Dextromethorphan is an ingredient found in many over the counter cough medicines which when taken in high doses produces dissociative and euphoric effects. It has become a commonly abused drug because of these effects and its wide availability, and it carries many potential risks. Dextromethorphan rehab centres generally treat dextromethorphan addiction with safe detoxification, medication to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and psychological support to overcome the addiction.
Dextromethorphan usually comes in the form of cough syrup or tablets, and is therefore ordinarily swallowed. It is the only active compound in some medicines, but it can be combined with other ingredients such as clorpheniramine, paracetamol and phenylephrine. In order to achieve the desired dose of dextromethorphan, extremely large doses of these substances have to be taken too, and they carry additional risks. A recreational dose can be anything from 100mg to 600mg, and tablets can contain up to 30mg each. Sometimes, users obtain the drug in powdered form, which is then snorted.
The effects of dextromethorphan have been categorised into “plateaus,” with incrementally increasing dosages. The lowest plateau is characterised by alertness, intoxication, euphoria and increased body temperature. The second plateau introduces a sense of detachment, some closed-eye hallucinations and disturbances in sensory signals. Abstract hallucinations, delayed reaction times, episodic blindness, short term memory impairment and a sense of being in a dream occur in the third plateau. The fourth plateau is a more intensified version of the effects of the previous one, so the user may feel like he or she is communicating with superior beings, or have extended periods of blindness. The final plateau is only experienced with prolonged heavy doses, but includes psychosis along with auditory and visual hallucinations.
One major concern when considering drug rehab for dextromethorphan is the severity of some of the side effects. The most common ones include lethargy, constipation, nightmares, memory problems, decreased libido and trouble concentrating. The most severe side effects include difficulty learning, jaundice, tremors and coma. In some cases, long term usage can also cause psychosis. If combined with illegal drugs such as amphetamines or cocaine, the user’s heart rate and blood pressure can increase dangerously. In combination with alcohol, respiratory issues can occur.
The other active substances in medications containing dextromethorphan can also have serious side effects when taken in large doses. Kidney failure and death are possible with high doses of clorpheniramine, paracetamol and phenylephrine. This means that any user taking a medication which combines substances is at a much greater risk and will probably need assistance from a drug rehab centre to get clean.
Drug rehab centres have to manage both the physical effects of dextromethorphan and the psychological issues which lead the individual to abuse the drug. Research is limited, but the drug does appear to be addictive, and the withdrawal symptoms can sometimes be fatal if not monitored. Drug rehab facilities have professional staff who can prescribe medication to manage the symptoms and ensure safe withdrawal. Users’ specific requirements can be hard to determine, so most doctors will conduct a thorough examination prior to starting treatment.
The availability of dextromethorphan and the risks associated with chronic use mean that drug rehab should be considered for anybody addicted to it. If you or a loved one have used the drug over a long period of time, it is important to seek medical treatment. We provide free advice on the different drug rehab centres available and the different treatments they offer. We can point you in the right direction for a centre suitable for dextromethorphan addiction, and answer any questions you might have. Addiction can put strains on family relationships and affect more than just the user, and we are here to help you.