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Hey All.  I have never posted in this forum before, and this is something I am EXTREMELY ashamed to admit to.  For a little over a year, I have been abusing DXM tablets (i.e. dextromorphan, "robotripping") off and on.  It started because, after a traumatic event at work which left me jobless and re-triggered PTSD, I just wanted to get out of my fucking skull for a bit-- I actually wanted to smoke weed, but I was so socially isolated in a new city (well had lived there about 1.5 years)  that I didn't even know how/where to buy weed, so I tried this for the first time as a legally obtainable alternative.  Though I know of course it's unhealthy, I used as much "harm reduction" as possible (i.e. buying the pills that ONLY have DXM in them, rather than ones contains like acetaminophen, decongestants, guafenasin, etc).  I was generally using 1 to 2 bottles in a sitting a couple time a week, then up to 5 or 6 times a week, starting in Aug 2012 and quitting in Nov 2012.  I quit before through willpower and by telling my friend, who forced me to tell my therapist and my psychiatrist, and I quit mainly because it caused me to gain some weight, the trips were becoming unpleasant, and it was a waste of money.  The telling to someone made me accountable.


I started doing it again here and there this past April 2013, shortly after getting a job and probably in response to job stress and triggers.  (Possibly also in response to living with my parents again and wanting to escape that-- 1.) my parents were emotionally abusive to me in childhood and we had a rocky start with me coming back here, and 2.) living here makes me feel about 13, and OTC med abuse is a very teenager-y thing to do.)  It started out as something I did maybe a couple times in a month but is now back up to 3 to 5 times a week, mainly only at one bottle.  I've stopped doing the 2 bottles because it became unpleasant and I hated the feeling of loss of control.  Sometimes I do this behavior in response to a stressor, other times just boredom, but I've found that many times it's out of a compulsion, as I really don't feel much of any effect.  


I feel at this point I am mainly addicted to the "process" of taking a bunch of pills, and in a sick way I somewhat like the physically ill feelings (i.e mainly diarrhea and stomach issues) I get from taking them (which is about the only effect, as I refuse to go higher).  I have a history of bulimia (initially through laxative use), but I know I'm not doing this to lose weight because DXM actually increases my appetite-- but part of the bulimia was being more addicted to the "purging" (whether through laxatives or vomiting) than the food (i.e. I binged so I could have an excuse to purge, not purged because I lost control and had binged).  


So, is this an substance addiction thing?  Is it more of a self-harm thing / trying to relive the bulimia experience?  Is it kind of an OCD/compulsive thing of being addicted to the behavior more than the substance?  I have also been engaging in other ritualistic/compulsive behaviors, like feeling the need to go to Starbucks at the same time daily to get exactly the same thing each day.  (Another aspect of ritualistic Starbucks behavior is it gets me out of my work environment and far enough away from the building, as my work can get very stressful).  


I don't experience ill effects physically (or even mentally per se, like depression which is common in DXM withdrawal) when stopping use.  I just have strong mental cravings and compulsions to go do i again.  I am not depressed at all currently, my life is going pretty well, and my PTSD symptoms are at bay.  Why am I doing this?  I have no history of substance abuse or dependence-- I do have history of ED and self-harm (none current), which I can conceive of as addiction, and vice versa.  How can I stop?  (I have tried "playing the tape" and reminding myself of the consequences-- physiologically, psychologically, socially if people found out, career wise if people found out, risk for serotonin syndrome, etc-- but apparently that doesn't work.)  Meetings seem to be out of the question, as I work as a therapist in the addiction field (another huge reason I feel ashamed) so would run into clients if I go to any meetings within a 30 mile radius.  Plus, I have been to meetings for work purposes, and I haven't heard ANYONE share about this issue-- others' issues seem to be more severe and involve "real" drugs."


I am terrified to tell my new tdoc and pdoc about this, as I don't know them very well yet.  I am afraid they will make me go to IOP or something (again, can't do that anywhere locally because of being in the field and running into either clients or colleagues), and I am terrified my pdoc won't prescribe me benzos anymore.  (My last one when I told her about the DXM started trying to taper me off of benzos, as she assumed that if you are addicted to one thing, you'll abuse anything-- I have never abused my benzos).  I also can't see my pdoc and tdoc until Nov 1 or later because I am without insurance for a month.  I guess if I can't stop this on my own (without at least the support of an online forum), I will have to tell them.  Any behavioral suggestions I can do?  


I am especially scared in the immediate moment because I have to go to a pharmacy TODAY and pick up 2 prescriptions (one which I absolutely need today).  Plus, I am sick with a cold and cough and would benefit from some kind of cold medicine while I am there-- we don't have any at home.  I am scared I am going to give in and get a bottle of generic robotussin pills while I am there.  


Thanks for reading.  I am just so embarassed and ashamed, especially being that I work in addiction field and that I am "too old" for this problem (almost 30).  


Edited for: Removing more trigger-y stuff

Edited by Lady Krazy Kat
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Maybe my reply will be unhelpful, but I really wanted to respond and say how much I relate to your post.  I understand the shame and embarrassment.  I am an adult who used to abuse DXM on a regular basis, in very similar amounts as you.


I was eventually open with my treatment team about it, and it never affected whether or not I was prescribed benzos.  I entered IOP right after I stopped abusing DXM, as I feel into a severe depression.  I am glad that it has not affected you in that way, and I think the choice of going IOP will be left up to you.  Nobody can force you to go.


I am glad you "came out" and posted.  I hope the other respondents will have further suggestions.

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Thanks, Lifequake.  That really helped me to know I am not alone.  I do plan on telling my tdoc and pdoc (unfortunately can't have appointments with them until November due to insurance/financial reasons.... hopefully by then I'll have at least a week "clean time, but one day at a time, right?").  I've noticed that some of this "addictive behavior" stuff (the DXM, the increased caffeine/ritualistic Starbucks trips) has gotten worse over past couple month when I recently quit one addiction (smoking cigarettes) and have been working hard to reduce/quit another (night eating, which is the only leftover of my ED, but not enough to classify as binge eating).  I have a bit of hierarchy of goals here, rather than try to cease all behaviors all once, which I think will help:


1.) previous to present-- maintain my smoking cessation from nicotine/cigarettes. I did switch to an e-cig and tapered down on the nicotine content of the liquid, but have been nicotine free for a month-- I am still smoking the e-cig but with nicotine/tobacco-free flavored vapor.  I am still addicted to the act of smoking, which was always more my addiction than physiological dependence on nicotine, but I can be okay with that "addiction" for now so long as it doesn't relapse to cigarettes or nicotine vapor.


2.) now-- quitting the DXM completely and being okay with continuing the Starbucks/caffeine if necessary.  


3.) continuing now and up to near future-- continue working on the night eating behavior.  It has greatly improved but still happens from time to time (often on days when i've "robotripped" in order to "come down" if that makes any sense.)  


4.) further away but near future-- stopping the daily Starbucks (or DD) trips-- if I continue to overconsume caffeine for now, so be it, but I can replace it with coffee or diet soda at work at first.


5.) slightly longer term goal-- reducing caffeine consumption to my morning coffee (homebrewed) only.


6.) next goal-- stopping the e-cig use.



I've thought of a few things that could be helpful, aside from telling tdoc and pdoc:


1.) One thing is to have a place where I can post that I didn't (or even did) use that day.  I see there's a "no drinks club" pinned on this forum where it looks like people share when they've abstained from alcohol, and a "I wanted to self harm today but didn't" pinned on the self-harm forum.  Maybe I could post on the self-harm topic daily (as I'm really starting to see this DXM behavior as more of a self-destructive/self-harm thing rather than chemical dependency) with the coping skill I used instead, mentally changing the word "cutting" or "self-harm" with "take 20 DXM pills" (like how people with drug addiction do when they go to AA.  I work with opiate-dependent clients on methadone and/or suboxone maintenance, and many prefer AA over NA I guess due to a culture more accepting of medication-assisted treatment and/or psych meds in AA over NA).  


1.5) Also, does anyone know of any substance abuse forums where people just announce if they used or didn't use that day?  That could be helpful too.


2.) Maybe I could blog too, as that would help with further accountability.  (Journaling helps a bit, but I can tend to go overboard and trigger myself).  


3.) Returning to daily exercise (or several x a week) exercise-- I went to my first (and then second) spin class last week, and I felt a natural "high" afterward.  (Don't worry, I have no hx of addiction to exercise.... if anything, my addiction is to NOT exercising!  but spin (and yoga) is really fun and I can see myself committing to that regularly)


4.) Returning to daily mindfulness meditation.  It really was painful to meditate when I was in the throws of my recent trauma-- it made me feel worse, so I got away from it, but now I feel grounded enough to try it again.  


5.)  Planned activities after work (I work odd hours 5:30 am to 1:30pm, so I get out early before any of my friends so I am often bored)-- second p/t job, a class, volunteer work, positive hobby that I can't do if I'm messed up?


6.) Utilizing the boards in general more for support (and giving support-- helping others feels good), as I've gotten away from them for awhile when they were trigger-y to me, but they don't trigger me now).  


What do y'all think?  Any other ideas, feedback, support, etc?


Edited because: a couple things were worded weirdly and I added something.

Edited by Lady Krazy Kat
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Ehh, not doing so great. I ended up using the pills the same day I wrote that post, then the day after Thurs, then the day after (Fri), not on Saturday because I hung out with my boyfriend, then on Sunday, and then again yesterday.  I did not use today, and I do not want to use tomorrow.


A couple of those days I went back to my "old" higher level dose-- one of those that I did that, I found it had 0% effect.  Granted, I've never let myself take above a certain amount, but it both 1.) freaks me out that I can experience absolutely NO HIGH OR EFFECT on what some people would have a third plateau experience, and 2.) baffles me that I continue to do something that I get nothing out of.  It is not physiologically dependent, I don't have withdrawal, and I would argue to say that I'm only psychologically dependent on the ritual aspect of it (esp if I get no physical result from it.)  


I want to maintain this and continue to not use tomorrow.  Help?  It is especially hard to change behaviors/not give in to destructive impulses during my PMDD week, which I am in the throes of right now.  Thanks.

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Phew, Lifequake and Kat, I don't feel so alone either. I've struggled with DXM for several years, multiple times a week, hundreds of dollars worth. I think it's a drug that's more psychologically addictive because it's such an effective dissociative. I am at the point of just thinking about the taste makes me sick. I too am addicted to the purge, possibly because I've read about ayahuasca/iboga/peyote and how the tribal people view it as cleansing and the cough medicine is a cheap, easily obtainable imitation. Fucked up, I know. I feel so dirty and chemically, like a junkie. A robojunkie. The past few years living away from family with my partner and staying at home most of the time, where he's really the only one who's seen how bad I've gotten. It's festered in that private, sheltered environment. I'm a lying selfish sack of crap for putting my partner through this hell. I'm amazed that he's still with me.


DXM is a terrible substance, one that should be more tightly controlled in my opinion, but it won't be because it's also the most effective cough surpressant we have. God I'm so fucking sick of cough medicine I just want it to end, one way or another. It's exacerbated whatever psychotic symptoms that are manifesting and it's ruined my finances, my marriage, and my livelihood. That's why tomorrow I'm going for voluntary IP stay. I have to kick this stuff once and for all or I'm gonna die/kill myself.  :(


EDIT: I've found that tolerance builds quickly, to the point where I had to drink 12 oz. to feel anything. I would binge for weeks at a time. It's really a wonder I'm still alive, before cough medicine I was a blackout drinker, and before that I was a psychedelic nut and an ecstasy whore. My partner is the only person who could get through to me and stepped up to the plate when no one else would. I owe my life to him, which is why it hurts so much to have treated him so poorly in my addiction. I'm truly blessed to have my husband.

Edited by necklacetripwanderer
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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I say that I'm in the same boat or one quite similar. I love psychedelics but I've only tried shrooms a couple of times and then I read about DXM and Benedryl. I've had awesome experiences with DXM and I don't regret doing it at all. I would do it a lot more but I'm always broke because I don't have a job..

But I always want to be robo tripping and when I see it in the stores I always have the urge to pick some up. I've only done it a handful of times but its something that I know will happen a lot.

I don't find it shameful though.. It does sound silly because its cough syrup and it sounds like something that a kid in high school would do because its legal and cheap.. but a drug is a drug.

It doesn't matter if its illegal or not. My family knows about my use and is worried about it but I'm not ashamed of it.

However I am concerned about the Guafinesin that I have taken. I've learned that it does nothing to me so I take large doses of DXM without a worry and ingest a ton of that gunk.

I've read that you should not take more than 2400mg of Guafinesin in a single day and a single dose for me is almost double that.. I've dosed 3 times in a single day (24 hours) and nothing.has happened to me.. I'm sure its not too good for me but I've not noticed effects from it. But I'll be fine now since I've found a source of DXM only Robitussin. That was a bitch to find but I did it after looking through about 6 stores and several mini marts.

Edited by spaced
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Well spaced, you're entitled to your opinion, though if you review a few important facts about DXM you'll see that it's not something to be taken lightly. It's a serious chemical in large doses, people have fried and died from it, and this IS a substance abuse and addictive behaviors forum, as in we are trying to recover from the consequences of frequent and/or repeated use.


I don't know how old you are and your walk of life but I can tell you I've been round the merry-go-round more than a few times. You may still be in your DXM "honeymoon" or something, but I sincerely hope that you don't become psychologically addicted to it like I did. Young people often feel "invincible" and take more risks, I know I did. Romanticism of the maladies we suffer from is generally discouraged in this community.


Please think twice before you speak, thank you.

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