Most people are unaware that a highly addictive substance is sitting right there in the medicine cabinet. The drug we are referring to DXM, or what we know as unsuspecting cough medicine. While cough medicine is readily available on the shelves, there is a reason why the checker asks to scan your identification card when you purchase a bottle. The more you know about DXM/cough medicine, the better prepared you will be to recognize signs of abuse. We encourage parents and family members to monitor items in your medicine cabinet and to dispose of those expired.
We will explain cough medicine abuse, ingredients that makes it addictive and how it can be abused. Throughout our website and here at Enlightened Solutions, we encourage everyone to learn more about substance use and mental health disorders so you assist a friend or family member find treatment, or access help yourself. No one is turned away when they call or come into our treatment center, and if we are not right fit for you, we will refer you a treatment center that best meets your needs.
So what is DXM, and why is it addictive?
DXM is one of the drugs that is often abused by many as it remains easily available to them. The full name of DXM is Dextromethorphan, and it comes in pill or syrup form; you can find it at any drug or grocery store. Another (prescribed) cough suppressant that is addictive is promethazine-codeine, a syrup commonly taken. Should you see these ingredients in the cough syrups you use, we suggest that you try an alternative brand or treatment method. If you are aware that the disease of addiction is in your family, it is suggested to avoid addictive substances, even those that come over the counter. You may ask your doctor or pharmacist for an alternative.
Common brands that include DXM in their formula are:
This specific formula found within cough medicines that contain DXM causes the user to experience pleasurable and numbing effects throughout the body and brain. People abusing the drug do so because of the additional hallucinogenic effects at the right dose. Again, this drug, like so many others, depends on the dose and the person. However, because DXM is not prescribed for these doses, testing the effects without a doctor’s supervision can lead to accidental overdose. DXM causes an excess of the neurotransmitter dopamine to flood your system, but because your body learns to adapt to this heightened dopamine level, it will require more and more DXM each use to elicit the same effect.
There are many reasons a person becomes addicted substances, all of which affect confidence and the ability to maintain a stable lifestyle. Families and support persons are encouraged to discuss over the counter medication such as DXM and explain the consequences of their abuse. This is one of many drugs that is easy to attain, and it is often difficult for families to see addiction developing before their eyes. Getting help starts now, and recovery is about more than addressing the substance: we treat all of the factors that contribute to continued use.