Men who suffer from impotence may find themselves worrying about developing an addiction to Viagra.
What Is Viagra?
Viagra, also known as sildenafil citrate, is a prescription medication used to treat male erectile dysfunction. It was approved for sale in the United States in 1998, making it the first widely available impotence treatment. Today, sales of Viagra exceed more than $1 billion per year.
The standard dose of Viagra is 25 mg to 100 mg taken 30 minutes to four hours before sexual activity. Side effects of Viagra include headache, sneezing, flushing, blurred vision, and heart palpitations. Prolonged erections may also occur in certain cases-a serious complication that requires immediate medical treatment.
Is it Possible to Develop an Addiction to Viagra?
The risk of developing an addiction to Viagra is minimal. In fact, Viagra is classified as safe and non-habit forming when used as directed.
Viagra is not addictive in any medical sense because the drug causes no long term change in sexual function. It simply works by temporarily increasing blood flow to the penis to create an erection. Taking Viagra does not influence a man's ability to perform sexually in the future.
However, a man who takes Viagra to treat impotence is likely to continue to need the drug in order to achieve an erection. If the underlying cause of the impotence remains, Viagra will be necessary to achieve an erection. The drug does not "cure" erectile function; it merely treats the symptom of the condition.
Although developing an addiction to Viagra is highly unlikely, Viagra abuse appears to be a growing problem. In many cases, young men who do not actually suffer from impotence take the drug recreationally in order to enhance sexual performance. When Viagra is used in this way, the drug is known as "Vitamin V" or "the magic blue pill."
The confidence boost Viagra gives often leads to repeated use of the drug, thus developing a psychological dependency. Additionally, when Viagra is taken with ecstasy or other amphetamines, it appears to create a hyper-sexualized state often referred to as "sextasy."
Viagra abuse typically becomes a problem when using the drug leads to risky sexual behavior, including unprotected intercourse that puts a man at risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Also, many men who abuse Viagra often miss work on a regular basis because of uncontrollable and persistent erections or exhaustion and sleep deprivation resulting from sexual overactivity.
If you agree with one or more of the following statements, you may be abusing Viagra:
- My wife or girlfriend thinks I take Viagra too often.
- I've lied about how often I use Viagra.
- I lie about my symptoms in order to get a Viagra prescription.
- I've taken Viagra when alone.
- I like to start my day with a dose of Viagra.
- I take Viagra to feel more confident, even if I'm not interested in having sex.
- I feel depressed and anxious when my supply of Viagra runs low.
- I've neglected to pay my mortgage or utility bills in order to have enough money for my Viagra habit.
- I've tried to stop using Viagra in the past, but I've been unable to control my urge to take the drug.
Men who abuse Viagra often find that they develop a tolerance to the drug and require larger doses to achieve the same effects. Obviously, this increases the risk of side effects from the medication. Additionally, since a physician is not available to monitor hypertension or other conditions that could be affected by Viagra, serious long term health complications are a real possibility.
If you believe you may have a problem with Viagra abuse, Viagraholics Anonymous can help. This support group of men recovering from Viagra dependency offers information and encouragement to those in need.