“I’ve had the time to go through all the life phases with my parents, from being a bratty teenager, pushing them away, to saying later on, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe what you did for me – thank you. I love you so much.’”
~ Marcia Cross
In this post, we turn to the question of what being addicted to Triple C means for your life or the life of your loved ones. At this point, you may be wondering what Triple C even is, or whether it is even a drug. This is what we are here to discuss since Triple C is one of the least discussed addictive drugs in the United States. Despite the lack of coverage about the dangers of the drug, the drug can have detrimental effects on either your life or the life of your teenager.
The main ingredient that causes abuse of Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold is Dextromethorphan, also simply called DXM. Because of this brand, the popular name for the drug, as used by adolescents, is Triple C. However, other names for dextromethorphan include skittles, dex, robo, and simply DXM.
In this post, we address all of the questions that you may have about what being addicted to Triple C means for your life or the life of your teenager, including:
- What is Triple C?
- What effects do Triple C and dextromethorphan have?
- How addictive is DXM and Triple C?
- What are the signs of dextromethorphan use?
- What are the signs of addiction to Triple C or similar drugs?
- What are the dangers of using Triple C or DXM?
- How can I get help for addiction to this type of drug?
- What does the recovery from DXM or Triple C look like?
Understanding Addiction to Triple C and Its Effects
Maybe the best way to understand Triple C is to take in the perspective of a teenager who struggled with addiction to the drug and is now in recovery:
“After the first time I did it I just really loved it. I would take them when I got up in the morning, before school, during school, after school, before I went to bed. I hallucinated a lot. It was kind of like I was in a dream or something, like so disassociated. I liked that feeling of not being in reality. And I just kept using it after that. There’s just a lot of tools here [in recovery] that I learned that I can do at home. I almost died and that was kind of my wake up call. Now I’ve found a whole new way of life that I never thought was possible and that’s what really changed everything for me.”
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Dextromethorphan, found within Triple C, affects the brain and body in several different ways depending on how it is taken and how much of the drug is taken. Depending on the amount taken, abusing DXM results in four different levels of intoxication, each more dangerous than the last:
- Stage One: Inebriation, much like drunkenness from alcohol. This can include symptoms like the inability to walk straight, agitation, excitement, and exhibiting a willingness to engage in risky behavior.
- Stage Two: A deepened intoxication, causing slurred speech and in some cases mild cases of hallucination. At this stage, short-term memory can also be adversely affected.
- Stage Three: This stage, usually reached through heavy doses of DXM (up to 1,500 milligrams) results in a completely changed mode of consciousness. This is associated with heavy hallucinations, the loss of vision or other senses, and the complete loss of control over actions and behaviors.
- Stage Four: This is the highest plateau of experience when taking DXM for a high, and can result in an out of body experience, with all physical senses being shut off completely. This level of high can be compared to taking PCP, a highly dangerous and addictive synthetic drug.
Clearly, DXM is more than cough syrup and more than a social drug. Taken at high doses, Triple C can be both dangerous and addictive. The drug works as a dissociative anesthetic, which makes the effects of high doses dangerous for the short-term and the health effects detrimental in the long-term. It is also worth noting here that getting addicted to Triple C can be even more likely when the drug is either taken in very large doses or taken with an alternative method, such as injecting or snorting the powder from the pills.
Signs of Use and Addiction to Triple C
The effects and potential for addiction to DXM, the active ingredient in Triple C, is dangerous enough to have some professionals recommending that the drug is reclassified as a prescription drug. As one government report on the drug states:
“Dextromethorphan is a psychotropic substance that carries a potential for abuse and dependence. [It] has been available in pharmacies without a prescription since 1954 as an antitussive agent. There is an alarming increase in reports of its abuse. Dextromethorphan is avidly taken, mainly by young people, as a psychoactive drug. On the basis of the currently available data, its reclassification as a prescription drug should be considered.”
In other words, addiction to Triple C is likely enough to suggest the necessity for a prescription. If you are currently taking Triple C in order to get high or experience hallucinations, you should already know that you are abusing the over-the-counter drug, if not already addicted to it. But what are the specific signs of abuse and addiction that parents, friends, and caretakers can look for?
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First and foremost, it is important to understand the symptoms associated with Triple C use. These are typically physical symptoms, and include some or all of the following:
- Stomach pain and spasms
- Slowed or labored breathing
- Vomiting and nausea
- Symptoms of intoxication (i.e. slurred speech)
- A rapid heart rate
- Rashes and itchy skin
- Numbed hands and feet
In addition to these physical signs of use of Triple C, you can be on the lookout for the symptoms of abuse of an addiction to the drug. The symptoms of either dependence or addiction to the DXM in Triple C reflect those of nearly any other form of addiction. Some of the signs and symptoms of addiction to Triple C to look for include:
- A marked change in physical appearance or personal habits
- Spending less time with friends or family
- Creating isolation (i.e. spending a significant amount of time behind locked doors)
- Acting evasively or secretively
- Spending a great deal of time away from the house without an adequate explanation for their whereabouts
- Missing money or valuables
- Exhibiting a lack of appetite
- Exhibiting anger or hostility toward loved ones
- Lying about whereabouts, activities, or friends
- Swift mood swings without any provocation or change of circumstances
- An abrupt change in friendships and relationships with family
- Drop-in performance either at work or at school
- The inability to focus or show coordination
- Showing signs of depression or anxiety
- Acting withdrawn or having a sullen experience
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Of course, not all of these are sure signs that a teenager may be abusing Triple C – especially since some of them can also be correlated with adolescence. However, if any combination of these signs and symptoms result in a distinct difference in behavior and temperament in your loved one, it may be a sign of addiction, or at the very least Triple C abuse.
How to Get Help if You Are Addicted to Triple C
Triple C abuse and addiction can occur at a very young age since it is possible to become addicted to drugs at any age. Abusing dextromethorphan (Triple C) over the long term can have severe physical health effects on both the brain and body, particularly if the drug is combined with other types of cold medications. First and foremost, you can take an addiction quiz to determine whether or not you or someone you love is an addict to Triple C. If you find yourself addicted and abusing Triple C, or know someone who is, it is critical that you receive the help you need to recover.
Thankfully, addiction to Triple C (or any other form of DXM, for that matter) does not have to be the end result of abusing the drug. If you find that you are unable to either abstain from using Triple C or take it in increasingly larger amounts, addiction treatment can help you get back on the right path. Most addiction treatment programs take a two-prong approach to recovery, both addressing the underlying issues and life circumstances that led to addiction in the first place and equipping individuals with the coping strategies and tools that they need to stay away from the drug permanently. It can be difficult to recover from addiction on your own; do not hesitate to reach out today.
If you still have questions about Triple C and what addiction means for your life, feel free to either leave a comment below or contact us.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Triple C?
Triple C is the street name for a popular drug that is often abused by young people. It is known as Coricidin HBP Cough & Cold, and it is a popular brand of cough and cold medicine. Many products with Coricidin also contain dextromethorphan, or DXM. This is a medication that – when taken excessively and in high doses – can result in dissociation effects and hallucinations.
Many news stories discuss Triple C and its impact on young people. This is an addiction that a lot of parents are unaware of, so it can go undetected for a very long time. The drug is available without a prescription, and the pills produce a potent high. A lot of teenagers will steal this drug from their local pharmacies and take it by the handful as a way to get high.
Triple C is not the only street name for DXM. It also goes by the names:
- Poor Man’s PCP
- Orange Crush
- Red Devils
How Long Does it Take to Detox from DXM?
Most young people who take Triple C or DXM do not realize that they could get addicted to it. Once they are, getting off it can lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms that can be difficult to manage without professional help and intervention.
It can take between 24 and 72 hours for DXM to leave the body. Withdrawal symptoms may last as long as several weeks. During this time, the addict is at high risk for relapsing simply because they are looking for some type of relief.
Is it Possible to Detox From Triple C at Home?
It should come as no surprise that people would be much more interested in detoxing at home than going to treatment. But it may not be safe for people to stop using this drug at home, even though it is available over the counter. That fact alone often causes people to think that it is safe to stop taking it without any serious repercussions or consequences.
If you were to do a Google search, you would find a lot of options for at-home drug detox with a lot of advice. While it might sound good, many people who try this method end up relapsing. That is something you should want to avoid at all costs.
You may also come across information about drug detox kits, which are sold online and in many pharmacies. But please steer clear of these products. They are mostly a great marketing technique that could cause you more harm than good.
Can You Overdose on Triple C?
Yes, it is possible to overdose on Triple C, and many people do because it takes a much higher dose than normal to get high on it. Like with other types of overdoses, a DXM overdose is a medical emergency and needs to be treated professionally.
If you suspect that you or someone you love has overdosed on Triple C, do not wait. Call 911 right away. You may need to have an ambulance take you to get professional help. Once you are stable, it is time to consider getting treatment for your addiction. That may be the only way it never happens again.
What Types of Treatment are Recommended for People Who are Addicted to DXM?
When a person is addicted to DXM, they need to get professional drug treatment. Rehab facilities are equipped to help with these types of addictions, and they can help with both withdrawal and with therapy.
The first step will most likely be for you to go through drug detox. The withdrawal symptoms you experience are likely to be severe and they can make it very hard for you to recover successfully. Detoxing helps because it relieves many of the symptoms you might have. Other symptoms that are still present might not be as exaggerated as a result of the detoxification process.
After you detox, you will move on to drug rehab. This can be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending on your needs. During rehab, you will learn why you started using Triple C. It is possible that you use this drug as a way to counteract the effects of a co-occurring disorder like anxiety or depression. With the underlying cause treated, there is a much smaller chance that you will relapse.
Will My Health Insurance Pay for My Addiction Treatment Program?
A lot of people are concerned about going to rehab because they believe that they cannot afford it. While it is true that professional addiction treatment can be expensive, if you have health insurance, the majority of the cost should be covered. This is required by law.
You may find that your detox and withdrawal treatments will be covered completely by your health insurance policy. You might need to pay a copay for rehab if you choose an inpatient program, but find that you have better coverage for outpatient treatment.
Either way, what matters most is that you get the help you need. Today, going to rehab has never been as affordable as it is right now. If you are addicted to Triple C, help is available and accessible.
What Should I Look for in a Quality Rehab Program?
If you have never been to rehab before, it can help to know what to look for before you choose your treatment program. They are not all the same, and you want to make sure you find one that will meet your needs.
The best drug treatment centers:
- Are smaller in size. This can give you more time with staff to work on the issues that led to your addiction.
- Are accredited by the Joint Commission.
- Provide access to detoxification services. The program you choose should offer detox in-house or provide you with a referral.
- Have excellent reviews. Make sure to check Google, Facebook and Yelp to learn about others’ experiences.
- Have high long-term recovery rates and low relapse rates.
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