Dextromethorphan (DXM) Addiction
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
Barbiturates are available as a pill or liquid, which can be taken orally or injected. Users typically experience euphoria, relaxation, and a sense of well-being when “high”, which can kick in anywhere from 15 minutes to 6 hours after the dose and can last for up to 2 days.
Patients typically display short-term symptoms including lethargy, loss of coordination, mood changes, altered mental state, and possible loss of hand-eye-coordination while on the drug. Over long-term abuse or in case of a very heavy dose, these symptoms will include:
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 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.