Signs and Symptoms of Dextromethorphan Abuse
Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant that is available in over-the-counter cough medications. Because it is a legal drug, it can be purchased by anyone, even a pre-teen, except in California. There, a minor cannot purchase a cough medication containing dextromethorphan (DXM). There is also legislation pending in Alaska on this point. In all other states, any person who wants to achieve the intoxication available from this drug can do so.
If a teen wants to know the results of abusing DXM or how to abuse it or even how to separate out the active ingredient from the formulation, this information is all available on the internet. This is a significant reason that parents should monitor teens' internet usage.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms that result from DXM abuse depend on how much of the medication is taken and whether or not another drug like alcohol or marijuana is added to the mix. There are four plateaus of intoxication described by users of DXM.
The first plateau is mild inebriation similar to drunkenness. The second is inebriation plus slurred speech and possibly mild hallucinations. Short term memory can be impaired by the drug.
The third level is an altered state of consciousness. Vision or other senses may be impaired. And in the fourth state, a person can lose contact with his (or her) body. with all senses shut off. This level of intoxication is similar to that of ketamine or PCP.
The therapeutic dosage for dextromethorphan, when you are treating a cold or cough, is between 10 to 29 milligrams every four hours. But when seeking intoxication, a person may take 250 to 1,500 milligrams of the drug at one time.
The symptoms above may be accompanied by confusion, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fast heartbeat, stomach pain and disorientation.
Physical Signs Resulting from Other Ingredients in Cough Medication
Since dextromethorphan is combined with other ingredients like acetaminophen, chlorpheniramine and guaifenesin, there can be signs of cough medication abuse that result from these other ingredients. For example, liver damage can result from high dosages of acetaminophen; guaufenesin can cause vomiting,;and chlorpheniramine can cause faster heart rate, loss of coordination, seizures and coma.
Some people resort to separating out dextromethorphan from these other ingredients, as mentioned above, using chemicals that are easy to acquire. It is easy to find websites offering to sell pure dextromethorphan powder as well.
A person abusing DXM may leave behind empty blister packs or empty bottles of cough medication. Vicks, Coricidin, Robitussin and Triaminic formulas all may contain dextromethorphan. A normal drug test will not detect this drug which may drive some people to choose it for abuse.
As with any drug, symptoms of an increasing focus or addiction to substances like dextromethorphan include:
- Changes in appearance or habits
- Isolation from the family, spending evenings behind a locked bedroom door
- Evasiveness or secretive behavior
- Many hours spent away from home without explanation
- Missing money
- Changes in appetite
- Hostility and anger
- Mood changes without apparent reason
- Changes in relationships with friends or family
- Inability to focus
- Poor coordination
- Sullen mood or depression
- Silence, withdrawn periods
Estimates of the number of teens abusing DXM vary from one in ten to one in twenty. While some sources state that DXM is not addictive, those who have abused the drug have reported that they have cravings for the drug, one of the symptoms of addiction.
Leaving DXM Addiction Behind
When a person learns to rely on DXM to escape from his problems, he may need help to leave this lifestyle behind. That help is available at Narconon centers around the world. In this long-term drug rehab program, each participant has the time and the guidance to repair the damage done by addiction to mind, body and spirit.
To start the ball rolling, each person starts out by learning the fundamentals of effective communication and then practicing these skills. It's like helping a person to their feet so they can begin to walk. Each recovering person gains more ability to deal with life using communication and starts to get more control of himself.
This is followed by the Narconon New Life Detoxification Program, a unique detox that utilizes a sauna, generous nutritional supplementation and moderate daily exercise to flush out old drug toxins. As long as these old residues from past drug use are present, they can influence a person's thinking and have been shown to be involved in triggering cravings.
A later part of the program revolves around the learning of sober living skills. For a person to find lasting sobriety, he must be able to create a new, productive and enjoyable life for himself. If he can't deal successfully with life's problems and stresses, he may resort to substance abuse again. But in this later phase of recovery, each person learns problem-solving, choosing correct associates who will support sobriety, strong and sound personal values and much more that will help him achieve that lasting sobriety.
The result of the Narconon program is that seven out of ten graduates stay sober after they go home, one of the best success rates in the field. Learn how this rehab program can be the last one you ever need. Call 1-800-775-8750 today.
Also see Effects of Dextromethorphan Abuse