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DXM/Cough Medicine Addiction And The Best Rehab Centers For Treatment

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

February 19, 2019

Many people abuse cough medicine to get high. When taken in large doses, the cough medicine dextromethorphan (DXM) has been known to cause hallucinations and feelings of euphoria. Misusing DXM can lead to negative health consequences and may cause the user to become very sick.

What Is Dextromethorphan?

Dextromethorphan is found in many cough syrups, tablets, and powders. Typically either ingested orally or snorted, some users take the time to learn how to extract DXM so that they don’t risk getting sick and negating the high. There is a limit on how much cough medicine people can buy during a certain period of time because of this. On the street, dextromethorphan may be referred to as Skittles, Triple C, Dex, DXM, and Robo.

DXM may cause heightened awareness, altered perception of time, and visual hallucinations. It is most popular among teenagers due to its easy access, cheap price tag, and the fact that it’s legal. Many harbor the incorrect belief that just because it’s legal, it’s not as dangerous as other drugs, but it is.

Short-Term Effects Of Dextromethorphan

Often compared to PCP and ketamine, dextromethorphan is a drug that should never be underestimated just because it’s sold over-the-counter. Often referred to as “Robo-Tripping” when people experience its psychedelic effects.

Short-term effects of DXM include:

  • seizures
  • hot flashes
  • nausea and vomiting
  • lack of coordination
  • impaired judgment
  • slurred speech
  • panic attacks
  • flashbacks
  • insomnia

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Long-Term Effects Of Dextromethorphan

Unfortunately, because cough medicines are made up of more than just DXM, some of the other ingredients can cause deadly bodily harm.

The long-term effects of DXM may include:

  • hypertension
  • stroke
  • liver damage
  • heart attack
  • intense cravings

Dextromethorphan Addiction Treatment

The first step to recovery is deciding on the type of treatment that is right for you or your loved one. Depending on the severity of addiction, doctors will suggest either an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. No matter the addiction treatment program; 12-step, holistic, or 90-day, professionally trained doctors, psychologists, and counselors will help you overcome your withdrawal period. Because cough medicine abuse is a relatively new phenomenon, the studies that have been done are inconclusive as to whether or not the drug is physically addictive, so your doctor may or may not recommend a medical detox program.

Once the drugs are successfully out of an individual’s system, they will undergo psychological therapy, which includes teaching patients how to cope without the drug and showing them life skills to help them avoid temptation and relapse. Many times rehab centers will recommend continuing treatment in the form of group meetings or a Sober Living community for after rehab is over.

If you or a loved one find yourself addicted to DXM, contact us today. Our compassionate addiction specialists are standing by to help you find a rehab that fits your personal and financial needs.

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