How Does an Adult Develop a Cough Syrup Habit?

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Getting high off of cough syrup might sound like a high school fad, or even a rumor. Chances are, you have probably never met an individual who was fully addicted to cough syrup, but this occurrence is anything but a myth or rare. What might seem like a cheap teenage trick to get a mild high can actually be a derailing addiction.

Cough syrup has a main active ingredient called dextromethorphan. It's main purpose is to suppress coughs, but when abused it can create a significant high. Adults that develop an addiction to cough syrup likely did so because of two things. First, alcoholics are known to abuse certain cough syrups due to the fact that there is a decently high level of alcohol in the product. Secondly, many adults begin abusing cough syrup simply by accident.

The way it usually goes is that a doctor prescribes a high dose cough syrup, which might have codeine (a very powerful drug with similar effects as cough syrup), or the individual might visit their local convenience store to remedy a cold. Reading labels and following directions is typically something most people take care to do when using medication. However, cough syrup, which is given to most people throughout childhood, can seem safer than it actually is, and swigging it a few times instead of carefully measuring out doses can seem like not a big deal.

At low doses, cough syrup can generally give mild euphoric effects and may even make the user groggy and sleepy. However, at high doses in which whole bottles are consumed in one shot the effects become significantly scarier. One user described high doses of cough syrup when used recreationally as similar to the effects of PCP. For those that are not familiar with PCP, the drug is known to cause nightmare trips more than 80% of the time.

High doses of cough syrup are reported to cause out of body experiences, hallucinations, and long term, the side effects can bolster full on psychosis in an individual. Like most other addictions, it is repetition that causes the dependence on a certain substance. If abused once or twice to a high degree, it is likely that an individual will not develop a dependence on cough syrup, but over time, small abuses can cause as gripping an addiction as cocaine, meth or any other addictive substance.

For individuals who are addicted to cough syrup there are a few things that can become a real danger. Cough syrup when ingested very often puts significant strain on the liver. The side effects of the substance are also known to depress various systems in the body such as respiration and blood circulation.

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