Dextromethorphan or DXM is an opioid derivative commonly used as a cough and cold suppressant. Found in over 100 over-the-counter cough medications in the United States, the drug is affordable, relatively easy to acquire, and extremely addictive. While legislation exists to prevent individuals under the age of 18 from purchasing Dextromethorphan products and to prevent individuals from purchasing too much at once, simply shopping at several pharmacies will allow one person to purchase enough cough medicine to acquire a significant quantity of DXM.

The drug suppresses NDMA in the central nervous system, resulting in increased energy, cough suppression, stimulation, euphoria, hallucinations, impaired motor functions, distortions in visual perception, and extreme respiratory depression. While the effects vary depending on the quantity of the drug consumed, dextromethorphan is an opioid derivative which heavily impacts the central nervous system, and which is very addictive.

Understanding the symptoms of addiction and withdrawal will help you to get a loved one struggling with DXM addiction into treatment.

Dextromethorphan Addiction Symptoms

Dextromethorphan addiction is typically easy to spot, as DXM results in a great deal of physical and mental side effects. These symptoms increase with longer and higher volume use, meaning that the more addicted your loved one, the easier their addiction will be to spot.

  • Frequently being high with limited motor skills
  • Frequently purchasing or taking cold medicine

  • Drinking large volumes of cold medicine all at once

  • Coordination and balance issues that would be expected of someone drunk

  • Consistent lethargy or slurred speech

  • Rashes and skin problems

  • Out-of-character anxiety and panic attacks

  • Hallucination or detachment

If your loved one is purchasing large amounts of cold medicine, they likely have a problem. Consistently and repetitively purchasing cough medicine, especially without a cough, is a sign of DXM abuse. Users who are abusing DXM typically take between 250 and 1,500 mg at once, in contrast to the recommended dose of 10-20 mg.

Dextromethorphan Withdrawal

Dextromethorphan withdrawal will begin to kick in 6-24 hours after the final dose and will include cold and flu symptoms and extreme discomfort. Users experience anxiety, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, nausea, sudden weight loss, and intense cravings. In some cases, individuals are at risk for sudden relapse, which can lead to an overdose if tolerance has gone down.

DXM withdrawal symptoms are not especially dangerous or fatal on their own, but they should be monitored by a medical professional to prevent potentially dangerous complications.

Dextromethorphan Addiction Treatment

DXM addiction treatment includes a range of treatment options, typically including CBT, group therapy, and counseling. DXM addiction frequently occurs alongside other forms of addiction including alcohol and harder drug addictions, and therapy often accounts for this, tackling the multi-faceted reasons behind drug

In addition, many people begin using DXM early, with an estimated 3.1 million Americans between the ages of 12 and 20 using the drug. At the same time, younger users are most at risk, with more than half of all emergency room visits being from individuals under the age of 20.

Getting your loved one into treatment could save their life, but it could also allow them to get back to their life, so that they can pursue dreams, their career, and happiness, without wasting years on a drug addiction.

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