Individuals who find themselves unable to stop using dextromethorphan may benefit from dextromethorphan (DXM) addiction treatment. This drug is commonly found in cough medicines and other over-the-counter medications. Teens and children sometimes use dextromethorphan because of its easy accessibility and inexpensive cost.
What Does Abuse Look Like?
Dextromethorphan is an active ingredient in over 100 different medications. When used properly, it is an effective cough suppressant, and people who use it for this purpose generally have no problems with the drug. However, some people use it in doses much higher than the recommended dose. Some common medications that contain dextromethorphan include:
- Dimetapp DM
- Robitussin DM
- Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Cough Medicine
- Dayquil LiquiCaps
- Vicks Formula 44
- Vicks NyQuil
These are not the only brands that contain this drug. Any drug that contains this substance will list it on the label. Each specific brand of cough medicine has a different dosage recommendation, so you need to check the bottle or package for the medically recommended dose. Any use of dextromethorphan in doses higher than the amount listed on the product packaging indicates a potential need for dextromethorphan (DXM) addiction treatment. Normal doses are typically in the range of 15 to 30 milligrams, while dextromethorphan abusers sometimes take more than 300 milligrams at a time.
In some cases, dextromethorphan is used as an alternative to harder drugs, such as PCP. Sometimes, dextromethorphan is passed off as these harder drugs and sold at clubs, parties, and social events. Even social users who do not consider themselves addicted can put themselves in danger and should seek dextromethorphan (DXM) addiction treatment as soon as possible.
When taken in excess, dextromethorphan produces a dissociative or psychedelic effect. The effect is similar to the illegal drugs PCP and ketamine. Someone who takes dextromethorphan may experience hallucinations and strong feelings of euphoria. The effect typically lasts about the same length of time as the normal cough-suppressant effect of the medication, so a 12-hour cough suppressant will produce dissociative effects that last 12 hours in high doses. An increased dose does not cause longer-lasting effects, but it will cause stronger effects. Teens and adolescents sometimes presume that DXM is harmless because it is sold over the counter and can be found in the home medicine cabinet.
Dextromethorphan can produce negative effects as well as a pleasant high. Some people experience paranoia and panic instead of euphoria and pleasant sensations. People who experience a negative reaction to dextromethorphan may be more likely to seek dextromethorphan (DXM) addiction treatment than individuals who experience a pleasant high. However, some people still continue to take dextromethorphan despite having a negative experience because of peer pressure or because they hope to avoid future negative experiences and recreate a previous pleasant experience with the drug.
Dextromethorphan can also cause a variety of side effects, including blurred vision, dilated pupils, sweating, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, an increased heart rate, shallow breathing, high blood pressure, confusion, high fever, and itching. People who take dextromethorphan recreationally may also accidentally overdose on dextromethorphan-containing products that consist of multiple ingredients. In some cases, the dextromethorphan is not what causes the overdose. Instead, the person overdoses on another ingredient in the attempt to take enough of the medication to get a high from the dextromethorphan content. This type of event can send the person to the emergency room, and many users are referred to a dextromethorphan (DXM) addiction treatment program after hospitalization for an overdose.
Someone who is taking dextromethorphan may also increase his or her risk of having an accident due to mental or physical impairment caused by the drug. Driving or operating heavy machinery while on dextromethorphan can be extremely dangerous. Even the risk of household accidents, such as falling off a ladder or slipping in the bathtub, may be increased while the user is high on dextromethorphan.
Another danger associated with dextromethorphan use is the development of brain lesions called Olney’s lesions. These brain lesions affect memory, learning, and emotions. In some cases, the person will develop psychosis or epilepsy. Severe dextromethorphan abuse can lead to permanent lesions that cause permanent irreparable damage to the brain. Obtaining dextromethorphan (DXM) addiction treatment as soon as possible can help prevent some of the negative side effects and keep you from developing permanent brain damage as a result of dextromethorphan use.
Unlike addictions to substances such as heroin, alcohol, or cocaine, dextromethorphan addiction is not a physical addiction. The brain does not develop permanent changes and tolerance does not develop over time. Instead, a dextromethorphan addiction is a psychological addiction. A psychological addiction develops when the person develops a habit of using the drug in certain circumstances. This may include using the drug whenever you are interacting socially with certain friends, or it can mean taking dextromethorphan every day at a particular time to get and maintain a high throughout part of the day. Recognizing the need for dextromethorphan (DXM) addiction treatmentThe existence of any negative side effects or symptoms of overdose are a sign that dextromethorphan (DXM) addiction treatment might be needed.
Also, any use of dextromethorphan in doses higher than the dose recommended on the product packaging is a sign of dextromethorphan abuse and should be considered a problem. In many cases, treatment only begins when parents or other family members observe signs of drug abuse or dependence, so it is important to be aware of the potential signs of dextromethorphan abuse in children, teens, and young adults. If you think your child or teen may be abusing dextromethorphan, keep an eye out for the following indicators of a potential problem:
Missing over-the-counter cough medicine from your household medicine cabinet Finding cough medicine or suspicious-looking pills or tablets in your child or teen’s room, especially if he or she is not suffering from a cold Finding empty cough medicine packaging in your child or teen’s room or among his or her personal possessions. Noticing the symptoms of dextromethorphan use or side effects such as high fever, sleepiness, confusion, or slurred speech in your child or teen Overhearing your child or teen talking about C-C-C, robo, triple C, dex, drex, skittles, velvet, red devils, or vitamin D, which are all common street names for dextromethorphan.
About 5.5 percent of 12th grade students used cough medicines in 2008, such as those containing dextromethorphan, to get high, according to a study by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
Dextromethorphan (DXM) detox because dextromethorphan is not physically addictive, dextromethorphan (DXM) detox is not handled in the same way as detox from physically addictive substances. Detox from many drugs requires a period of withdrawal during which the body physically adapts to being without the drug.
Dextromethorphan, however, produces no known withdrawal symptoms or physical cravings, so it’s use can be halted suddenly without the need for medical monitoring. Instead of focusing on controlling withdrawal symptoms, dextromethorphan detox focuses on eliminating the psychological addiction and is blended into long-term dextromethorphan (DXM) addiction treatment and rehab.
Dextromethorphan (DXM) rehab typically involves a combination of psychological counseling and cognitive-behavioral therapy. The psychological counseling is intended to help the recovering user self-assess his or her dextromethorphan use to figure out the psychological reasons behind the drug abuse or addiction.
Counseling can also help the person understand the full effects and dangers of dextromethorphan, which can help motivate the individual to fully participate in the dextromethorphan (DXM) addiction treatment program. Psychological counseling can take the form of individual or group therapy.
Some dextromethorphan (DXM) addiction treatment programs also include family counseling sessions as part of the treatment in order to get the entire family involved in the recovery process. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of counseling designed to teach practical techniques for avoiding dextromethorphan use and resisting the temptation to use the drug again. This could involve role-playing scenarios that the recovering user might encounter or discussing possible responses to someone offering a hit of dextromethorphan.
Some treatment centers take a more holistic approach to dextromethorphan (DXM) addiction treatment. These types of rehab facilities might include programs such as music or art therapy, traditional Chinese medicine, or yoga practice to help the user overcome his or her psychological addiction.Dextromethorphan (DXM) addiction treatment can take place in an inpatient or outpatient setting. The choice between these two options depends on the degree of addiction and the individual needs of the person seeking treatment. While there is not a need for medically monitored detox, a residential treatment program can still be useful for a dextromethorphan addict.
One major advantage of an inpatient residential program is that it removes the person from social peer groups that can tempt the former user into starting to take the drug again. However, it is necessary to choose a program that also teaches the recovering drug abuser how to adapt to life outside the inpatient center once he or she returns to normal life.
Co-treatment for concurrent addictions and conditions. If the recovering drug user has other addictions or conditions that could affect recovery, these must also be treated at the same time as the dextromethorphan addiction.
Alcohol is commonly used along with dextromethorphan in an attempt to increase the high, so a dextromethorphan abuser may also have an addiction to alcohol. Alcohol withdrawal and treatment for alcoholism may be more involved than treatment for dextromethorphan abuse, so a comprehensive treatment plan must be devised in consultation with a trained therapist or doctor.
Someone with a physical or mental illness may also require specialized care to help treat the co-existing condition along with the dextromethorphan addiction. A full-time residential inpatient treatment center can devise an effective dextromethorphan (DXM) addiction treatment plan that also addresses any of the other issues the patient may have.
Once the normal course of dextromethorphan (DXM) addiction treatment is completed, the recovering user will likely participate in a follow-up program that helps him or her adjust back into normal society. This typically takes the form of weekly or biweekly meetings with a counselor to discuss any temptations the recovering user has encountered and how he or she handled the temptation.
One aspect of follow-up care may involve helping the former user develop a new support group or make new friends who are not drug users. This is important because it can be difficult to prevent a relapse if you return to hanging out with people who still use dextromethorphan. Follow-up care may also include ongoing family counseling sessions to continue providing family members with constructive ways to help the recovering drug user from having a relapse.
Follow-up treatment can last for months or years, depending on the individual. Effective follow-up care is essential for maintaining a drug-free life.