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How Dangerous Is Cough Syrup?

a person struggling with cough syrup looks sad while an artful duplicate of their profile looks worried

During winter and the height of flu season, people often turn to over-the-counter medications. Cough syrups are a popular remedy for the flu or common colds. There are many varieties of cold medications and cough syrups. Prescription and over-the-counter remedies are often easily available, and many people do not view cough syrup as potentially dangerous. However, the reality is cough syrup can be abused and is a significant problem, especially among teenagers. Like any other form of substance abuse, cough syrup abuse can be hard to stop. If left unchecked, it can also lead to escalated substance abuse or prescription drug abuse struggles.

At California Centers for Recovery, our prescription drug detox center helps clients quit safely and successfully. Our dedicated team of professionals provides high-quality care and support through every step of the recovery process. If you find yourself struggling with substance abuse, do not wait to reach out for help. Call us at 877.328.5682 today for more information about your treatment and recovery options.

The Dangers of Cough Syrup

Not all cough syrups contain the same ingredients, which makes some more dangerous than others. One ingredient that can cause issues is dextromethorphan, also called DXM. When used according to the directions, DXM in cough syrup is a cough suppressant that is especially helpful with persistent or dry coughs. When used as directed, it usually does not have any side effects. However, it can be misused, and when someone takes a high dose, they can experience dangerous side effects. Ingesting large amounts of DMX can cause an individual to feel high and experience similar feelings to when drinking alcohol or taking marijuana.

Significant cough syrup abuse can lead to the following side effects:

  • High blood pressure
  • Hyperthermia, or an extremely high fever
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures

In extreme cases, people can experience DMX poisoning, which can lead to trouble breathing, coma, and a build-up of fluid in the lungs and brain. It is also possible to overdose. While cough syrup can help treat colds or the flu, individuals should be cautious and follow the directions carefully.

Understanding Cough Syrup and Prescription Drug Abuse

It can be tough to recognize if you or someone you know is abusing cough syrup. Because it can be purchased over the counter and is used to treat common ailments, it is not always easy to identify. However, recognizing an issue is crucial for preventing further complications or future struggles with prescription drug abuse.

Some of the signs of cough syrup abuse are:

  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Drowsiness or confusion
  • Coughing and difficulty breathing
  • Changes in behavior
  • Being unable to cut down on use

When misused, cough syrup can affect the brain in ways similar to illicit drugs. While DMX is one of the more potentially harmful ingredients in cough syrup, overconsumption of its other typical ingredients, such as antihistamines, analgesics, and decongestants, can also be dangerous. If you are worried your cough syrup abuse is out of control, consider seeking professional treatment. Cough syrup and prescription abuse are viewed by some as less dangerous or serious, but this is not the case. A professional addiction treatment program and detox center can help you quit and restore your health and well-being.

Call California Centers for Recovery to Start Healing

At California Centers for Recovery, our compassionate team understands the dangers of all substance abuse struggles. We foster a healing and restorative environment to ensure all clients get the care and support they need when embarking on their recovery journey. With our help, you can get on a path toward a brighter future. Contact us at 877.328.5682 to get started today.