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Is Dextromethorphan Addictive?

Mark Halsey
Chief Editor of - Cleanbreak Recovery

Mark Halsey is a licensed therapist, founder, and chief editor of Clean Break Recovery. With over a decade of addiction treatment experience, Mark deeply understands...Read more

Are you curious about whether or not dextromethorphan is addictive? Many people are concerned about the potential for addiction when it comes to this over-the-counter medication. Dextromethorphan is a common ingredient found in many cold and cough medicines, and it is used to suppress coughing. In this article, we’ll dive into the research to answer the question of whether or not dextromethorphan is addictive.

What is Dextromethorphan?

Dextromethorphan is an over-the-counter (OTC) drug used to treat a range of conditions, including chesty coughs and sore throats. It is an active ingredient in many cough and cold medicines. It works by blocking a certain type of neurotransmitter in the brain, which helps reduce the feeling of a cough.

It is generally safe to take in the recommended dosages and is rarely associated with any serious side effects. However, it can be dangerous if taken in large amounts or combined with other substances, such as alcohol.

How Dextromethorphan Works

Dextromethorphan is a type of cough suppressant that works by blocking the cough reflex in the brain. It does this by blocking the action of a certain type of neurotransmitter, known as an NMDA receptor agonist. This helps to reduce the feeling of a cough.

Dextromethorphan is available in a variety of forms, including liquids, tablets, capsules, and syrups. The amount of dextromethorphan contained in each type of medication varies depending on the product. It is important to read the label carefully and follow the dosage instructions to ensure that the correct amount is taken.

Side Effects of Dextromethorphan

Dextromethorphan is generally safe when taken in the recommended dosages. However, it can cause some side effects, including drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. It is important to talk to your doctor if you experience any of these side effects.

In some cases, dextromethorphan may interact with other medications or cause serious side effects. It is important to tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking before taking dextromethorphan. It is also important to avoid consuming alcohol while taking dextromethorphan, as this can increase the risk of side effects.

Is Dextromethorphan Addictive?

Dextromethorphan is not considered to be an addictive substance. It does not cause physical dependency or withdrawal symptoms when stopped. However, it is possible to become psychologically dependent on dextromethorphan if it is taken in large amounts or if it is taken for a long period of time.

Signs of Dextromethorphan Abuse

It is important to be aware of the signs of dextromethorphan abuse. These can include taking higher doses than recommended, taking the drug more often than prescribed, or taking it in combination with other substances.

Other signs of dextromethorphan abuse include feeling drowsy or dizzy, having difficulty concentrating, feeling nauseous, and having difficulty sleeping. If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be abusing dextromethorphan, it is important to seek help from a healthcare professional.

Treatment for Dextromethorphan Abuse

If you or someone you know is struggling with dextromethorphan abuse, it is important to seek help from a healthcare professional. Treatment for dextromethorphan abuse typically involves cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help to identify and address any underlying issues that may be contributing to the abuse. Medication may be prescribed to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It is important to follow the treatment plan set by your healthcare professional to ensure the best possible outcome.

Prevention of Dextromethorphan Abuse

It is important to take steps to prevent dextromethorphan abuse. This includes taking the drug only in the recommended dosages and not combining it with alcohol or other substances.

It is also important to be aware of the signs of dextromethorphan abuse and to seek help if you or someone you know is struggling with this issue. Treatment is available to help those who are struggling with dextromethorphan abuse.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Dextromethorphan Addictive?

A: No, dextromethorphan is not considered an addictive substance. Dextromethorphan is an over-the-counter cough suppressant commonly found in many cough syrups. It works by blocking signals from the cough reflex center in the brain, reducing the urge to cough. It is generally safe and well-tolerated when taken as directed, and is not associated with physical or psychological dependence.

What are the Side Effects of Dextromethorphan?

A: Common side effects of dextromethorphan may include drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Other rare side effects may include anxiety, confusion, blurred vision, increased heart rate, and difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these side effects, it is important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

What is the Recommended Dosage of Dextromethorphan?

A: The recommended dosage of dextromethorphan for adults and children over the age of 12 is 10 to 20 milligrams (mg) every 4 to 6 hours, not to exceed 120 mg in a 24-hour period. For children under the age of 12, the recommended dosage is 5 mg every 4 to 6 hours, not to exceed 60 mg in a 24-hour period. It is important to follow the instructions on the product label and never take more than the recommended dosage.

Can Dextromethorphan be Abused?

A: Yes, dextromethorphan can be abused. Dextromethorphan is sometimes taken in high doses, which can lead to intoxication and hallucinations. It can also be combined with other substances, such as alcohol or marijuana, which can increase the risk of toxicity. It is important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you think you or someone you know is abusing dextromethorphan.

What are the Signs of Dextromethorphan Abuse?

A: Signs of dextromethorphan abuse may include drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, dry mouth, and difficulty breathing. If you suspect someone is abusing dextromethorphan, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

Can Dextromethorphan Interact with Other Medications?

A: Yes, dextromethorphan can interact with other medications. It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist about all medications and supplements you are taking before taking dextromethorphan. Medications that may interact with dextromethorphan include anticholinergics, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and certain antidepressants. It is important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to make sure it is safe to take dextromethorphan.

In conclusion, dextromethorphan is not considered to be an addictive substance, however, it can be abused and lead to adverse effects. As with any substance, it is important to use in moderation and to be aware of the potential risks associated with it. It is also important to talk to your doctor about any potential risks and to take it only as prescribed. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to dextromethorphan or any other substance, it is important to seek professional help immediately.

Mark Halsey is a licensed therapist, founder, and chief editor of Clean Break Recovery. With over a decade of addiction treatment experience, Mark deeply understands the complex needs of those struggling with addiction and utilizes a comprehensive and holistic approach to address them. He is well-versed in traditional and innovative therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and mindfulness-based interventions.

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