Can You Get Addicted to Dextromethorphan? - Garden State Treatment

Growing up, kids go through so many different challenges in their lives emotionally, physically, mentally, and much more, which is normal but can be overwhelming at times. With so much going on it is also normal for kids to explore different activities and sometimes that includes experimenting with drugs. Unfortunately, kids take drugs with little to no knowledge of what the dangers are. Most information is taken from television, music, and movies or rumors from friends, and unfortunately peer pressure is a big factor.

Over the counter (OTC) medicines are easiest to access by adolescents and many OTC drugs, if taken more than the dosage, can cause one to get “high” and can become an addiction. Most OTC drugs that are abused by kids are cough syrups with dextromethorphan in it, known as DXM for short.

Can You Get Addicted to Dextromethorphan?

DXM is Easy to Get a Hold Of

Dextromethorphan is usually referred to as DXM, on the street, or skittles, red devil, Robo, cousin, triple C, among others. It is most commonly referred to as robo-tripping because it is in the medicine Robitussin. It is an over-the-counter (OTC) opioid-like drug that causes some sedation that is added to cough syrups and flu medications to suppress coughing. It can be abused, and regular abuse of DXM can lead to addiction.

DXM is actually based on morphine, but it is not an opiate and affects the brain differently from opiate drugs like Vicodin, OxyContin, heroin, morphine, etc. When taken in the directions on the product, the drug has very few side effects. When taken in amounts more than recommended it can cause the user to become “high” or have life-threatening side effects.

Dangers of Getting Addicted to DXM

The recommended safe dosages for the use of DXM vary between 15 mg and 30 mg taken within four hours. If taken more according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that there are four levels or plateaus of abuse that occur with DXM. In the most recent release of its analysis of the effects of DXM abuse, the DEA listed DXM as a “drug of concern.” The four plateaus of abuse listed by the DEA include:

  • The first plateau: The most basic level of abuse occurs when individuals take between 100 mg and 200 mg. The DEA reports that dosages at this level result in feelings of stimulation.
  • The second plateau: The next plateau occurs when individuals take dosages between 200 mg and 400 mg. The most common effects of using the drug in this dosage range are visual hallucinations and euphoria.
  • The third plateau: The third plateau occurs at dosage levels between 300 mg and 600 mg. Individuals taking DXM at this level will experience hallucinations, euphoria, significant perceptual distortions of objects in the visual field, and significantly impaired motor functioning and coordination.
  • The fourth plateau: The effects at this plateau occur in individuals who take more than 600 mg of DXM. The effects include extreme sedation, hallucinations, and dissociative effects. Dissociative effects occur in individuals who have experiences where they feel that they are leaving their body or that things around them are not real.

Some symptoms of DXM abuse include nausea, dizziness, and hot flashes and just like any other substance abuse disorder you will experience:

  • A strong desire or compulsion to take DXM
  • Reduced ability to control the use of the drug
  • Physical withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop or reduce substance use
  • Tolerance to dextromethorphan
  • A pattern of use that caused you to neglect other areas of life

We Can Help with DXM Addiction Treatment

If you or you suspect a loved one is addicted to dextromethorphan, we at Garden Treatment Center can help. We are an outpatient and partial care addiction treatment facility that offers nuanced levels of care for individuals struggling with the horrors of substance abuse. It is our explicit goal to help addicted clients rebuild their lives from the inside out and reintegrate themselves back into society.


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Published on: 2020-04-17
Updated on: 2024-02-16