If you abuse over the counter medications to get high, you are at risk for addiction.
High School Kids Get High on Cough Syrup
7% of high school kids in America today report having used Dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in many cough and cold medications, to get high. This easily available over the counter medication, when taken in far larger than recommended dosages, can induce feelings of intoxication and even strong hallucinatory affects.
Over the counter drugs containing Dextromethorphan have a low abuse potential (no drug with a high potential for abuse can be sold without a prescription) but when taken in very large quantities, and when taken with frequency, a physical and psychological dependence to the drug can occur. Frequent users can develop a very strong dependence to the drug, and can as well exhibit many harmful symptoms of their drug taking behaviors. For many, the only way to break free from an addiction to over the counter drugs is through participation in an over the counter drug treatment program.
Using information widely available on the internet as a drug taking resource, kids are incredibly savvy about what easily acquired drugs can induce potent intoxications, but although information about the possible dangers of over the counter drugs also exists, many consider over the counter medications a safe way to get high.
Some of the physical symptoms of Dextromethorphan withdrawal have been described as similar to heroin withdrawal in occurrence and intensity; and anxiety, nausea, joint pain, nightmares, depression and other symptoms can be expected. Physical addiction causes extreme cravings for the drug, and detox is most likely to be successful if it occurs under medical supervision away from access to drugs. Medically supervised over the counter drug detoxification also allows for symptoms control with appropriate medications, and for medical monitoring to ensure safety during the detoxification period.
Over-The-Counter Drugs Addiction Treatment
Whether the abused drug is cocaine, heroin or cough syrup, the problem that led to drug rehab is both the dependence and a compulsion to use the drug, and as well the underlying motivation towards drug seeking behaviors and abuse. To successfully rehabilitate an over the counter drug addict, both need to be treated.
Detoxification conquers the initial dependence to the drug, but drug seeking behaviors are not extinguished without the inclusion of appropriate therapeutic interventions. Most over the counter drug rehab facilities will incorporate group meetings such as NA or other 12 steps based treatments, cognitive behavioral classes designed to change the thinking and behaviors that lead to abuse, and private sessions with a psychologist or therapist to uncover the basal causes of the drug abuse; as well as to develop a recovery plan designed to encourage sobriety once released from the facility.
Additional programming encourages the healing of the body and spirit, and may include nutritional and vitamin supplementation programs, exercise and sports activities, yoga, and other reflective and meditative educations. Family inclusion in the rehab programming is always beneficial, both to the recovering addict as well as to the family; and is especially important for adolescent abusers.
To enact behavioral change, the drug rehab should ideally provide holistic therapy, and treat the body, mind and spirit as an integral and interconnected whole.
Recovery from over the counter drug abuse does not end with the completion of a drug rehab program, and for the best likelihood of continuing sobriety, participation in long term aftercare is essential.
Whatever the drug of abuse, addiction brings social and physical devastation, and emotional pain; and without appropriate professional intervention and treatment, the probability of long term sobriety is minimal. Any drug addiction or drug abuse should be regarded seriously, and whether the drug is bought on the street corner or in the pharmacy, the end result can be tragically similar.
Addiction to Over-The-Counter Drugs
You may die from an overdose the first time that you try over the counter medications to get high but you are very unlikely to become addicted.
However, if someone using over the counter medications to get high is losing control over their ability to limit their usage amounts or frequency, are increasingly fixated on the getting and using the drug, and continue to use Dextromethorphan despite the occurrence of adverse social or physical consequences, they are very likely addicted.
For people whose regular use has caused the development of addiction, the best way to better the problem is through inclusion in a medically supervised over the counter detoxification, followed by a therapeutic period of over the counter drug treatment rehab.
Dangers of Dextromethorphan Abuse
Although Dextromethorphan is a very safe ingredient when consumed as directed in a cough or cold medication, when this drug is taken in massive quantities there are some very real dangers, including the possibility of a fatal overdose. At high doses, Dextromethorphan can induce heart palpitations, seizures, psychosis and even heart failure. Additionally, many of the over the counter products that contain Dextromethorphan also contain other active ingredients that are dangerous when consumed in larger than recommended dosages. Acetaminophen, while very safe in recommended levels, can induce acute and permanent liver failure when taken at high levels, and many cough and cold symptoms relief medications also contain significant amounts of acetaminophen.
Frequent Dextromethorphan abuse can cause anxiety, abnormal and aggressive behaviors, dizziness, headaches, irritability and a host of other symptoms.
Page last updated Sep 15, 2015