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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940 comments on “I Have a Nose Spray Addiction – I’m Addicted to Afrin
  1. Wow... says:

    Well! Clearly some people have an attitude problem on here and are arguing… Grow up, be adults. This site is meant to help and support others that are struggling. Don’t be so petty.

    • Andrew says:

      Here’s my problem. I went to a Doctor, Got another nasal spray with streoids. Then I weened myself off Afrin,one nostril at a time, took about 10 days. Problem is still can’t breathe very well. Help.

  2. Daniel Benjamin says:

    I have been struggling with the rebound congestion from Afrin for years. And I am happy to inform you all THERE IS A CURE! There is a drug called Prednisone which is a general steroid meaning it reduces inflammation. Your doctor can prescribe this and you use a ‘tapering’ course meaning that you start with a high dose and decrease the dose every few days over a course of two weeks. what you do is this: stop the afrin the completely the first day and do 2 days at 60mg Predisone 2 days at 50 mg 2 days of 40 and so on until you are no longer dependent on Prednisone or Afrin to breathe. I was skeptical at first, I was taking LOTS of afrin each day but I just finished my taper and it worked! try it youself and let me know what you find! Hope this helps

    • Bianka says:

      Hi I went to the ent doc today and he prescribed me that as well!!! Did it work for u?? I’m going to start tomorrow cause he said it can keep u awake. Tonight I’m going to need my afrin to sleep!!!

    • Melissa says:

      Ive been using… Excuse me I’ve been abusing Afrin for about a year. It all started when I was 3 months pregnant. One night I woke up congested and thats when it all started. I use a bottle per week. My Doc gave me flonase but it didn’t help me right away so ai stopped ans went back to Afrin. This is horrible! So today I decided that I’ve had enough!! I will start trying the prednisone and the allergy medicine and see how it goes.

    • Kathy Looyenga says:

      I had surgery on my nose because I was having difficulty breathing, especially at night. I have become addicted to Afrin and didn’t realize it until it was too last. I thought the surgery would help with my breathing, but it hasn’t, and I resort to the Afrin so I can sleep at night. I get very panicky when I can’t breathe and am at my wits end with finding a solution.

    • Reid BSN says:

      Read up on prednisone because it has a boat load of side effects all it’s own.

  3. David Reynolds says:

    Let me recommend the OTC nasal spray Nasacort. After using Afrin for 25 years, I switched to Nasacort 2 days ago and I have had NO rebound congestion. Truly miraculous. My plan is to drop the Nasacort after 2 weeks and hope that I’m free of all nasal sprays.

    • Kathy Looyenga says:

      I tried Nasacort and Flonase and neither one helped so now the doctor put me on Prednisone, a steroid, to beat me addiction to Afrin. I just started it today so I will let you know how it turns out.

    • jeanine says:

      David,
      I went to the dr. last Friday and he told me to use Nasacort. I have been using Afrin for almost 3 years. How often do you use the Nasacort? I’ve been using it for about a week and I am up all night with congestion. Please help. I want to stick with this but I am struggling with both sides of my nostrils being totally blocked with NO air allowed through. I am seriously losing my mind. Thanks for any help.
      Jeanine

      • chole says:

        Hi, I had the same problem. Try sinus buster. It works great. Stings a little but opens your nose immediately and causes no rebound. You can use it at night to help you sleep. It can be purchased online or the drugstore.

    • David Reynolds says:

      UPDATE: Nasacort worked great for me. It got me off of the Affrin in 4 days, and after 10 days I also quit the Nasacort. No nasal sprays at all for over 2 months. I’m free.

      • stuffed up & no air in or out says:

        My nose started slamming shut at the same time everyday so started afrin just nightly at first & yes i had to start using more frequently at 12 hours later at first then got more frequent, rebound congestion, then sneezing started & last night this terrible stinging that made eyes cry & nose run & wouldnt get better at all hours later. Today started no afrin, just fluticasone spray & nostrils are partially stuffed up not slammed shut. I can tolerate this if it lasts. So worried ive ruined mucosa & if so the turbinates have to be reduced by surgery? Problem my dentist uses nasal prongs to give gas & i always brought afrin to open nostrils, so what now? In high school i weaned off afrin by spraying only one nostril while other healed & breathed through healed side while other side healed. Now i am way worse & so will completely stop afrin, use fluticasone & hope that im over this soon! It does not explain the reason why my nose slammed shut in the first place however! Good luck to you all!

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  5. Mandy says:

    I suffered from afrin addiction during my first pregnancy. I get pregnancy rhinitis and it was horrible! Not only was my belly huge and making it difficult to breathe but my nose was stuffed up. After I delivered my son it was gone within a day or two. I was able to quit it cold turkey without and tapering needed. I am pregnant again 4 years later with twins and my congestion seems to be getting worse as I near the end. I swear by the Neti pot and use it several times a day. But tonight I have that thought…just one spray! I will breathe well and finally sleep. I don’t know what to do!! I am scared of addiction, yet I am panicked I cant breathe. I wish there was a safe substitute.

    • brittany landry says:

      So your congestion went away after you gave birth? How many time a day did you use it. Im in the exact same boat. I want to stop using it so bad.

    • Amanda says:

      I am 28 weeks pregnant with Twins. My Pregnancy Rhinitis started in March and I have depended on Afrin since. It is to the point the Afrin is no longer working and I am completely stopped up. I’m going through a bottle a week for relief. Hoping this gets better after I give birth. Completely miserable.

      • Katrina says:

        Hello. I was first addicted to decongested nasal spray for 14 years and quit in 1999. I used about 2-3 bottles a week. I would have a bottle every where. I became addicted to it … Again last October due to a really bad cold. It’s been 8 months using it and finally June 21, I said NO MORE. I was using it about every 15 minutes and my nose was swelling and I was sneezing non stop, severe head congestion and the nasal spray just quit working for me. I thought, I quit once, I can do it again. I knew what was in store for me… Rough times. I am about to tell you step by step on how to quit COLD TURKEY. That was the only way I could do it. I believe in you… You can do this! It will be HORRIBLE for the first 4-5 days but it’s well worth it. HERE ARE MY STEPS TO FREEDOM
        1. Throw every single bottle of nasal spray down the drain…. NOW
        2. I chose to quit at 3:00pm in the afternoon…. Doesn’t matter what time
        3. Worst time is at night. Fill a huge glass of ice water by your bed. Have some lip balm, ice water, lots of pillows, a fan, medicated menthol rub, and ibuprofen. Your nose will go through rebound, wanting that nasal spray. Your nose will completely close as if it’s cement. Your eyes will feel pressure and you will have a pounding headache. You will be plain miserable and will want to garb a bottle… But there isn’t any because you threw it away. Thank god.
        4. Stack the pillows high when you sleep so your head is elevated. Apply lip balm because you will be mouth breathing and your lips will dry out. Take about 4 ibuprofen and 1 sudafed. Sometimes sudafed can keep you up, so take it earlier around 7:00. Apply the mentholated chest rub inside each nostril and smear it under your nose. You will be waking up every 2 hours, choking and hardly able to swallow. Drink water and apply more balm. You may not be able to sleep the first night, I couldn’t.
        5. The next day, drink a lot of water. Do not give in!!!!

        Day 3, you will still be breathing through your mouth at night. Drink a lot of water during the day. DO NOT USE ANY NATURAL NASAL SPRAYS OR SINUS BUSTERS until after day 6. If you do it too soon, your nose will react horribly, stuff up even more.m

        Day 4, it will still be rough but at least you will get some relief periodically with one nostril opening at a time. You will still be tempted to grab nasal spray but don’t!

        Day 5, is much much better. You are breathing now and having good sleep at night. You sleep on your side and it seems like that nostril that your laying on will stuff up. I slept on my back. You can introduce the sinus buster (12$) at Walgreens or simply saline. I use simply saline menthol. Completely natural and do not get natural nasal sprays that contain benzo blah blah blah …this is a preservative that also causes rebound congestion. Read all labels.

        Day 6, you are completely off of the nasal spray! Be proud! Do not ever go back and “use” when you get a cold. Your nose will react and you will be hooked again.

        I am now on day 13 of being “clean” and feels great. I have no more headaches and my blood pressure is lower. Remember, decongestants are vasoconstrictors so can cause headaches and elevated blood pressure.

        Ashamed to say but I am a nurse practitioner and I teach rebound congestion to my patients all the time. I hope this helps all of you. I know how you feel but if I can get off this, you can too. Be strong!!! You can do this!!!!!!

  6. courtney hansford says:

    This article and yall’s comments give me hope! I have been using Vicks 12 hour nasal spray 2-3 times a day for about 2 years and I have decided today to quit! I heard it could be addicting but the results were so amazing, I even have told my friends how great it works and they have started using it too. Hopefully we can all stop this habit and quit spending 10$ everytime on this crap! Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Doug Owen says:

    Thought I would try using this board more as a support group for my quitting. I have used nasal spray (generic from HEB grocery store) for 13 years. I got to the point that I was having to use it at least every 3 hours and would wake up at night to use it. I would sneeze probably 75 to 100 times a day and my nose hurt a lot! I am doing the tapering off method and am on my 4th day. There can’t be much actual nasal spray in my bottle now because I have maintained same level by adding saline. This morning when I woke up I was somewhat clear (60%)then all the sudden one nostril got plugged tight. I did the saline rinse, took 2 motrin (OTC) and used my diluted solution. It took 2 hours for my nose to clear out back to 60%. I am committed to quitting and will repost on here throughout the process.

    • Doug says:

      I am now on day 5 and things are better. I am still using my nasal spray but I think it straight saline now. I do still get some rebound congestion and at times it can be pretty bothersome but a couple of blasts with the saline and I get relief. I am sleeping through the night now which is a very big deal for me because I was getting up every 2-3 hours for spray. My sneezing is also almost gone compared to 75-100 sneezes a day and I am no longer sniffling constantly either.

  8. Itchychris says:

    I battled with nasal spray addictiction for per 10 years! I was scared into doing something about it by the thought of being in a car accident or being rendered unconscious somehow, and I’d choke to death because I wasn’t able to pimp my nostrils full of spray!

    So I did the only thing I knew how: cold turkey. It hurt like a SOB, and I slept poorly for a few weeks, but the symptoms did eventually go away. It was rough going, but I shared my problem with those around me and they gave me tremendous support. I stayed strong, even though I wanted to ‘hit the bottle’ at every opportunity.

    My message is: it’s hard, but not impossible! I am happier and freer now I kicked that stuff. Don’t think about it… just throw that bottle out and go for it. Worked for me :)

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  10. Allie says:

    So happy I found this site! You guys have really given me some hope.
    I’ve been using nose spray since freshman year of highschool and I just graduated. Yikes! I just had an ENT appointment today and he prescribed me some steroid medicine to help with the rebound congestion. Not sure what it’s called though.
    I’m actually really hoping and praying this will go smoothly and I can stop wasting money on Afrin!
    I use it so much, it’s ridiculous. I’d wake up and have to wait for it to work before I could go back to sleep. So my sleeping pattern isn’t so well.
    But I have a good feeling this will work. Wish me luck!
    Thank you all for the encouraging words here!!

  11. Allie says:

    So happy I found this site! You guys have really given me some hope.
    I’ve been using nose spray since freshman year of highschool and I just graduated. Yikes! I just had an ENT appointment today and he prescribed me some steroid medicine to help with the rebound congestion. Not sure what it’s called though.
    I’m actually really hoping and praying this will go smoothly and I can stop wasting money on Afrin!
    I use it so much, it’s ridiculous. I’d wake up and have to wait for it to work before I could go back to sleep. So my sleeping pattern isn’t so well.
    But I have a good feeling this will work. Wish me luck!
    Thank you all for the encouraging words here!!

  12. jlo1965 says:

    I only used Afrin for about a month. I only started using it because of the medications my doctor had me on side effect was congestion. I’ve not taken Afrin for two months now. I’ve been on oral steroids twice and I’ve tried Naselcort and flonaise. I still have horrible congestion. I also suffer from sleep apnea and have not been able to use my C-pap in over a two month. I sleep sitting up. I went to an ENT. He said my sinuses where fine. That it may be auto immune. I never in my life thought something like this could happen. I’m not really a candidate for surgery. Is there anything else I can do. I’ve become suicidal over this. The not being able to sleep. I tried a product called Xlear it has Xylitol in it. It did provide a tiny bit of relief. I also have a cool mist humidifier. I’ve been to the ER for exhaustion 3 times because of this. I’ve had a cat scan of my sinus. It’s been scoped. I am wating on the results of the blood tests. Doctors in this small town I live are not very helpful. It’s like I have no feeling in my nose. Everywhere I’ve read it says 5 to 7 days for it to correct itself. It’s been almost 60 days. Is there anything else I can do ? The ENT did say my mucus looked waxy. He did not say anything other than that.

    • jenia says:

      I know this site is a support group to stop noise spray, however you notice the reason people need help stopping it is because it works SO well. In your case maybe you need to use afrin. Your taking suicide to get relief to breathe. Afrin works. Ive been using it 20+ years. The only problem using it is it’s extremely addictive, stopping causes nose swelling and you can’t breathe again however it’s not dangerous to your health that I’m aware of. No posts from anyone about problems it’s caused other than the swelling comes back and drives you crazy so you need more. So sorry to make anyone angry but no one can argue that you would be able to breathe. If afrin was dangerous I’d wouldn’t say use it but sounds like relief vs alternative of suicide. Ive assumed you meant to word suicidal to get across how insane it’s driving you. Good luck

      • Charlie says:

        Jenia…..you don’t know what you are talking about. I used nasal spray for 48 years knowing that at some point something would go wrong, but I couldn’t stop. Well, 2 years ago my nose starting hurting so much that it was very painful to breath the air in. Then I started having trouble with my eyes. They were dry & burning when they were open, so I had to try & keep them closed as much as possible, also had to start using special drops to deal with that. I went to my doctor & of course, it was all because of the nasal spray. I have damaged my eyes & nose and have been trying to seriously deal with getting off of the spray. It is a daily struggle, but totally necessary as there is no doubt that it has done permanent damage & will do more if it is not stopped.

      • Katrina says:

        Read my posting

  13. Allie says:

    So, I got the medicine from my doctor. He gave me an antibiotic for my mucous, a steroid spray (Flonase), and tapering steroid pills. 6 on day 1. 5 on day 2. 4 on day 3. 3 on day 4. 2 on day 5. and 1 on day 6.
    Hope it works!!

  14. Kathy says:

    I had been using afrin for about 8 years. I had so much rebound congestion I was sniffling all the time and having horrible sinus headaches. I talked to my doctor about possible treatments to transition off the “juice” as she referred to it. She prescribed Flonase and it has been very effective. I was using afrin every 3 to 4 hours I carried it with me all the time. The first day on Flonase I was able to go 24 hours without using afrin and my congestion was minimal. It’s been a few days now and I have thrown away all my afrin and find myself using less and less Flonase. Oral decongestants also helped ease the congestion during the first 48 hours.

  15. steve says:

    Been on Afrin for 5-6 months now for allergies, never realized it was addictive. I only use it at night, one spray in each nostral. Lately, I’ve had bad head pressure, wondering if this is in any way because of the afrin? Anyone else have this? If I stop the afrin will it stop? Thanks.

  16. BB says:

    Thanks to the many great suggestions. While I am not addicted to Afrin, I did have to resort to using it due to a sinus/ear infection. Normally, I just use a saline spray (distilled water 8oz, 1/2 t canning salt, 1/4 t baking soda) and use a vicks type inhaler when needed mostly during the night due to constant allergies. The congestion from this recent infection was so bad that the saline plus inhaler did not work. I’ve only sprayed the Afrin in once a day and alternate nostrils. But I am concerned that even this usage may have consequences. So after 10 days, I’m going to stop. I just wanted to let the many users of Afrin know that the preservative Benzalkonium chloride has been shown to cause a rebound effect all by itself (see PubMed). Makes you wonder what the real culprit is in Afrin. Now if we could only find a cure for allergies, life would be good.

  17. Steph says:

    I’ve been addicted for over a year. It all started with some allergies that made me stuffy. I too feel panic when I can’t breathe, so I could never make myself stop. After 6 months, I began sneezing profusely. Somewhere between 10-20 times a day. I had to carry tissues with me everywhere I went and I was buying a new bottle of Afrin at least once a week. About 3 weeks ago, my right nostril plugged completely up and even the Afrin wouldn’t open it back up. I had a panic attack. After about 5 hours and 100 squirts of Afrin, it finally opened again. A week later, it happened again, this time lasting 24 hours. I was miserable and panicky. Three days ago, it happened again and I dropped everything and went to the doctor and begged for help with my addiction. He confirmed that it was all due to over-using Afrin and prescribed me Flonase and a steroid. He also told me to use a hypertonic saline solution (NeilMed makes one) to rinse my nose out. It has now been a 2 and 1/2 days since I touched the stuff. It hasn’t been easy, and I’m not fully cured, but I can breathe without any Afrin for about 60% of my day. The steroid definitely helps a little. Night time is the worst and I’m not sleeping well yet, but during the day I feel SO much better and I can tell I’m on the road to recovery. 60% improvement in two days isn’t bad, if you ask me. If you’re having this problem, go see your doctor. Its worth it. Good luck!

  18. Araceli says:

    Hello everyone so I just wanted to update you with my story. On September 16th 2013 I quit cold turkey and the first 3 days were hell. Eventually I got better and so far I have not use any nasal spray at all. Not to sleep or at any other time. I have to say tho that at night time one of my nostrils clogs partially or sometimes completely, but even though I can breath good. One more thing my nose membranes are still swollen and honestly I have not yet been to the doctor which I know I have to do. I promise that as soon as I go to the Doc I will let you guys know. Good luck everyone xoxoxo

  19. Mara says:

    I tried the one nostril at a time and it worked!!! I used Afrin for 10 years after being very sick and I will NEVER use it again!! I did use some OTC saline spray and that along with some oral decongestants and it took about a week and a half but I am happy to say I have used NO spray of any kind for over a week now!! I feel better than I have in years especially when I wake up overnight or in the morning unclogged!!

  20. Johnny Stucknose says:

    I carefully read most of the posted comments on here and gradually pieced together my own custom-made action plan, and it worked like a charm with very little suffering. Unfortunately I couldn’t get any outside help from a doctor, so I took my time and thought things through before jumping off the edge of the cliff, so to speak.

    1. Quit Afrin and get addicted to 4-way instead. It’ll be easier to quit when you’re ready; 4-way is less powerful but also less destructive, therefore, its rebound
    congestion won’t be as horrific.

    2. Start paying more attention to which nostril is active, i.e., more open. The changing of the guards happens every 1 to 4 hours or so. Get into the habit of using 4-way only on the side that is inactive/closed, since the other side doesn’t really need it anyway.

    3. Make an all-natural spray, so that when the time comes for you to quit, you’ll have
    a backup spray that won’t really work, but, it’ll help heal the damaged tissue a little faster:

    - 1 cup sterilized water
    - 1 tsp sea salt
    - 1/8 tsp baking soda
    - a few drops of honey
    - 1 tbsp of Alkalol
    - about 5-10 drops of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
    - 1/2 tsp xyltol (a sugar that kills bacteria and balances ph)
    - optional: a pea-sized dab of hydrocortisone cream

    Bring water to a boil, then remove from heat and whisk in all of the above ingredients, except for the hydrocortisone; wait for the water to cool down a bit before adding. Fill up some of your leftover spray bottles with this mix, and also make a half-and-half 4-way out of this.

    4. Handling stress: The best would be for you to get a doctor to prescribe you something strong-and-fun, such as Ativan, or whatever anti-anxiety pills you can get your hands on, plus some really strong sleeping pills. I couldn’t see a doctor so I had to do whatever I could on my own:

    1- Allergy tablets. Avoid the “non-drowsy” kind. Get drowsy. Drowsiness is a great way to relieve stress.
    2- Sudafed (real pseudoephedrine)
    3- L-tryptophan, double the suggested amount
    4- Relora, double the suggested amount
    5- L-theanine, double the suggested amount
    6- 5-HTP, normal dose
    7- Melatonin, quadruple the suggested amount, taken throughout the day and night
    8- Valerian root, lots
    9- Good doses of vitamins B and C
    10- OTC sleep aid, i.e., diphenhydramine, taken at night to help with sleep.

    Managing stress once you decide to quit is important. Most people will want to skip this step because they feel guilty for having gotten addicted to Afrin in the first place. Most addicts secretly believe that they deserve to pay via pain and suffering because they naively presume their addiction is proof of moral weakness. This is why you’ll hear all kinds of macho talk about going cold turkey and just-do-it-you-weak-loser attitudes.

    It’s important to get over the guilt, because guilt weakens the immune system and slows down healing, plus it leads to this unconscious seeking out of suffering as a form of punishment. Realize, an Afrin addiction is not evidence of moral weakness. It’s just evidence that you like breathing. You like to breathe, do you not? You especially like breathing through your nose, which is even better because the nose filters the air for you. The only thing you’re really guilty of is not knowing everything. You didn’t know Afrin was such an evil force. You couldn’t have known, not really. Sure, the label says don’t use it for more than a few days, but the label neglects to mention the whole story as well, does it not? Therefore, the worse thing that an Afrin addict could be accused of is that they did not spend hours researching what Afrin is, what it can do, and so on before they tried it. The naive child in you trusted the pharmaceutical industry and just assumed something like, “if this wasn’t safe then they wouldn’t sell it.” So, you didn’t get educated beforehand. Which is dumb, but not really something that warrants self-condemnation and the desire to torture one’s self with the strict cold turkey method. Notice Afrin doesn’t have any testimonials on the bottle. From the viewpoint of compassion, your addiction to nose spray is about as morally depraved as the innocent child who eats too much candy. It’s a “so what?”

    When you can’t breathe through your nose, the brain goes into panic mode because it knows that you can’t survive nearly as well by just breathing through your mouth. The nose is a very effective air filter, so it makes sense that the brain would launch a mild panic attack when the nose is blocked. This intense stress doesn’t mean you’re weak, lazy, stupid, or morally corrupt at all. It just means that the brain knows how important it is to filter air before it gets into the lungs. So the brain is doing you a favor by going, “Get this handled asap.”

    Alright, so the brain is going to launch mini panic attacks, for good reason, and if I were you I’d consider stockpiling whatever anti-stress stuff you can get your hands on before you decide that it’s time to quit your nasal spray. It’s not really the blocked nose that causes suffering, it’s actually the stress -about- the blocked nose that is the source of misery. The blocked nose, of its own, doesn’t cause suffering. The suffering is merely from the brain’s resistance to it. Therefore, it makes sense to lessen this suffering via anti-stress pills, at least for the duration of the rebound congestion period. Also notable is that things like melatonin are extremely good for you and therefore help the body to heal the addiction faster.

    5. On the day that you decide to quit, be very busy. Stay active. Keep your heart rate up and your blood pumping, as this will allow you to breathe even during the worst of the rebound congestion phase. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, as long as you’re on your feet all day. I spent most of Day 1 running errands, mainly grocery shopping and cooking and cleaning. You’ll notice that when you stop moving, within one minute the intense congestion is back. So that awareness keep you up and running. I was up at 9 AM and didn’t stop doing things until well past midnight, at which point I was exhausted and ready for a good night’s sleep. I took the sleeping pills and just when they were knocking me out… just when I could’t handle staying awake anymore… I quickly used some 4-way; just enough to breathe well and fall asleep. (I diluted it to about 50% using some of the all-natural spray made in step 3.) First, I dunked a Q-tip into the diluted 4-way, and I gently “painted” the solution into the side of my nose that was the most stuffed. It was so stuffed that even getting the Q-tip in all the way was difficult. It would have been pointless to spray the solution because it wouldn’t have gotten in, and what I’m trying to do here with the Q-tip method is to use as little 4-way as possible to get my nose to open. At first, it opened slightly, so then I Q-tipped it some more, and when it was finally about half-open I sprayed it in, twice. I also allowed the other, less congested side of my nose to enjoy a spray or two. Once both sides were nicely open, I went to sleep.

    6. Despite taking a huge amount of sleeping pills, I still woke up after only two hours of sleep. So, I Q-tipped my nose back open, then followed by a spray or two, then took one more sleeping pill and quickly fell back asleep. I woke up twice more, and used the diluted 4-way again. And, when I finally woke up for good, I gave myself one more small dose of relief so that I could enjoy my morning coffee, and then I stopped using it altogether. Once again, I got busy doing chores, cleaning, walking to the grocery store to pick up a few more things, and basically just making sure to be on my feet all day and all evening. (Aside from being able to breathe better during activity, I also wanted the distraction.) On this day, the rebound congestion was still pretty bad, but it was already noticeably better. Then, at around midnight, I gobbled some more sleeping pills and had a similar night again, carefully using as little 4-way as possible, just enough to open the airways and fall back asleep.

    7. The next day I could almost breathe. I didn’t need to be ultra-busy. I could actually sit down and work on the computer or watch a movie. Breathing gets better and better, until finally, it becomes possible to actually quit the night doses of 4-way. Or not. As long as it’s used with great caution and restraint, rebound congestion is unlikely.

  21. Hi there, after reading this awesome post i am as well glad to share my knowledge
    here with colleagues.

  22. Arlene says:

    My congested, useless sinuses have taken control of my life. ENT said just stop Afrin and life will be fine. No advice or meds given to accomplish this “just stop” order, as though was as simple as cutting down on broccoli consumption. I will try the various suggestions here but for me, blocked breathing makes it impossible to eat, taste, smell, sleep, concentrate, think, have any quality of life. Had great hopes doc would have ways to help, so devastated and hopeless.

  23. brittany landry says:

    Hi. Im in the same exact boat. Im having a c section on thursday. Did you say that actually helped with the congestion and afrin addiction? I need to get off this nasty stuff. You can find me on fb as well. Thank you

  24. irma says:

    Hi everyone…. has anyone thought of having Balloon Sinuplasty? Ive been reading on this and I was wondering if anyone has done it and how permanent this is???

  25. VanessaBean says:

    Reading all the posts has been great! The thing I would mention is that Prednisone is a very, very powerful anti-inflammatory that works but not without blowback. Makes you feel really good, reduces the inflammation EVERYWHERE and then 3-4 days in you feel like absolute hell. At least that was my experience as well as a friend who took it for Crohn’s Disease. Also makes you ravenously hungry. My side effects in the blowback stage were so unsettling that I won’t use Prednisone again.

    I’ve had an addiction to Afrin for almost 20 years off and on. I started using the Ayr nasal flush (saline, and much more forceful than a nettie pot) along with Flonase and a wonderful antihistamine, Astelin (stops all your sneezing, it’s a spray, so doesn’t make you sleepy like pills). None of these things cured my chronic nasal congestion, but….I did feel better about it. ;) So now I’m going to get the Alkalol and Nasacort and try again to get off the spray.

    My ENT said saline nasal flushes or nettie pots help nasal and sinus soft tissue to heal, so going to keep that up because it physically removes the allergens too. Those, as long as we live on this planet, aren’t going away.

  26. CACowgirl says:

    I am so happy to find this. I am 14 hours in Cold Turkey. Just knowing that others have been thru this helps!! Wish me luck!!

  27. California_Cowgirl says:

    I am 48 hours into a Cold Turkey quit. I have congestion but mostly one nostril at a time. The 1st 24 hours were the worst and sleep gesbetter each night. I’d I can do this so can you! I am so happy to find this sight and learn I am not the only one to go thru this!! :)

  28. Chris says:

    I would love to get off the Afrin, but the problem is that i have such severe allergies to everything that simply the only way to sleep is with afrin. I would need to take care of the allergies first before one can actually quit the Afrin.

    I guess the best suggestion would be a nose wash.

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  33. Angela says:

    I am so happy that I found this website!! I actually went and bought Nasacort OTC..2 days ago.. The first day I used it around 1pm, and I used my afrin only 3 or 4 times until the am..(which is crazy bc I can go through about 3-4 bottles a week!) And then yesterday I used the Nasacort again at 1pm, and I used my afrin maybe like 5 times from then until about 10 pm. But I woke up this morning and realized I have not used any afrin the whole night, and I woke up and could actually breathe out of my nose!!! This hasn’t happened in probably 5 years! So the Nasacort seems to be pretty effective, I am also going to take IB Profin if it seems to be more stuffy, to help with inflammation.. I will post back any updates!!

    • Angela says:

      I am so happy to tell everyone that it has been a whole week since I have used my afrin and any other spray!! The nasocort helped me get off of Afrin! I still used the afrin while I used the nasocort… But since this is a steroid it helps with inflammation and it brought down the swelling so I did not even need to use my afrin as much! While I know this route may not help everyone, hopefully it does somebody! I was so ready to be done with this bc I start nursing school next month and didn’t want the stress/embarrassment/ annoyance/spending $$/ect…. that comes along with nose spray addiction! I am so grateful for this site!!!

  34. Jackie says:

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  35. Andrew says:

    I must say I was very nervous after reading everyone’s comments. I have been addicted to OTC nasal spray for a year and a half, and started loosing sleep over it. I knew there was no way I could sleep and ween myself off the stuff. I was using phenylephrine at least a 1 fl oz every 3 days. I read alot about Nasacort, and tried a bottle… This by itself did absolutely nothing, I was frustrated and decided to use both. I would use the recommended 1 spray in each nostril in morning, 1 at dinner time, and use the phenylephrine as needed. The first 3 days, not much change. But by day 4, I was noticing a big reduction in the Phenylephrine. After 10 days now I am using just the Nasacort in morning and evening, with maybe 1 spray in 1 nostril a day now. I am hoping I have this licked

  36. Sue says:

    I had a major dependency on nasal spray that lasted for about 3 months. It has been about a month and a half since I’ve used Afrin, and I still experience some nasal discomfort, but I’m still able to breathe OK without the use of nasal spray, but still feel some pressure and mild constriction of my nasal passages. The way I weaned myself off of Afrin, was by using a saline spray such as Ayr and using a Neti pot. Both would provide temporary relief…but it was super hard for me NOT to reach for my bottle of Afrin! I did slip up a few times, but eventually I started using it less and less, and eventually managed to stop using it completely. The worst thing about my dependency was the fact that I totally lost my sense of smell, and food tasted weird for a while. Its been slow going, but I’m finally starting to be able to smell things again…too bad its the STINKY smells like the cat box, and B.O….but still, I’m glad that I’m smelling again! Its only a matter of time before I’m able to smell flowers and sweet smells again.

  37. AJ says:

    I’m free. After being totally dependent on nose spray for over 12 years, I am free. I have read this site, word for word, looking for help, inspiration and other people’s success or failures, to encourage me. I have been using nose spray since I was a young child as having a stuffy nose causes such anxiety and discomfort for me that it becomes terrifyingly intolerable. I have a fear of not being able to breathe hence my affrin addiction. I had a bottle in my desk drawer, my car, my nightstand, next to my bathroom sink, and in my purse, so it is impossible to know how many bottles I was going through in a week but it was a lot. I would buy 8 of the 20 ml bottles from Sam’s Club once a month. Always sneezing, always blowing my nose, sometimes it would take an hour of blowing and squirting to get my nose clear. I could never sleep late undisturbed because I would need more. My nose stopped producing normal mucus and instead I had atypical mucus … Hard to describe, but definitely bad. I also believe that my septum is perforated from so much abuse. About 1 1/2 weeks ago, I finally got so tired of my squirt, burn, blow, sneeze, repeat routine before bed. I decided I needed to quit. The fear of ever needing emergency surgery and Dr.s’s unable to effectively use oxygen on me due to total and complete blockage, was horrifying. So, I didn’t squirt the next morning. As the affrin wore off I found a 2 year expired bottle of 4-Way (psuedoephedrine hcl). I used that instead of the affrin about every 1-2 hours to ease the rebound blockage for a couple days. I emptied small amounts of the 4-Way into a almost empty affrin bottle. When I started to be able to go longer between 4-Way squirts I realized that this method was working. After about 5 days I started to dilute the 4-Way with saline. The stuffiness I got from that dilution was so minimal that I was barely bothered. After 1 week I was able to stop the 4-Way/saline squirts altogether. I had a little anxiety while sleeping that first night without anything, but I made it. I am now breathing on my own comfortably. My nose feels better. I am not constantly blowing or sneezing, and my nose has began to make normal mucus again. I am so happy and relieved and proud of myself for breaking free of this horrific addiction. I am scared about cold and flu season but I have to take it one day at a time. I thank Ken Savage for this site and for the research he has provided. It has helped me tremendously!

  38. 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.

  39. Val says:

    Looking foward to your update!

  40. 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.

  41. cat says:

    Chris, definitely want to hear your results!

  42. abby says:

    hey chris! how’s it going?

  43. svolan117 says:

    read my comment above yours man

  44. 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!

  45. hookedonafrin says:

    did this ever work?

  46. 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

  47. Pam says:

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

  48. bill gimbel says:

    sinus buster made it worse for me

  49. 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

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 […]

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