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Medically Reviewed

Dextromethorphan Detox and Withdrawal

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Dextromethorphan (DXM) is primarily used as a cough suppressant, and it is the active ingredient in many over-the-counter cough medicines. It can be bought in several different forms including syrup, lozenges and spray. When taken in higher than recommended doses, this drug, like most others, can become addictive. High amounts of DXM in a person’s system can act as a dissociative hallucinogenic and have a psychedelic effect on the user. Those who take DXM as a recreational drug typically enjoy the feeling they get from the hallucinations and the feeling of euphoria that can occur.

There are many alternative street names for dextromethorphan. Slang terms commonly used to refer to this drug are:

  • Tussin
  • Triple C
  • Candy-coated chaos
  • Robo
  • Skittles
  • Dex

dextromethorphanEnding an addiction to any drug can be a difficult thing to do. The process of detoxing can cause tremendous stress on a person’s mind and body. Chances for dealing with this stress and for successfully battling the addiction will be greater with help from a dextromethorphan (DXM) detox program.

Withdrawal Symptoms

DXM is usually not as physically addictive as some drugs, but it can be highly mentally and emotionally addictive. The mental and emotional attachment that forms during the process of becoming addicted to this drug can be hard to break, especially if a person is attempting to detox on their own. It is important for you to be aware of the withdrawal symptoms in order to help you prepare for what is to come during the detox process. Upon beginning treatment at a dextromethorphan (DXM) detox center, patients are usually informed about what they can expect from the withdrawal process. Here are some of the symptoms that can be expected:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heartbeat and blood pressure
  • Profuse sweating

Teen Abuse

According to a 2010 study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the recreational use of cough medicines that contain DXM are popular with teens. This study showed that 3.8 percent of 8th graders, 6 percent of 10th graders and 5.9 percent of 12th graders in America all reported intentionally using cough syrup. This practice has become more popular in recent years because of how easy it is to purchase over-the-counter drugs. These drugs can be purchased in stores and online without the consent or supervision of a parent. This segment of the population must not be overlooked when it comes to getting help from dextromethorphan (DXM) detox centers.

Getting Treatment

For some people, it can be difficult to make the decision to get help. Some people try to fight the battle of abuse on their own and often end up right back on the drug. Because of how easy it is to get a hold of DXM, there is a greater potential for a person to relapse without professional help. Most people have some form of this drug somewhere in their homes. There may be a bottle in the kitchen cabinet or a pack of lozenges in the bathroom medicine cabinet. The easy accessibility of the drug is one of the reasons it is imperative to get help from a dextromethorphan (DXM) detox center.

A treatment center will be staffed with professional counselors and medics who have been trained to deal with patients with your specific addiction. A lot of facilities offer group, individual counseling and family counseling along with periodic psychiatric evaluations. This, coupled with medical supervision to monitor drug intake reduction, provides a well-rounded recovery experience for patients that is not available to those who try to stop taking the drug without the assistance of a dextromethorphan (DXM) detox program.

Once a person has enlisted in a program, it is to their advantage to follow all staff instructions as closely as possible. Most facilities will conduct a preliminary evaluation before treatment actually begins. From this point, the staff usually devises a recovery support program that best fits the level of addiction the patient has.

As a patient at a dextromethorphan (DXM) detox center, you are typically encouraged to ask any questions or voice any concerns you may have about the program and what you will experience throughout the recovery process. According to a 2010 study by the NIDA, only 45 percent of teens believed that cough syrup was addictive. Because of this, there are centers with special programs tailored specifically to this age group.

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Scot Thomas
Medical Reviewer
Dr. Thomas received his medical degree from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. During his medical studies, Dr. Thomas saw firsthand the multitude of lives impacted by struggles with substance abuse and addiction, motivating him to seek a clinical psychiatry preceptorship at the San Diego VA Hospital’s Inpatient Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program. In his post-graduate clinical work, Dr. Thomas later applied the tenets he learned to help guide his therapeutic approach with many patients in need of substance treatment. In his current capacity as Senior Medical Editor for American Addiction Centers, Dr. Thomas, works to provide accurate, authoritative information to those seeking help for substance abuse and behavioral health issues.
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