off Otrivine (similar to Afrin). Just wondering if you found it of any benefit?

    Majella

  23. Pam says:

    What option works best or do I need to do both?

  24. Angel says:

    I also tried to natural pepper spray stuff it burns and makes your eyes water. It doesnt make my nose as clear as afrin did but it does help. I cant take nasacort becsuse im pregnant or i would do that.

  25. bill gimbel says:

    sinus buster made it worse for me

  26. Ronda says:

    Went to the doctor today and he had two interesting suggestions. Told me to try 600 mg of ibuprofen every six hours to help with the inflammation and a nasal rinse called Alkalol, which you can find at CVS. It’s a natural rinse with peppermint, eucalyptus and menthol oils.

    It’s been one day of this and I’m noticing some improvement. It’s slow, but I don’t feel like I’m going to suffocate and it’s actually quite sooting to use the Alkalol rinse

  27. TJ says:

    I’ve been on nasal spray for 3 yrs. I really need help…

  28. Katir says:

    I’m happy to have found this website….I felt like I was the only one with this problem! I’ve been using Afrin for about a year and a half now. I’ve been researching how to stop because I can’t handle not being able to breathe out of my nose. I will try the one nostril method I think.

3 Pings/Trackbacks for "I Have a Nose Spray Addiction – I’m Addicted to Afrin"
  1. […] nose spray addiction started last year when I was having what I swear was the biggest congestion problem on earth. Last […]

  2. […] for this and it is important not to go beyond it like taking nasal spray that could lead to afrin addiction that is an unhealthy quick […]

  3. […] meds, but I figured there had to be another way because those weren’t options for me.  One suggestion that made the most sense, was the single nose […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>