Addiction treatment is available to those who have gotten addicted to loperamide. It may be necessary for some individuals to go through a period of drug detox. The detox addresses their withdrawal symptoms. But regardless, going to drug rehab is recommended. This medication might be sold over-the-counter, but that does not make it safe or easy to stop.

Most people are aware of what Imodium is used for, but they may not realize that it can be addictive. We want to help people understand the dangers of loperamide so they are better informed. Once they understand the dangers, they can choose to get treatment.

Our alcohol recovery program allows you to keep work and family commitments while focusing on your sobriety.

What is Loperamide (Imodium) and What Does it Treat?

Loperamide is an over-the-counter medication used to treat acute diarrhea. It also comes in a prescription form that is a bit stronger for those who have ongoing diarrhea. The prescription form is used with inflammatory bowel disease or IBD.

This medication is known as an antidiarrheal agent. It works by slowing down the flow of fluids and electrolytes into the bowel. It also slows down the movement of the bowel. This can decrease the number of bowel movements a person has.

OTC loperamide or Imodium should be used for a short time. It is designed for acute use only. If symptoms persist, people should discuss the next steps with their doctors.

How do People Abuse Imodium?

Imodium is abused when people take too much than what is recommended. There is no evidence of people snorting crushed pills or using them for injection. They swallow them for one of a few different reasons, which we will discuss below.

Why do People Abuse Loperamide?

Doctors have been warned by Consumer Healthcare Products Association product’s potential abuse. There has been a growing trend where people will use larger doses than what is recommended. There are reasons why this occurs.

At high doses, Imodium can produce a euphoric high. This high is like what people experience when they abuse opioid drugs. Loperamide can activate the body’s opioid receptors.

Many abusers refer to this drug as the “poor man’s methadone”. This is because a lot of people will use it as a way to self-medicate their addiction to opioids. Common opioids such as heroin and prescription painkillers. It is their way of avoiding having to go through a professional detox and rehab program.

What are the Side Effects of Loperamide?

Most people who take or abuse loperamide will experience relief from diarrhea symptoms. But there are other side effects that can occur that are much less pleasant, such as:

  • Flatulence
  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach cramps
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Problems with urination

These effects are often multiplied with higher doses of the drug.

The Short-Term Effects

Imodium can be a dangerous drug to abuse even in the short-term. People who take it in higher doses than normal even for just a short period of time may experience:

  • Euphoria similar to opioids.
  • A feeling of relaxation.
  • Excessive bloating.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Constipation.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Severe stomach pain.

The Long-Term Effects

A drug’s effects can become more dangerous the longer it is abused. This is the case with loperamide. Overdosing on this drug can occur when people take it at higher doses than they normally would. It can also cause the following long-term effects:

  • Heart irregularities.
  • Urine retention.
  • Bowel obstructions.
  • Central nervous system depression.
  • Respiratory depression.

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How Do People Get Addicted to Imodium?

An addiction to Imodium can occur with continued use at higher-than-normal doses. To experience its euphoric effects, they may need to take a large number of tablets. Experts believe that between 50 – 400 pills a day are needed to achieve that high.

This addiction is like what people experience when they are addicted to opioids. In excess amounts, the drug produces extra dopamine in the brain. That extra dopamine is what causes euphoria. People lose their brain’s ability to synthesize this chemical over time. The result is that they may not feel like themselves. Just to feel normal, they have to abuse Imodium again.

Once a person feels as though they have to have Imodium to feel okay, they are most likely addicted to the drug

Some people will even have severe side effects. The side effects include seizures and falling into a coma. When this drug is mixed with alcohol, breathing issues and even death can occur.

Signs of Addiction

Because loperamide is an OTC drug, most people think it is safe for them to use and abuse. This is not the case. If drugs are abused for a long time, they can cause addiction and dependence.

Some signs a person might be addicted to loperamide include:

  • Taking this drug once it is no longer needed.
  • Taking this medication for longer than it was prescribed or recommended.
  • Needing to take larger amounts of the drug in order to get the same effects.
  • Becoming obsessed with loperamide and having it dominate one’s thoughts throughout the day.
  • Finding that they cannot stop even if they have the desire to.
  • Falsifying symptoms to a doctor in order to get a prescription.
  • Using this drug instead of opioids in order to get high.
  • Displaying sudden changes in behavior, hygiene and appearance.

There are other symptoms of addiction to look for as well, and they include:

  • Continuing to use a drug even if it is resulting in health problems.
  • Taking risks to obtain or use the drug.
  • Giving up activities the person once enjoyed in favor of using.
  • Denying that the person has a drug abuse problem.
  • Mixing loperamide with other drugs to get different or greater effects.

Overdosing on Loperamide: Is it Possible?

It is important to follow directions when taking this drug. There is a potential of taking too much loperamide at one time. When this happens an overdose is a result. This comes as a surprise to a lot of people who think of this drug as safe because it is available over-the-counter.

When taken in large quantities, loperamide has a lot of risks, including the risk of:

  • Kidney damage.
  • Cognitive damage.
  • Cardiovascular damage.

Some of the symptoms of a loperamide overdose include:

  • A rapid or irregular pulse.
  • Problems urinating.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Fainting spells and dizziness.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Constipation.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Drowsiness or becoming unconscious.

No one knows how much loperamide is needed for a person to overdose until it happens. By doubling a normal dose people can experience serious complications. These can even be overdose symptoms. Others can take it without any concerns that they have taken too much. This is why it is so important to adhere to what the packaging says about dosing.

Recovering from Loperamide Addiction

Loperamide addiction is very real, and treatment is often needed to help people get off this drug. This may mean going through a period of detox and rehab in order to get the help that is necessary to stop.

Drug Detox

The purpose of drug detox programs is to address the withdrawal symptoms. People experience these when stopping the use of a drug. Many of the symptoms people have are like what they expect during opioid withdrawal. They can include:

  • Muscle aches and pains.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Runny eyes and nose.
  • Cravings for loperamide.
  • Agitation.
  • Insomnia or other sleep disturbances.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Excessive sweating.

Detoxification can shorten withdrawal periods and aid in recovery. Some people may be tapered off this drug slowly to lessen the severity of withdrawal. Medical detox is recommended for people who are addicted to loperamide. It allows them to be monitored during recovery. Medications may be prescribed to help with their symptoms. Alternative treatments such as Holistic detox can also be helpful.

Drug Rehab

Once the person has detoxed off Imodium, they are ready to move on to the next phase of recovery. This is drug rehab. During this period, they will undergo both individual and group therapy. This will address the cause of their substance abuse problem.

That is the goal of drug rehabilitation. It will help determine what caused a person to get addicted and then treat that cause. With Imodium addiction, the individual could be addicted for several reasons including:

When a person is using a drug to deal with mental health symptoms it is known as a co-occurring disorder. It means they have a psychological issue. This is an issue that is driving their substance abuse problems. This can be associated with the abuse of loperamide.

Dual diagnosis treatment is recommended for anyone with a co-occurring disorder. It treats their symptoms and the addiction at the same time. It also gives them a better chance of long-term recovery.

Our alcohol recovery program allows you to keep work and family commitments while focusing on your sobriety.

Modern Recovery Can Help People Who are Addicted to Imodium

At Modern Recovery, we have worked with people with all types of addictions. We have worked with patients addicted to Imodium/loperamide. We know how challenging recovery can be. We aim to make it as easy as possible through professional treatment that has proven to be effective.

The first step is to go through drug detox. We do not offer detoxification services at our facility. We do recognize that this step should not be skipped. Detox referrals are provided to area programs that we have worked with before. During detox, clients can receive the help they need for withdrawal symptoms. Following detox, they are prepared to enter rehab.

Drug rehab at Modern Recovery is offered on an outpatient basis. An intensive outpatient program (IOP) offers a flexible option. Many of our clients appreciate it. They can come to treatment during the evening and continue to work. They can go to school or take care of other responsibilities during the day. Our IOP generally requires attendance at appointments 3-5 times per week.

Many of the people we work with have supportive families and loved ones at home. But some do not. They may live with others who also use drugs and alcohol, or they may even be in abusing home situations. In cases like these, we highly recommend our sober living program. Staying in a sober living home offers many benefits. It is a healthy place to recover in which people are surrounded by others who have the same mindset they do. Also, people often choose to travel for rehab, and they may wish to stay in our sober living home. This gives them a place to stay while they are getting treatment at our Arizona facility.

Learn More About Loperamide (Imodium) Addiction, Treatment and Recovery

Today is a great time for someone who is addicted to loperamide to seek help. Your fear of the unknown has caused you to put off getting ready for this. Alternatively, since this drug is available over-the-counter, you did not feel that treatment was necessary. The fact Imodium, although perceived to be safe, can be dangerous. Going through detox and rehab can help.

Would you like to learn more about loperamide (Imodium) addiction? Do you have questions about our addiction treatment program or sober living home? Please contact us today.