Canadian actor Eric McCormack thinks he might have developed a “psychosomatic” dependence on nasal sprays, always carrying them with him in stressful situations, according to PEOPLE.
McCormack, who is known for playing Will Truman in the sitcom Will & Grace, said on his former costar Sean Hayes’s podcast Hypochondiractor that the dependence might have started when he was a child, as his dad constantly use nasal sprays.
The 58-year-old said, “My father had a lot of allergies. He was allergic to everything. Dogs and cats and pretty much anything he didn’t want us to have, suddenly he had an allergy to. And he would always use nasal spray. And I think I inherited this from him.”
“Not the actual bottle,” he added. “It would have run out some time ago.”
McCormack explained that he developed a dependence on nasal sprays after years of watching his dad “rely” on them.
“I couldn’t get on a plane without knowing that I had the nasal spray in my pocket,” he said. “I couldn’t even go on stage. I don’t think I did an episode of Will & Grace where I didn’t [have it]. And I didn’t need it. It wasn’t like I was stuffed up. I just thought the only way I’m going to be able to really breathe is if I give myself a little squirt in each nostril.”
“It feels like it’s almost like something you touch on the way out, like an OCD thing, like a ritual,” McCormack continued. “The difference is in a plane I would become claustrophobic if I thought, ‘Oh my god, I don’t have it on me. What if I can’t breathe?’”
The Perception star said that he “got into the habit” of using nasal sprays even when he was not feeling stuffy, adding, “I got to the point where I wasn’t sure if it was the over usage of the product that was bizarrely stuffing me up and making more of it.”
Hypochondiractor co-host Dr. Priyanka Wali said it is very possible that overusing nasal sprays creates nasal problems.
She explained, “These medicines, they only give temporary relief. And if you actually use them too much, it can actually cause a rebound nasal congestion. So the nasal congestion is just going to come back and it might even come back worse.”
“You’re kind of creating your own way of meditating by doing these rituals,” she added. “But you were literally getting more air into your lungs which is very similar when people smoke, sometimes it’s just the act of the inhalation that has more of a kind of calming effect on the nervous system than the actual nicotine itself.”