Nasal Congestion as a Symptom of Addiction

Nasal congestion can come about due to a number of reasons including allergies, flu or the common cold, and some types of medication. Nasal congestion can also be associated with addicts who snort their drugs, and, as such, can serve as an indicator of addiction.

Symptoms of nasal congestion include:

  • Runny nose
  • Coughing/sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Postnasal drip

Drug Abuse and Nasal Congestion

Stimulant drugs, such as meth, amphetamines, and cocaine, can be consumed in powder form by snorting it through the nose into the bodily system. This snorting process is known as insufflation. These drugs enter the bloodstream through the mucous membranes that line the nasal cavity. Cocaine insufflation leads to the narrowing of the blood vessels in the body, including those in the nasal cavity. This, and continuous inhalation of the other types of drugs, could lead to irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane, which further leads to nasal congestion. Prolonged nasal inhalation of the drugs could result in more harmful conditions. Nasal congestion is a common symptom of more serious conditions such as a deviated septum, a perforated septum, and non-allergic rhinitis, as well as a facial deformity due to a breakdown of the nasal sidewalls.

A deviated septum occurs when the bridge (septum), that divides the nasal cavity into two nostrils, becomes misaligned. This leads to one nostril being wider than the other. When a hole develops in the bridge, the condition becomes a perforated septum. While nasal congestion is the most common symptom of a deviated septum, other symptoms can include: difficulty breathing, dry nasal passages, nosebleeds, recurrent sinus infections, headaches, and sleeping difficulties. If the septum is perforated, breathing may be accompanied by a whistling sound as air passes through the perforation.

Nasal congestion is also a symptom of non-allergic rhinitis. People with non-allergic rhinitis may develop complications such as sinusitis, sleep apnoea, asthma, inability to smell, and recurring infections.

Treatment for Nasal Congestion

When the cause of the nasal congestion is removed, the condition may go away on its own without the need for medication. However, when the condition has developed into a deviated or perforated septum, surgery becomes necessary to correct the damage. If a deviated or perforated septum is left untreated, you may lose your ability to smell, or suffer from severe breathing problems. The breathing problems range in severity from merely annoying to life threatening.

In order to achieve complete treatment, it is important that the underlying addiction is taken care of. The effects of snorting drugs listed in this article are by no means exhaustive. Medication or surgery will only have an effect for a short amount of time, and if you decide to resume snorting illicit drugs, more conditions will certainly arise. Medical checks are a part of every rehabilitation programme. If you have a condition due to drug inhalation, consult a medical practitioner during the course of your treatment. If you have already had surgery or medication to correct a nasal problem, nor treating your addiction problems alongside it will eventually cause the problem to reoccur.

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