Using cough syrup is one of the easiest ways to relieve your persistent cough. DXM happens to be one of the best cough syrups on the market. Unfortunately, it just so happens that DXM is linked to numerous cases of overdose and addiction. The following article describes the problem of DXM overdose and addiction, explaining why it is important to get proper treatment right away.

Can You Overdose on DXM?

Girl with a spoonful about to overdose on DXM

DXM is short for dextromethorphan, an over-the-counter cough suppressant found in cough syrups and cold medications. We are talking about quite the effective cough syrup here, one that is commonly recommended by doctors. It was back in 1958 when DXM was first approved by the Food and Drug Association (FDA). According to the FDA, DXM was both safe and effective at doing its job as a cough suppressant.

However, in 2005, the FDA issued a warning regarding the recurring DXM abuse. The warning was issued after the public learned about several teen deaths that occurred as a result of DXM abuse after having purchased it online. It was clear that more and more people were using DXM products for recreational use.

DXM can cause both physical and psychological addiction. In the beginning, the body develops a tolerance against DXM. If the DXM use continues, the individual then becomes strongly dependent on its use. The individual starts experiencing strong DXM cravings as well as the need to increase their dosage in order to achieve the same effects. They are also struggling to manage their work/school-related responsibilities and even develop relationship problems because of their DXM use. Once they stop using DXM, they are seen developing withdrawal symptoms.

Nowadays, we hear people talking about robotripping, dexing, or skittling – all of which imply the recreational use of DXM to experience physiological and physical effects. The first signs of intoxication begin around 15-30 minutes after ingesting the drug. Its effects are said to last between 3-6 hours, depending on the dosage. It is also said that the effects depend on the dosage itself.

With DXM being both legal and easy to find, an overdose can happen. An overdose on DXM happens when one ingests a large amount of DXM, either on purpose or accidentally. In fact, DXM abuse is more popular than the abuse of some more common recreational drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, and LSD.

DXM Side-Effects

DXM is known to cause mild to more serious side-effects. As a user, it is important to get familiar with the potential side-effects. In the following, we will mention some of the most common side-effects caused by the use of DXM.

  • Extreme drowsiness;
  • Dizziness;
  • Blurry vision;
  • Hallucinations;
  • Paranoia;
  • Fatigue;
  • Breathing problems;
  • Heart palpitations, etc.

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DXM Overdose Symptoms

DXM causes both physical and mental effects. As we explained before, the DXM effects vary greatly from person to person. The effects can also differ depending on the dosage as well. In addition, many products that contain DXM also contain other active ingredients as well. That being said, these ingredients can also cause specific effects on their own.


Potential DXM overdose symptoms:

  • High body temperature;
  • Hot flashes;
  • High blood pressure;
  • Itching;
  • Skin rash;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Twitching;
  • Sleepiness;
  • Excessive sweating;
  • Leathery;
  • Involuntary eye movements;
  • Hyperactivity, etc.
DXM overdose signs

How Much DXM Does It Take to Overdose?

The typical recommended dosage for adults ranges between 2.5 to 15 mg per day. The maximum allowed daily dosage is 120 mg in 24 hours. The overdose symptoms develop once the maximum daily dosage is overstepped.

Taking around 100-200 mg DXM causes effects similar to those of ecstasy use. You may feel more energetic and talkative. 200-400 mg of DXM is often compared to an alcohol intoxication with a greater decrease in both motor and cognitive functioning. Taking 400-600 mg of DXM can result in effects similar to those of ketamine use, including severe hallucinations, among other symptoms.

The last plateau involves taking extremely high doses ranging anywhere from 500 to 1,500 mg of DXM. These effects can last around two weeks after stopping your DXM use and are compared to those of taking a strong hallucinogen such as angel dust.

Get Help for DXM Addiction Today

According to the National Capital Poison Control, every year, up to 6,000 people visit the ER due to a DXM overdose. Fifty percent of the patients are between ages 12 and 25. In a case of DXM addiction, it is important that you ask for help as soon as possible. You are highly advised against treating your DXM addiction at home. In case of a DXM addiction, please do visit a specialized treatment center and ask for help regarding a medically assisted DXM addiction treatment.

The common treatment options for DXM overdose and addiction include:

  • Inpatient treatment – Inpatient treatment programs require patients to live onsite the treatment center. The program usually starts with a detoxication, especially in long-term addicts. Detoxication is then followed by individual and group therapy sessions as well as other specialized treatments according to the patient’s needs. In this case, treatment can last anywhere between a few weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the case itself.
  • Intensive Outpatient treatmentIntensive Outpatient treatment programs allow patients to continue with their work/school activities while living at home and visiting the treatment center for their scheduled therapy sessions. Individual and group therapy sessions are included, accordingly. You may attend therapy several times per week for several months and even years. This treatment program, however, is recommended for less severe cases of DXM addiction.


If you suspect that you or a loved one has developed a DXM addiction, call us at California Addiction Help today. We have a large network of substance abuse treatment centers that can help you no matter what your financial or insurance situation is. The bottom line is that you need help, and we WILL help you. 

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