It can be very hard when you have a cold or a cough during recovery because it can be hard to tell which medications to avoid and which to take. There are plenty of prescription and over-the-counter medications that contain mood-altering chemicals as well as alcohol. It is important to be careful and consult with a doctor about your drug history when it comes to treating your cold to avoid relapsing back to bad habits.
If you are in early recovery and you get sick, you can develop cross-addiction. A cross-addiction is when someone struggling with addiction exposes their brain to new chemicals or drugs and develops a new addiction to that substance. It is important to read medication labels carefully since there can be secondary ingredients that have addictive qualities. Avoid pain, stimulants, muscle relaxers, or sedatives as narcotics and psychoactive medications come from opium. Pain and muscle relaxer medications to avoid are fentanyl, hydrocodone, Demerol, morphine sulfate, codeine, oxycodone, and others.
You should also avoid prescription antihistamines like Zyrtec, Claritin D, Allegra D, and others with decongestants since they are mood altering and sedating. It is best to avoid Dextromethorphan since it is a weak narcotic agonist. Many over-the-counter medications have chemical ingredients that mimic the effects of addictive drugs which can confuse the brain. Remember that those in recovery will react to these drugs differently than other people would. Those in early recovery are sensitive to mood altering drugs such as Benadryl, Allegra D, Claritin D, Afrin Nasal Spray, Sudafed, Alka-Seltzer, Nyquil, Dayquil, Sucrets DM cough formula, and Tylenol.
Imodium AD is an over-the-counter medication to treat upset stomachs but should not be taken in recovery for there is a small amount of alcohol. Certain soft-gels, capsules, and topical products have ethyl alcohol. It is best to avoid Tylenol with Codeine Elixir, Cheracol D cough syrup, Excedrin PM Liquid, Tylenol Extra Strength Liquid, and others. Nasal sprays like Flonase, Nasonex, and Antabuse also contain alcohol and should be avoided if you previously struggled with substance abuse. Always double check the labels on medicines and never be afraid to talk to someone if you there is any confusion. Getting a cold or a cough is temporary discomfort and should not get in the way of recovery.
Smarmore Castle Private Clinic in County Louth, near Dublin was founded in 1988 as a residential rehabilitation hospital treating people suffering from drug and alcohol purposes. Smarmore Castle believes in helping patients lead a life of abstinence through 12 Step programs, detox and medical treatment, psychotherapy, and complementary therapies. For more information, please call 041-214-5111. For those who live out of the country, the international number is 00353-41-214-5111.
Last updated & clinically assessed 30 March, 2022