Signs of Dextromethorphan Addiction


Signs of Dextromethorphan Addiction

Many prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs and especially "street" drugs pose a risk of addiction when abused on a regular basis.

Dextromethorphan, a non-opioid antitussive, appears as an active ingredient in many over-the-counter cough suppressants, according to MedlinePlus.


Brand Name Products Containing Dextromethorphan

  • Pertussin ES
  • Vicks DayQuil Cough
  • Zicam Cough MAX
  • Children's Robitussin Cough Long-Acting

Dextromethorphan's intended purpose as an antitussive can produce both sedative and hypnotic effects when consumed in high doses.

Dextromethorphan Image

As sedative and hypnotic effects result from changes in brain chemical function, the risk of Dextromethorphan addiction increases in cases when it's abused or used for recreational purposes.

With prolonged use, dextromethorphan addiction affects a person's physical and psychological stability as the drug continues to disrupt normal brain chemical processes.


In effect, dextromethorphan addictions develop in stages with the brain and body become increasingly dependent on the drug's effects.

Dextromethorphan Withdrawal Effects

Any drug capable of producing withdrawal effects carries a certain risk for abuse and addiction. One of the first signs of dextromethorphan addiction takes the form of withdrawal symptoms that become increasingly worse with continued drug use.

Whenever a person tries to stop using or reduces dosage amounts, withdrawal effects are likely. According to the University of Maryland, withdrawal symptoms typically include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Bouts of Depression
  • Stomach Aches
  • Weight Loss
  • Vomiting

Distorted Perceptions

As dextromethorphan can produce hypnotic effects in large doses, users will likely experience distorted perceptions similar to those experienced when using hallucinogen drugs. As dextromethorphan addiction sets in, a person starts to exhibit psychotic-like symptoms, some of which include:

  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Time Perception Lapses
  • Schizophrenic-Like Behaviors (Hearing Voices, Inability to Communicate with Others)

In effect, distorted perceptions result from considerable damage done to brain cell structures and overall brain function.

Compulsive Drug Use

According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, dextromethorphan specifically targets GABA neurotransmitter chemical levels in the brain. GABA helps regulate a person's sense of calm and well-being in addiction to relaxing nerve endings in muscle.

Dextromethorphan Abuse Image

In the case of dextromethorphan addiction, users develop a psychological dependency on the drug's ability to bring on feelings of calm and well-being.

In turn, this growing anticipation of the drug's effects drives a person's compulsive drug-seeking and drug-using behaviors.


Alterations in Time Perception

Not unlike the effects of PCP and ketamine (both of which are hallucinogen drugs), dextromethorphan can produce dissociative effects when used in large doses. Dissociative effects commonly take the form of alterations in time perception, visual hallucinations and heightened sensory perception.

People affected by dextromethorphan addiction often experience flashbacks as an aftereffect of the drug's hallucinogenic effects, according to the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Dextromethorphan Dependency

Once a physical dependency sets in, the stage has been set for dextromethorphan addiction to take hold. Signs of physical dependency include:

  • Inability to Control Usage Amounts
  • Increasing Tolerance Levels
  • Disregard for Other Important Areas of a Person's Life

While the signs of addiction become easier to spot the longer a person uses dextromethorphan, the sooner a person gets needed help 800-947-5219 the easier it is to break the addiction cycle.

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