Dextromethorphan or DXM is a cough suppressant used in dozens of over-the-counter cold and cough medications today. When used properly, DXM is considered both safe and effective. Unfortunately, DXM abuse has grown in recent years, particularly among younger users, which has opened the door to a host of potential dangers. It is important for parents to know the risks associated with this seemingly safe medication, in order to keep kids, their friends and other family members safe from DXM abuse.
In over-the-counter medications, the recommended amount of DXM is typically 10-20 mg. every three-four hours. The maximum recommendation in a 24-hour period is 30 mg. When this drug is abused, users typically consume 240-1500 mg. at a time. This massive concentration can produce a number of potentially dangerous side effects, particularly when DXM is combined with other drugs like alcohol or marijuana.
Possible side effects of DXM abuse include:
- Nausea, dizziness or vomiting
- Impaired judgment, rash decision-making
- Lethargy, slurred speech
- Disorientation, mental confusion
- Disorientation, paranoia, hallucinations
- Altered perception of time and place
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate
It is also important to note that when the DXM is consumed in over-the-counter products, other ingredients like acetaminophen are also consumed in dangerously high amounts. DXM is also sold in powder form on the street, but this substance is much more potent than the over-the-counter version and can lead to overdosing. Users can also go to the Internet to find out how to extract the DXM at home, posing additional risks and dangers.
DXM is not usually physically addictive, but users can become psychologically addicted to the “high” they get from the drug. While the “trips” caused by DXM typically only last a few hours, the negative effects of the drug on the mind and body can be more far-reaching. Some of those effects might include:
- Speech impairment and sensory distortions
- Amnesia and confusion
- Depression, anxiety and paranoia
- Blurred vision and dizziness
- Decreased sexual function
- Inability to feel pain
Some of these effects may become permanent, even if the substance abuse is eventually stopped. In addition, DXM is often combined with other drugs, which makes the substance even more dangerous. These dangers might include an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, coma and death.
DXM may appear harmless as an over-the-counter medication, but abuse of the drug makes this substance as dangerous as drugs sold on the street. If you or someone you love is struggling with DXM abuse, help is available. Contact West Coast Recovery Centers today at 442-333-6199 to get the help you need.