DXM Addiction: Signs, Dangers and Treatment
An abuse of cough syrup that contains codeine and DXM (Dextromethorphan) is dangerous. Codeine, an opiate, and DXM, a psychoactive drug, are two very addictive substances. Cough syrup is a preferred substance to abuse for some because of its wide availability and low cost. Addicts drink these syrups undiluted or mixed with other drugs, juices or sodas.
Signs of Cough Syrup (DXM) Abuse
Cough Syrup (DXM) abuse often has similar effects with marijuana. It is known to produce auditory hallucinations and euphoria. Use of cough syrup causes other undesirable effects like depression, dizziness, high blood pressure, impaired judgement, nausea and panic attacks. Aside from these dangerous side effects, cough syrup also causes poor coordination, constipation and fatigue.
The ingredient in cough medicine that makes it dangerous is dextromethorphan (DXM). DXM is chemically similar to morphine and is used as a cough suppressant. When abused, DXM creates a hallucinogenic effect and is comparable to ecstasy.
What are the short-term effects of DXM?
- Vomiting and nausea
- Abdominal pain
- Extreme nausea
- Lack of coordination
- Slowed breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
What are the long-term effects of DXM?
- Liver damage
- Permanent brain damage
- Cerebral hemorrhages
Deadly Risks of Cough Syrup (DXM) Abuse
There is also a risk of overdosing which is one of the main causes of death of Cough Syrup (DXM) addiction. Another risk is when the cough syrup with the ingredient DXM is mixed with other medications or ingredients such as “non-drowsy” antihistamines, SSRI antidepressants and the Yohimbe herb; they can produce a deadly cocktail.
Detection and Treatment
Cough Syrup (DXM) abuse is usually treated with abstinence and counselling. Rehabilitation is always a good option for recovering addicts since it offers a systematized method for recovery. Withdrawal usually includes a number of distasteful symptoms, depending on the extent of the addiction. Cough Syrup (DXM) abuse can also be detected through drug testing. DATCS.com
What Parents Can Do to Prevent Cough Syrup (DXM) Abuse
We have already discussed how cough medicines can be dangerous to kids when taken in amounts larger than medically recommended. Now, we move on to how parents can ensure that their kids are as far away from cough syrup abuse as possible.
Check for these code words
Even if your kids don’t try to hide it, if you don’t understand the language used by those abusing cough medicines, you will not be able to detect cough syrup abuse in your child. Remember the terms robo-tripping, robotard, skittling, skittles, tussing, red devils, velvet, triple C, and CCC, as these are some of the names commonly used to refer to cough and cold medication abuse.
Conduct a regular medicine cabinet inventory at least weekly if not daily.
It is important to keep a checklist of the medicines available at home, and be aware of who uses them and how often. Check medicines that contain dextromethorphan or DXM as an the active ingredient, and do not stock plenty of them in your medicine cabinet. You may also keep them in less accessible places, like in a cabinet inside your own bedroom.
Be vigilant of physical signs of cough syrup abuse
Cough Syrup (DXM) will leave a medicinal odor, so stay close to your kids and try to notice any unusual odor. Also observe for slurry speech, constant drowsiness, or unsteady walking. Be careful when your child frequently complains of cough or colds but does not really show the symptoms. You can also check for empty bottles in his or her bag, garbage can, or room.
Stay on top of the situation. Discuss the dangers of drug abuse with your kids, and ensure that any sign of abuse will not pass you unnoticed.