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What’s Dextromethorphan (DXM) Addiction?

If you’ve been sick in the last several years, you may have been asked to show I.D. for cough and cold medicines. Many over-the-counter medicines have a potential for abuse, especially if one of the ingredients is dextromethorphan (DXM). Intended to be used as a cough suppressant, teenagers and young adults in particular have found that it has another use: it can get you high. Usually, an individual who is seeking this type of high will consume an excessive amount of the drug and they will go on to have alcohol-like intoxication symptoms or an experience similar to being on PCP.

Feelings of dissociation from both the mind and body, hallucinations, and distorted visual perception are common effects of DXM. Along with the euphoria of abusing this type of drug comes serious risks and consequences, including:

  • Blackouts
  • Respiratory depression
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Vision promblems
  • Skin rashes

It’s also not uncommon for people to take DXM with alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescription drugs. By doing so, the risks of serious complications and even death increase tenfold. DXM is also usually combined with other ingredients such as pseudoephedrine (a decongestant), acetaminophen, chlorpheniramine (an antihistamine), and phenylephrine. These ingredients alone can cause:

  • Liver failure
  • Seizures
  • Tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
  • Respiratory depression
  • Hyperthermia
  • Coma

If you are drinking cough syrup to get the high, you’re not just getting the DXM, you are also getting a host of other chemicals that can cause a lot of damage. Additionally, you may become addicted. People who abuse DXM will experience withdrawal symptoms similar to other drugs, such as:

  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Intense cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Memory problems
  • Panic attacks
  • Flashbacks

In severe cases, an individual may experience toxic psychosis and other serious, permanent psychological issues. Treatment is available for DXM addiction, and the sooner a person can get help, the better chance he or she may have to make a full recovery. If you notice any of the following changes in your loved one, you may want to seek professional help: appearance, sleeping and eating patterns, loss of interest, a drop in academic performance, and/or a sudden change of friends.

No matter how far down the scale you have gone, recovery is possible. You can make the decision to embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery by seeking help now. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, is staffed with knowledgeable and compassionate professionals dedicated to helping clients build happy, fulfilling lives in sobriety, free from the chains of addiction. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431