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What Are the Risks of Dextromethorphan Abuse?

What Are the Risks of Dextromethorphan Abuse?

Dextromethorphan (DXM) is a cough suppressant found in many over-the-counter (OTC) products, including Robitussin DM, Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Cough Medicine, Tylenol Cold products, and Vicks NyQuil LiquiCaps.  When taken in excessive amounts, they can be quite dangerous. Learn more about the risks of DXM abuse and how to seek help.

Cough Syrup Abuse

DXM cough syrup actually has a very high potential for abuse simply due to the ease at which people can acquire it, anytime, day or night. The cough syrup is easy to administer, providing a desired effect very quickly. Teenagers and young adults present great concern with regard to abuse of cough syrup. People who abuse cough syrup have reported a heightened sense of perceptual awareness, altered time perception, and visual hallucinations. Those who abuse it to tend experience:

  • Hyper-excitability
  • Lethargy
  • Ataxia
  • Slurred speech
  • Sweating
  • Hypertension
  • Nystagmus

The side effects of this drug can occur as allergic reactions including hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat. More serious side effects include severe dizziness, anxiety, nervousness, confusion, or slow, shallow breathing. Much like narcotic or prescription drug use, if a person develops a dependence on DXM cough syrup, problems arise in stopping it. It is not wise to stop taking any drug cold turkey, due to the sudden withdrawal symptoms that may occur, including:

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle aches
  • Bone aches
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Cold flashes

Addiction Treatment Options

No matter how a person comes to use DXM cough syrup, an individual can develop dependence and an addiction for it when taken too long or in too high of doses. The withdrawal process has the ability to be life-threatening if not properly monitored. It is important people with addiction seek help they need to stop taking the drug and learn how to function without it. Detox is required to cleanse the body of the drug and must be done under care of a board-certified physician and psychiatrist. A treatment center can help people get clean in a safe space.

We are here to help you with our medically supervised staff who take care of you when you cannot take care of yourself. We make sure everything is handled so you can focus on recovery. If you are ready to quit addiction to cough syrup or any other type of drug, call us 24/7 at our toll-free number: 866-294-9401