What is Dextromethorphan?

Dextromethorphan is the active ingredient found in a number of cold and cough suppressants commonly sold without prescription.  Some of the more popular over the counter cough medicines with this particular ingredient include Robitussin DM, Robitussin Cough and Congestion, Vicks 44E, and Mucinex DM.  If used according to the label instructions, the cough medicine is perfectly safe.  Unfortunately, many teens have discovered the hallucinatory effect of the drug when consumed in large quantities.  Most young people have discovered this information through Internet access since it is widely advertised on many popular youth culture websites.  In large doses, Dextromethorphan is considered a dissociative drug.

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse

Lower ranges of ingestion (e.g., 3-8 mg) will experience slurred speech patterns, sweating, nausea, vomiting, visual hallucinations, and short-term memory impairment.  Higher ranges of ingestion (e.g., 8-15 mg) increase the hallucinatory reaction and mental confusion, thus enabling some users to experience momentary terror within the boundaries of their own minds.  Doses of DXM in excess of 15 mg are not only dangerous psychologically, but they can potentially be fatal. This effect is sometimes called robotripping or skittles. More commonly found in Coricidin an OTC medication for colds. The desired side effect and signs of robotripping on DXM is hallucinogenic in nature.

Treatment Protocols for Dextromethorphan Addiction

Dextromethorphan does not typically produce physical addiction, but it has been reported to produce psychological addiction.  Most mental disorders that develop with long-term usage can be alleviated by discontinuing the drug.  If the overall health condition does not improve after discontinuing treatment, seek the advice of an addiction specialist.

Help for Families

If you notice that a family member is continuing to use a cold and cough remedy long after most of the symptoms have cleared up, it is possible that an addiction has developed.  Don’t take a risk with a loved one.  Talk to them gently about the pitfalls of using any form of medication over a long period of time.  Keep tabs on how quickly analgesics and cold medicines disappear from the medicine cabinet.  Don’t be afraid to ask family members direct questions about medications that go missing or are used up much too quickly.

The best example starts with you.  Be mindful of how you use, when you use, and how you store all of your personal medicine.  Drug safety and prevention begins at home.

Long Term Rehab Can Stop the Cycle of Chronic Relapse

At Burning Tree, we know that long-term solutions require long-term care.  Once you make the decision to get help for chronic relapse, the healing journey begins.  Turn to a rehab center you know you can trust.  Our staff of licensed clinicians, therapists, and addiction specialists knows that every second in the life of a recovering addict counts.  Shift the burden of addiction on to the shoulders of professionals that know how to help. 

Our dual diagnosis approach to treating chemical dependency behaviors and mental disorders allows you to receive state of the art therapeutics found only in the top rehab centers in the country.  We offer a unique long-term residential program that specializes in treating the whole person.  If you are ready to get your life back from addiction, give us a call today.