DXM stands for Dextromethorphan, which is a component in many over-the-counter medications like cough suppressants. In most areas around the world, purchasing medications containing DXM is legal, without age restriction. Though DXM abuse is not a common topic in mainstream culture, the internet provides a wealth of knowledge on how to get high for cheap. DXM abuse is seeing a rise specifically in young people.
DXM is a dissociative drug. Dissociatives cause dissociation, the experience of feeling detached from the body, mind, and identity. Other dissociative drugs include Ketamine, an animal tranquilizer, and PCP.
Why is DXM Addictive?
Most addictive drugs interfere with the brain’s natural production of dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for telling the brain which substances are pleasurable and which are not. Becoming dependent on dopamine, the brain seeks more and more of it. Needing higher quantities, the cycle of addiction begins as the brain craves the drug.
DXM not only causes an influx in the production of dopamine, it affects other chemicals in the brain like glutamate. Glutamate directs cognitive functions, emotional regulations, and how the brain perceives pain. Feeling completely numb to pain is a point of attraction for many addicts.
What are the Signs of DXM Addiction?
According to narconon.org, signs of DXM abuse can be categorized into four sections, each pertaining to the level of intoxication reported by past DXM abusers. First and second are general signs of intoxication: slurred speech, cognitive impairments, decrease in motor function, loss of short-term memory, and/or hallucinations. Third and fourth are signs of dissociation and euphoria: a reported shift in consciousness, visual field disturbances, loss of senses, and feelings of being disconnected from the body.
What are the effects of DXM?
Cough medications and other over-the-counter drugs abused for DXM contain ingredients that can also be harmful. Consuming high levels of acetaminophen can cause liver damage. Dissociative drugs can cause heartbeat irregularities as well as permanent mental damage.
In high doses, DXM and other dissociative drugs can cause seizure, muscle convulsions and mental breakdown. Due to the very mental orientation of the drug’s ‘high’, using too much DXM can result in psychosis, paranoia and symptoms of schizophrenia, as explained by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Can you die from DXM overdose?
Overdose on DXM can lead to respiratory issues which can lead to death.