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Acetaminophen Detox & Treatment Services by State

Acetaminophen Detox & Treatment Services by State

Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation Services for Acetaminophen Addiction in the United States

Acetaminophen is found in over the counter pain medication, such as Tylenol and Excedrin. The drug reduces fever and suppresses mild pain. Acetaminophen is used to treat arthritis, headaches, muscle aches, back pain, colds, and fevers. It falls under a class of drugs called analgesics and antipyretics, which reduce symptoms of a fever. In small regulated doses and taken as directed, the drug is not toxic to the body. However, in larger amounts acetaminophen can overwhelm the body’s ability to detoxify itself. Essentially, when it is passed through the liver, it will kill liver cells, damage liver tissue, and cause liver damage. Acetaminophen can be compared to ibuprofen, but this drug is different from how it reduces pain.

Acetaminophen can become addictive when looking at the broader definition of addiction, and a few key terms. The regular use or daily use of the drug does create a tolerance within the body. Tolerance is caused by regular exposure to any type of drug. Over time the body develops a resistance to the drug, and larger dosages are required, more frequently to maintain levels within the body. This is one of the most common side effects with any type of drug use. Moreover, when you start to take larger and more frequent doses of the drug, this is what leads to overdose.

An overdose with acetaminophen is possible, and there are several side effects. The primary overdose effects involve liver damage and death caused by drug toxicity. Like many other types of drugs, mixing acetaminophen with alcohol does increase the risk for an overdose. With extended use of acetaminophen, the body does develop a dependency for it. The body becomes accustomed to the amount of acetaminophen within it. Drug dependency does create withdrawal symptoms, and despite the withdrawal symptoms from acetaminophen not being severe, they can become problematic. Withdrawal symptoms can include migraines, headaches, vomiting, nausea, and cravings for the drug. Over the counter pain medications such as these are commonly abused. They are readily available for purchase and are easy to get.

The risk of abuse is quite high, and once a tolerance develops, the user must continue to take more to manage this tolerance. This leads to problems with the liver, and severe liver damage can occur. Symptoms of liver damage include yellowing of skin or eyes, nausea, pain in the abdomen, loss of appetite, dark urine, and stool, and unusual bleeding and bruising. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, acetaminophen addiction causes about 60,000 overdoses each year in the United States. Acetaminophen addiction requires the proper help and treatment, such as a detox, and some type of outpatient therapy. There are always underlying issues connected to any drug or alcohol addiction, and therapy helps users find these issues. Many of the drug and alcohol treatment programs within the United States help people who are abusing over the counter pain medications.



Dr. Rohit is a Diplomate of the American Society of Addiction Medicine who has been supervising successful detox for over 13 years.


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