Dextromethorphan Addiction

Table of Contents

Dextromethorphan, known on the street as DXM, can take hold of a person’s life quickly. That’s because DXM is an opioid derivative. Anyone who knows opiates knows they’re extremely addictive. DXM is most commonly used in cough and cold suppressants. Infact, the drug is found in more than 100 over-the-counter (OTC) cough medications in the United States. DXM has three unfortunate characteristics: it’s affordable, it’s easy to get, and it’s very addictive. The United States government noticed the drug’s potential for abuse, so they implemented a series of protections. First of all, they implemented an age limit. You can only purchase cough medicines with DXM if you’re over the age of 18. In addition to an age limit, most pharmacies limit the number of medicines an individual can purchase. This makes it so that the person would have to shop at several pharmacies in order to get a significant quantity of DXM.  

If you believe that yourself or a loved one is addicted to dextromethorphan, getting help now is essential. DXM use or abuse of any kind can be detrimental to a person’s health and wellbeing. That’s why acting immediately is of the utmost importance.


What is Dextromethorphan?

DXM relaxes the central nervous system and gives the consumer a burst of energy. In addition, the drug suppresses coughing and depresses the respiratory system. It also stimulates the person, causes them to feel euphoria, causes hallucinations, impairs motor functions, distorts visual perception, and depresses the respiratory system. The exact effects an individual will feel depend on the amount of DXM they’ve consumed. Because the drug is an opioid derivative which impacts the central nervous system, it has the potential to be very dangerous and very addictive. 

What are the Symptoms of Dextromethorphan Use?

Generally, DXM users feel a flood of euphoria, relaxation, and an overwhelming sense of well-being when they’re “high” on the substance. A dose can last for up to 2 days. It usually takes about 15 minutes for the drug to kick in, but there are some instances where it’s taken up to 6 hours for consumers to feel the effects of the drug.


Signs and Symptoms of Use

An individual currently using and/or abusing DXM may show the following short-term signs of use:

  • Sleepiness/Lethargy
  • A loss of coordination
  • Changes in mood 
  • An altered mental state

An individual currently using and/or abusing DXM may show the following long-term signs of use:

  • Frequently being high
  • Limited or lack of motor skills
  • Lethargy 
  • Frequently purchasing cold medicine
  • Drinking large amounts of cold medicine
  • Issues with coordination and balance (similar to someone who is drunk) 
  • Slurred speech 
  • Rashes 
  • Skin problems 
  • Panic attacks 
  • Hallucination 
  • Detachment

What Should You Do if a Loved One is Addicted to DXM?

Do you think that your loved one has a problem with DXM? Are they constantly purchasing or consuming large amounts of cold medicine? This is often a sign. If someone is consistently purchasing cough medicine and they don’t have a cough, they may have a problem. While the recommended dose is between 10 and 20 mg of dextromethorphan, a person who’s abusing it usually takes between 250 and 1,500 mg at one time! That makes DXM a dangerous drug if it’s being abused. If you think that yourself or a loved one is addicted, seek out professional help today.


What are the Symptoms of Dextromethorphan Withdrawal?

Withdrawal usually happens about 6 to 24 hours after the last dose. The symptoms of withdrawal include cold and flu-like symptoms, extreme discomfort, anxiety, insomnia, and intense cravings. Relapse is a huge risk during the first few days and weeks of withdrawal. It’s important for those who have gone through days of withdrawal to NOT go back to their previous amount (in the case of relapse.) That’s because it can lead to an accidental overdose if tolerance has gone down. While DXM withdrawal symptoms aren’t dangerous or fatal on their own, they should be monitored by a mental health or medical professional in order to prevent dangerous complications or even fatality.

An individual going through DXM withdrawal may show the following signs:

  • Depression 
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting  
  • Extreme Sadness
  • Emotional Blunting 
  • Anxiety attacks/panic attacks
  • Cravings 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Weight loss 
  • Headaches 
  • Insomnia/trouble sleeping 
  • Irritability
  • Anger 
  • Outbursts 
  • Mood swings

What are the Phases of Dextromethorphan Addiction Treatment?

Treatment for Dextromethorphan addiction follows the following phases: 

  1. Detox
  2. Residential Inpatient 
  3. Outpatient – Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) 
  4. Sober Living

Treatment for DXM Addiction

Dextromethorphan addiction treatment includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), individual counseling, group counseling, and sometimes family counseling. A person may also be evaluated for a coexisting disorder. If they have coexisting mental health or addiction issues it’s called a dual diagnosis. While in treatment, the person will learn important skills, like mindfulness, how to cope with trauma, relapse prevention, and stress management.

Virtual Treatment Center: Who Are We?

At Virtual Treatment Center, we believe quality addiction recovery and mental health services should be easily accessible to those that want or need them, because ease of accessibility is what most often leads to success. That’s why we’re committed to providing top-tier virtual mental health teletherapy and addiction recovery services to all residents of California. Although we’re located in Orange County, our online teletherapy can be accessed throughout the state. In addition to providing addiction recovery services, we treat a variety of mental health issues and offer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). Our teletherapy sessions are done via two-way, live interactive video or by telephone. Therapeutic visits are conducted on Zoom most often, or on other virtual platforms that adhere to HIPAA compliance requirements. 


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