Almost everyone has taken NyQuil at some point in their lives for a severe cold or for flu symptoms. It’s helpful to alleviate symptoms like sneezing, sore throat, headache, minor aches and pains, fever, and runny nose. It’s also popular because, in addition to helping with symptoms of these types of illnesses, it also helps users get a good night’s sleep, which can help them recover more quickly overall.

However, although NyQuil is sold over the counter and without a prescription, it does have some potential for abuse. Some people use NyQuil as a sleep aid even when they aren’t struggling with cold or flu symptoms, and doing this habitually can lead to dependency. Also, if someone exceeds the recommended dosage – which is no more than four doses in a 24-hour period – they may also become intoxicated. Addiction to this type of intoxication is not uncommon, but it’s certainly not good for you. Read on to learn more about it.

NyQuil and Its Uses

NyQuil is a very helpful medication when it’s used correctly. It is manufactured by Procter & Gamble, and it was sold in the United States in 1966. It’s quite effective, which has led to immense popularity; it helps alleviate cold and flu symptoms and helps people who are struggling with these symptoms to get a good night’s sleep.

The reason that it’s so effective is that it’s a mix of drugs, including sedating antihistamines, hypnotics, and/or alcohol, depending on which version one purchase, and there are quite a few different versions to choose from today.

Perhaps the most popular NyQuil product is NyQuil Cold/Flu Multi-Symptom Relief. It’s available in syrup, capsule, or liquid capsule forms. Although the different forms vary somewhat when it comes to ingredients and make-up, this drug generally includes acetaminophen as a pain reliever and fever reducer, dextromethorphan as a cough suppressant, and doxylamine succinate as an antihistamine/hypnotic. The liquid version is also 10% alcohol, and some forms also include phenylephrine as a nasal decongestant. 

Other products offered by NyQuil include NyQuil D, which focuses on decongesting the user, NyQuil cough, which contains a powerful cough suppressant but no painkiller, and NyQuil Sinus, which helps with sinus issues. ZzzQuil is a sleep aid only – it does not help relieve cold or flu symptoms – and it only contains diphenhydramine HCl, which is an antihistamine. DayQuil is NyQuil’s daytime product, and it also exists to relieve cold and flu symptoms, but it does not contain an antihistamine, as it can make some people drowsy.

All of these products are helpful to people who are struggling with cold and flu symptoms, and that’s a good thing. 

Risks of NyQuil Abuse

Unfortunately, these drugs can be and are misused as well. When NyQuil or DayQuil products are misused, they can be dangerous. People sometimes take large doses of these drugs in search of feelings of euphoria and dissociative effects.

This is nothing new, unfortunately. People have been using cough and sinus medicine to get high for decades. NyQuil did make a move to decrease abuse of their product by reformulating it in 2006. At that time, they removed pseudoephedrine from almost all of their products, as sometimes people buy large quantities of products that contain that ingredient to make methamphetamine.

Still, however, people drink or consume large quantities of NyQuil in search of a high, and the other ingredients help them find it. People who abuse NyQuil report a feeling of sedation, sometimes accompanied by minor hallucinations. Many combine NyQuil abuse with cannabis consumption because it helps to intensify the feelings of the NyQuil and leads to more of a full-body high. 

Others combine NyQuil with alcohol. Since NyQuil already contains quite a bit of alcohol on its own, users may black out; in some cases, that’s exactly what they are seeking. Using NyQuil in this way is NyQuil abuse.

Signs and Symptoms of NyQuil Abuse

NyQuil abuse is dangerous. In fact, once someone becomes dependent on this easy-to-obtain drug, they may find it difficult to quit using it without help. 

NyQuil abuse symptoms can vary from simply uncomfortable to dangerous. Someone using NyQuil in an unsafe way may find that they feel dizzy or drowsy and they may suffer from a dry mouth, nose, and throat. They may have blurred vision, and they might feel lightheaded, especially when they stand up quickly. People who are dependent on NyQuill may seem nervous or easily excitable, and in severe cases, they may experience stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. 

When trying to stop using NyQuil, these people will also experience withdrawal symptoms. Some common NyQuil withdrawal symptoms may include anxiety, chills, cravings, depression, insomnia, and restlessness. Some people experience vomiting even when they haven’t used NyQuil in a while, and others may demonstrate shaking and tremors as well. NyQuil addiction withdrawal may be quite obvious not only to the user but to others around them as well.

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the above symptoms when using NyQuil or when trying to quit, a dependency or addiction may have developed.

Prevention of NyQuil Abuse

Of course, the best way to prevent NyQuil abuse and addiction is only to use this drug as directed. No matter how sick you are feeling, you should never take NyQuil more than four times in a 24-hour period. If you’re not feeling sick to begin with, you shouldn’t be using NyQuil at all.

Although NyQuil is an over-the-counter drug, if you have people in your home who may be tempted by NyQuil in your medicine cabinet, such as teens or people working on their recovery from other drugs, it might be wise to keep it out of sight, if not under lock and key. 

Treatment for NyQuil Abuse

As with all addictions and dependencies, NyQuil addiction is treatable. Some people may be able to break free from a dependency on their own, but others may need professional help to succeed. If you think that you are addicted to NyQuil and find that you are unable to stop using it on your own or find that you experience uncomfortable or painful NyQuil withdrawal symptoms when you quit, you should seek professional help. Long-term abuse of NyQuil will only lead to even more severe symptoms.

Strategies for Avoiding NyQuil Abuse

NyQuil abuse and addiction is no laughing matter and anyone who uses this drug on a regular basis – for illness or for recreational purposes – can find themselves addicted sooner than one might think. In order to make sure this never happens to you, you might consider using more natural remedies when you are experiencing a cold or flu.

Some ideas for natural remedies for severe colds include:

  • Taking vitamins on a regular basis
  • Use nasal saline spray
  • Elderberry syrup
  • Eat warming foods like soup
  • Get lots of sleep
  • Run a humidifier
  • Eat honey or mix it with herbal teas
  • Gargle with saltwater
  • Use menthol ointment

You may find that these remedies are even more effective than NyQuil anyway, and you won’t have to worry about addiction or dependency on them.

If You Need Help, Call Clear Sky Ibogaine Today

At Clear Sky Ibogaine, we can help you with an addiction to NyQuil or anything else. Our innovative ibogaine treatment will help you to break free from a cycle of abuse, and it will help you get to the root of your addiction. Furthermore, in most cases, it also helps decrease withdrawal symptoms. Our experienced staff is standing by to answer any questions that you may have about ibogaine, our program, or our facility in Cancun, Mexico. Please give us a call today. We’re here to help. 


What happens if you abuse Nyquil?

Abusing Nyquil can lead to serious health issues, including impaired cognition, liver damage, respiratory depression, and overdose.

Can you become addicted to Nyquil?

Yes, it’s possible, particularly due to the presence of substances like acetaminophen and dextromethorphan, which can be habit-forming if taken in large amounts over time.

Does Nyquil make you tired?

Yes, Nyquil contains sedating antihistamines, which can make you feel drowsy or tired.

When to stop taking Nyquil?

You should stop taking Nyquil if you experience adverse reactions, once symptoms resolve, or if you have been using it for the recommended duration, usually no more than a few days, unless directed otherwise by a healthcare provider.

How long does it take to get addicted to Nyquil?

Addiction risk varies by individual; misuse can lead to dependency. Always use as directed and consult a healthcare professional with concerns.

How long does Nyquil take to work?

Typically, Nyquil starts working within 20-30 minutes, but peak effects are usually felt within 1-2 hours.

What happens if you overdose on Nyquil?

Overdosing can lead to severe health issues, including liver damage, respiratory depression, and death. Seek emergency medical attention immediately if suspected.